Director Jonathan Levine on ‘Long Shot’: “It Was Our Number One Goal to be a Character Driven Story”

Dan Sterling, along with comedy duo Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, was committed to seeing the film through. Then, when Charlize Theron was recruited to play a politician and Rogen’s onscreen love interest, Jonathan Levine came aboard.

There’s no denying the political climate has changed in recent years, and that’s something the minds behind Long Shot knew they had to acknowledge in the film. As a result, the version that premiered in New York City on Tuesday was much different compared to Dan Sterling’s screenplay that he wrote back in 2009.

“That was a time when Obama was president, and I was still angry about the second Iraq war and Hillary Clinton was the secretary of state,” Sterling told The Hollywood Reporter. “So yeah, it took a lot of work to update this movie when we started shooting it in 2017.”

Sterling, along with comedy duo Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, was committed to seeing the film through. Then, when Charlize Theron was recruited to play a politician and Rogen’s onscreen love interest, Jonathan Levine came aboard.

“Of course, as we were going through the process of making the movie, the political world got so charged that we would’ve been crazy not to incorporate it into the movie,” Levine said. “But we had to do it in a way that would sort of hold up a mirror to the absurdities of our real world, yet also feel different enough that you’re not thinking about modern Donald Trump-politics, your Twitter feed, all that stuff.”

According to Sterling, the process was “laborious,” but the result is a film that’s, for the most part, non-partisan. Rogen described it as “something everyone can enjoy and laugh at.”

“And I think that yeah, although there is a political backdrop, I don’t think it is alienating to anyone and I think everyone can just enjoy it,” he added.

There are certainly familiar elements of today’s political turmoil, though. Bob Odenkirk, for example, plays the president of the United States who is more focused on transitioning from TV — where he got his start prior to leading the country — to film. There’s also Fox News-esque talking heads always ready to hurl sexist comments toward Theron’s character.

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