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FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY Q&A with Director Stephen Merchant

Fighting with My Family

Stephen Merchant, known primarily for being the creator of The Office, never thought he’d direct a film about wrestling, but when the opportunity presented itself by way of his friend Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, he could not pass it up.

The film’s star Florence Pugh (LADY MACBETH, upcoming LITTLE WOMEN) was not the person who Merchant originally imaged as Paige, but his choice in casting her proved nothing short of fantastic. Critics are describing her performance as “electrifying” and The Playlist says, “you simply cannot praise her enough.” The real-life Paige seemed to concur as well. In this clip, Merchant describes how the actual family on which the film is based reacted to seeing it:

Merchant has the talent for writing deep, three-dimensional characters, and used the research of meeting the real people the film is based on to mold his characterizations and tap into each perspective. “It’s as much a showbiz, Star is Born kind of story as it is a sports film,” Merchant states.

Merchant wanted to make the film feel organic, and not contrived or over-thought, and he took that attitude into everything including it’s score. The film’s musicians included the drummer from The Cure, and Graham Coxon from Blur, who were able to “underscore the emotion without layering it on too heavy.” Merchant elaborates on that here:

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About the film:

Based on a true story, FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY follows reformed gangster Ricky, wife Julia, daughter Paige and son Zak as they make a living wrestling together in tiny venues. When Paige and Zak get the opportunity to try out for WWE, the family grabs a once-in-a-lifetime chance to turn their wildest dreams into a dazzling future. However, brother and sister quickly discover that to become superstars, both their talent and their relationship will be put to the test.

View the trailer:

Where to see it: 

FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY is now playing at Angelika New York, and opens tonight with advance screenings at Angelika Mosaic, Angelika Dallas and Angelika Carmel Mountain.