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Davis Guggenheim on Gracie

Published May 31, 2007 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Picturehouse.
You may know him at the man with the Museum for a last name or the director of the Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Davis Guggenheim is also Elisabeth Shue's husband and the only man she trusted to turn her childhood in to a film. Gracie is the story of a girl trying to play soccer with the boys, amid a chauvinistic athletic community in the '70s. Gee, Davis, another issue movie?

Davis Guggenheim Talks Gracie


"More important than that, I want to make movies that I'm passionate about, that I can get fired up to do," said Guggenheim. "A lot of those movies have social issues, yeah. I love going from like a western like Deadwood to global warming to soccer. It's fun."

Of course, as an artist, Guggenheim didn't just want to make the generic sports movie, even though it had to have certain triumphant moments. "My process is, if you go and make decisions by the movies you've seen before, you're in a trap because you're constantly looking over your shoulder and worried. You'll never please everybody. And
everything's been done before. There's nothing new under the sun, right? And ultimately, the story tells you where it needs to go. And so in this case, I think the movie is a really simple story. I don't think it's changing cinema. And I don't think it's going to win by its cleverness. But I think it's powerful in its very simple setup, and because these characters are real and you believe them. So when you do the end game, you say, 'Here's what's happening, and these forces are colliding.' And then you sort of work out where they would naturally go."


Gracie Poster Gracie


When it came to filming action on the field, Guggenheim had a few more tricks up his sleeve. "The hard part was soccer. And Andrew [Shue] wanted to make a movie because he felt like a good soccer film has never been made. And the reason why is soccer's really hard to shoot. And I realized the reason why is that it's continuous. First of all, the first answer is that football and baseball, there's a lot of scoring. And the audience can know when a guy hits it or when he gets struck out. You know when a guy catches a touchdown or doesn't. But the beauty of soccer is in its nuance, and that there are few goals. But it's hard to shoot. The other part about it is soccer doesn't stop. So when you're shooting a football game, the play ends, you can cut to the character thinking about what just happened. 'Oh, f*ck, I just got hit in the head. Coach is going to pull me out' and 'What am I going to do now?' Or, you know, baseball, like, 'I've got to throw a strike or else we're going to lose the championship.' So you can have those moments where you stop and describe what's in a character's head. And soccer, you can't do that. They're always moving, they're always running. It never stops. So that's why we put these artificial stops in there. That's why we do the free kick. They stop, you put the ball down. So that was really tough. Soccer's tough."

Then there was directing his wife. "Imagine you at home. 'I'm not getting the milk. You get the milk. I got the milk last time.' Try making a movie together when it's hundreds of thousands of dollars and deadlines, and you're making a story that's personal in different ways to everybody. It was really hard."

Gracie opens to theaters June 1st.

For trailer and more movie info, go to the Gracie Movie Page.

Stay tuned for updates.


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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Picturehouse.
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