Louis CK’s ‘Fourth of July’ Premieres in New York – The Hollywood Reporter

In early June, controversial comedian Louis CK dropped a surprise announcement that he was releasing a new feature film project, Fourth of Julyan indie dramedy that he directed, co-wrote, edited and starred in. Fourth of July had its world premiere at a sold-out Beacon Theater in New York, with CK fans flocking to see a film likely to have a very limited release.

Fourth of July not only marks CK’s return to filmmaking, but is also part of his efforts to return to the mainstream following allegations of sexual misconduct by multiple women. In 2017, the comedian was accused by five women of undressing and masturbating in front of them – accusations he admitted and apologized for. The allegations came at the height of the #MeToo movement and led several companies to cut ties with CK

After spending most of the past five years as some sort of pariah in Hollywood, CK gradually made a comeback to stand-up comedy, and in April he won a Grammy for best comedy album for Sincerely Louis CK

After Fourth of July‘s premiere, CK and the film’s cast held a panel discussion at the Beacon Theater, where the comedian confessed to being first time a movie premieres in front of a live audience. “I’ve never actually done this before,” he said. “To see what people laugh about… it’s a wonderful feeling.”

CK said that Fourth of Julydescribed by The Hollywood Reporter‘s reviewer as “the biting edge of his brilliant work on the sitcom” Louiewas self-financed. The comedian said he reached out to longtime friends and collaborators — many of whom are fellow comedians from his hometown of Boston — to help bring his vision to life. Among the contributors was comedian Joe List, the film’s co-writer and lead actor. “It wasn’t like I cast Joe as this guy,” CK said. “It was a story we wanted to tell together. It never occurred to me that someone else would play him.”

In Fourth of JulyList plays Jeff, a recovering alcoholic and jazz pianist living in New York City. On the advice of his therapist (played by CK), Jeff confronts his family during their annual Fourth of July vacation. The film tackles the anxiety associated with going back home and feeling out of place, even with family.

“You have your feelings, you want to go back and tell your parents that they ruined your life, that it’s all their fault,” CK said of the film’s underlying themes. “What happens in the end is that he says what he was afraid to say. It didn’t necessarily happen to the effect he wanted, but it’s okay that he said it.” It says, “You hurt me and I hurt you. Let’s eat a pizza. It’s like – it’s going to be okay.”

CK and List said they wanted to bring a difficult but recognizable family situation to their audience. The duo drew on their own experiences going to therapy and communicating with their loved ones.

“In real life, people fail to really express themselves,” CK said. “These two,” he said, pointing to List and Sarah Tollemache, who are married in both the movie and real life,”[they] really did a great job of ‘how do we say this to each other?’”

“If in your family they want you to drink and you don’t, it hurts their feelings,” CK added. them, it’s a rejection. This is what it’s like to go home,” he said.

Fourth of July will also be screened at the Shubert Theater in Boston on July 1 and at The Vic in Chicago on July 2.

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