From self-contained short to Australian feature film, Michael Jones’ Lazybones has been a long time coming. Chatting about the process of making a very personal comedy, Jones had to warn us: don’t call it a coming of age film.
What made you want to adapt your short film into a feature?
The feature idea came first. We had a bit of downtime around December 2015 so we decided just to make a quick self-contained short film about the same character driving his Uber around Melbourne. The humour and characters of the feature are completely different to the short film so the only similarities are the main character’s name and that he drives an Uber.
There’s something so relatable and real in your story about figuring out life and finding love, not just for young people now, but for everyone. How much of this film draws on your own personal experience? Did you have your own Jean?
I co-wrote the script with Caitlin Farrugia and we tried to mostly keep the script as personal as possible. The family aspect to the film is very close to my life but other than that it’s just the little things that happen throughout the film that are based off our personal experiences. A lot of the stories the characters tell are based from real stories we have told or heard. Saying that, I think the realism and relatable nature of the film comes from the talented cast being given the freedom to just be themselves on screen.
Australian coming of age stories tend to differ significantly from the traditional American genre, in that they’re often much more relatable to most audiences. Why do you think this is?
Personally I wouldn’t classify Lazybones as a coming of age film. Being in his mid-20s, Ben has very much already come of age, he’s just not doing a great job at it. I suppose coming of age or similar films in America are a little bit more commercialised, especially the ones that Australian audiences tend to experience in the cinemas, which makes them a lot harder to relate to. There are a lot of great independent American and Australian films in the same style, it can just be hard to find them as they don’t tend to reach a wider audience.
You’ve worked with the stars of Lazybones Jackson Tozer (Ben) and Kevin Dee (Andrew) multiple times now. Do you have another project in the works with them, or a separate one altogether?
I have a new film that myself and Caitlin have written and directed together that is currently in post-production called So Long. A lot of the same actors from Lazybones are involved. The process of making a film is always a lot more enjoyable when you can work with your friends so we often cast actors who we love as performers and as people.
Lazybones is in contention for the inaugural FilmInk Best Australian Indie Film Award. This award will be judged by a selection of prominent film critics from the Australian Film Critics Association and the Film Critics Circle of Australia and announced on Closing Night