Ben Stiller and Austin Abrams talk ‘Brad’s Status’

VVS Films / Amazon Studios

Back in September, at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, Get Reel Movies had the chance to take part in a roundtable discussion with Ben Stiller and Austin Abrams. In it we discussed Brad’s Status which played in TIFF’s Platform program. Below are some of the highlights of that roundtable.

Get Reel Movies: I’m apart of the younger generation and I feel like a lot of our parents are going on Facebook and we’re going off Facebook. 

Ben Stiller: Yeah Facebook is for older people (laughs). 

GRM: No that’s definitely not what I meant haha. I was wondering about this movie there were quite a lot of parallels between the old and the young and how we see things. So I just wanted you guys to comment on that and how you played off each other?

BS: Well I find myself, even doing these interviews with Austin referencing things and a moment later realizing “oh my god” he has no idea what I’m talking about. I was talking about 8-Track tapes in an interview and I was like “oh my god” he won’t be able to follow this 

Austin Abrams: No I don’t but at the same time I don’t know how I would necessarily. 

BS: There’s no reason why you should, I’m just saying that I am getting older. You realize that these reference points aren’t really there for people.

GRM: And then Austin what was it like acting alongside Ben, who’s character (Brad) is going through a midlife crisis but he’s obviously from a different time and in a way still living in the past as well?

AA: It’s interesting because he doesn’t really know what’s going on with his Dad and my character doesn’t get to hear all the things going on in his head. I feel like parents, when they’re going through problems in their lives, they tend to hide it from their kids. Kids view their parents (when they’re younger at least) as a special person. You sleep in your parent’s bed because you feel safe but I don’t really know if you’re more safe necessarily than if you slept in your own bed.

BS: You are safer. With your parents holding you. If someone came in with an axe (laughs)

AA: Yeah I guess that’s true. But I feel like from that point of view he can feel something is off or going on with his Dad but that’s also a constant seemingly. But when the movie takes place it’s just more of an extreme. He’s honestly just confused and a little concerned about what’s going on with his Dad.

GRM: Austin what drew you to your role? You have the smaller role but it’s still very effective as you’re prominent in Brad’s life. 

AA: A perfect script and being able to work with Ben Stiller. Also Mike White and we have ridiculous producers (Brad Pitt produced the film alongside Mike White). Also the role was interesting because I like showing the differences in which Troy (Austin’s character) handles issues compared to Brad. I mean I’m sure all of you have gone through the difficulties of choosing which college to go to. The kind of crisis you go through where you’re thinking to yourself; “am I making the right decision to study this” or whatever it is. That was interesting, especially in the way he handled it so to have the other side where my Dad is dealing with a crisis in life, albeit a different crisis. I liked those two comparisons.

Parts of this interview have been edited and condensed.

Brad’s Status is out across Canada now.

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