THE SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL opens on May 20 with The Extra Man, an indie comedy starring Kevin Kline as an escort for aging socialites in New York City. And who better to coax this quirky Jonathan Ames novel onto the big screen than the king and queen of eccentric souls, husband-and-wife directing team Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, who were nominated for an Oscar for their biopic of comic book writer Harvey Pekar, American Splendor. The New Yorkers weigh in on what they know best.
Seattle Met: Do you know people in New York like Kevin Kline’s character, Henry?
Springer Berman: I know them, I’ve met them. We’ve been attracted to extreme characters before.
Pulcini: In fact, Henry’s based on a real person. Jonathan lived with a man like Henry who just fascinated him, and he actually became an extra man because of this guy. I go on the Upper East Side and I see people dressed the way Kevin Kline is, or even more extreme, and I think, god, if we had dressed him like that in the movie, no one would buy it.
Springer Berman: Like, men walking down the street in ascots and with little dogs. Just crazy things, and you’re like, This can’t be real.
Pulcini: But there are definitely New Yorkers who have their own little reality and live in it very comfortably.