Ed Burns continues to innovate. After making his 10th feature film as a writer, director and actor, the romantic drama “Newlyweds,” available on XFINITY On Demand, in lieu of a traditional theatrical release, the veteran independent filmmaker is also making himself available to film fans with a live chat that will be on XFINITY’s Facebook page and related websites (xfinityTV.com and xfinity.net) at 8 pm EST/5 pm PST on January 3.
“People can watch the movie and then ask me questions about the movie or about filmmaking in general,” he told us. “I think it’s one more way I can do things differently to tell people about my new film and enhance the whole viewing experience.” We recently sat down with Burns and talked about “Newlyweds,” which he describes as “six people walking and talking around Manhattan as they try to get their shit together.”
This is a movie about a couple just married for a second time and loving it, as two other couples wrestle with their concepts of marriage. Where’d the idea come from? Last year I was out at a dinner party, a couple’s 10th wedding anniversary, and someone made a toast. They said, “Hey, after 10 years, if this thing wrapped up tonight, I think you could clal it a success.” We all laughed but then started talking about what makes for a successful marriage in this day and age. That was the initial inspiration for this screenplay. Then I spent a lot of time picking people’s brains on the topic. Ultimately I fell upon an idea of examining different marriages at different stages.
Was there any one big theme you wanted to address? I think I settled into the idea of truth and honesty in relationships. And within that this idea of lies of omission and half-truths and how those little things that we choose not to tell one another, how they can end up affecting any relationship – in this case, marriages.
What was your biggest revelation while writing it? I don’t’ know that I surprised myself. Part of the process of writing a script like this is me questioning these things and trying to figure out the answers. But I guess if I discovered anything, it’s that the little white lies we tell, when stacked on top of one another, can carry a lot of weight. Not that I’m a liar. But it’s something to be mindful of.
You’re now making these low-budget movies and releasing them On Demand as well as in theaters and DVD at the same time. But they’re low-budget, and you have complete control. You’ve kind of re-written the rules. How much fun are you having? It’s completely changed my approach, but also changed the way I think of my career. I no longer have to come out to LA hat in hand and beg someone to read my script, beg someone to give us a couple of bucks to make a movie, then have to listen to their notes. We no longer collaborate with financiers. We only collaborate with our actors and our creative production team.