‘We Are Your Friends’ di­rec­tor schooled by ‘Cat­fish’ on MTV

The China Post - - ARTS -

Fans of MTV’s “Cat­fish: The TV Show” may no­tice some­thing fa­mil­iar in the new film “We Are Your Friends.”

The movie, out Fri­day, is the fea­ture di­rec­to­rial de­but of Max Joseph, best known for co-host­ing the “Cat­fish” se­ries, which un­masks peo­ple who use fake online iden­ti­ties to de­ceive some­one else, usu­ally when it comes to online ro­mances.

Joseph says he worked on the film and “Cat­fish” si­mul­ta­ne­ously and that some of the TV show “def­i­nitely worked its way into the movie.”

“We Are Your Friends,” which stars Zac Efron, fol­lows a young man named Cole (Efron) as he strug­gles to make his fame and for­tune as a DJ in the elec­tronic dance mu­sic scene. It also ex­am­ines the youth­ful angst of to­day.

Joseph, 33, says the 20-some­things he worked with while sleuthing for online scam­mers are ba­si­cally the same peo­ple you see in his movie.

The di­rec­tor says he’d “ab­sorb and ob­serve what they’re go­ing through and they’re hopes and dreams and as­pi­ra­tions and if they feel stuck or if they don’t like who they are for what­ever rea­son — bad de­ci­sions they made, what they look like, etc., etc.”

Joseph says a lot what he heard fit in with what his char­ac­ters were go­ing through.

“Some­one would say some­thing dur­ing the day on ‘ Cat­fish’ and I would re­mem­ber it and I would put it in the script that night when I was writ­ing it and send it back to my co-writer in LA,” Joseph said.

The TV show’s rough doc­u­men­tary style is also re­flected in the film, which the di­rec­tor says “needed to feel gritty and have a lot of move­ment to it” so Efron didn’t look too pol­ished for the part.

“Zac has been in a lot of big, glossy com­mer­cial films and also a lot of in­die films as well,” Joseph said, “but I don’t feel like any­one’s seen him in shots that are quasi- doc­u­men­tary and I think that that would al­low peo­ple to ac­cept him more as a real per­son, as op­posed to Zac Efron, the hand­some movie star.”

“We Are Your Friends” even has some­thing of its own cat­fish among its char­ac­ters.

The char­ac­ter So­phie ( Emily Rata­jkowski) “leads Cole to be­lieve that she’s got her life to­gether,” Joseph says, “but then he re­al­izes at one point that that’s not en­tirely true and that she was putting on a fa­cade.”

Joseph says he just rec­og­nized that these were com­pelling qual­i­ties.


Max Joseph, di­rec­tor and co-screen­writer of “We Are Your Friends,” poses at the pre­miere of the film in Los An­ge­les, Thurs­day, Aug. 20. Joseph, who co-hosts the “Cat­fish” se­ries, made his film di­rec­to­rial de­but with “We Are Your Friends.”

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