""Somebody Up There Likes Me" is a difficult film to describe,
but easily inspires a deep sense of affection and connection."
-Mark Olsen, LA Times

Writer/Director Bob Byington writes:

SOMEBODY is a comedy about a man watching his life fly by.

The screenplay was really a letter to the two leads, Keith Poulson and Nick Offerman, both of whom I've worked with now for a few years. Keith has stayed pretty resolutely a non-actor, while Nick has become a very successful television actor, playing cult sensation Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation. I very much liked the idea of pairing them, and would not have made the movie without them.

I sent the script to producer Hans Graffunder, who works with Terrence Malick, and he read it in November 2010. As one thing lead to another, we were ready to shoot by June, 2011. All the prep for the job went well --when we found Jess Weixler for the female lead things really started clicking. Our supporting cast includes a number of phenomenal actors, among them Kevin Corrigan, Jonathan Togo, Stephanie Hunt, Kate Lyn Sheil, Alex Perry and Marshall Bell.

We also had indie superstar cinematographer Sean Price Williams shooting the movie.

This project had a bigger scale than anything I've directed, and the group, while not necessarily ignoring the Austin summer heat, seemed largely oblivious to it. I can't say enough about the team we assembled to work on this job. Everyone gave their all. That tends to be the norm on a lot of the film shoots I've been on --it usually brings out the best in people. As examples, our art department was tireless, our sound department was superhuman.

 

Toward the end of the shoot we were slated to do a poolside scene that had nudity in it --we had all agreed it was important to the scene. I was a little nervous about it, as I'd not done anything like that before, as a director, and the actress seemed to also have a little anxiety. Perhaps sensing this, Nick Offerman, in his role as one of the producers, jumped nude in the pool, and cavorted with an inner tube. This relieved the tension all around enormously, and we got the scene in question.

I worked with two editors, both excellent filmmakers themselves, Frank Ross and Stephen Gurewitz, who live in Chicago and Minneapolis respectively, File sharing has become sophisticated enough that we were able to work from three separate cities. We also convened as a team in Madison, Wisconsin for ten days, and worked together in Denver and Austin (where I live). We worked with a very accomplished animator, Bob Sabiston (A Scanner Darkly) for our transitional sequences.

***

Chis Baio, the composer, whose day job is bassist for Vampire Weekend, was introduced to me by our astounding music supervisor, Lauren Mikus, who's been in a band with him.

I asked him to talk about his experience and he sent me this note:

When Bob asked me to score Somebody he also had me watch great movies like Bananas, Brief Encounter & Hudsucker Proxyfor inspiration. This led me to not only watch movies in a new way but also think about music from a completely new perspective. In complementing Bob's vision, I tried to write simple and whimsical pop melodies with the occasional hint of melancholy. I hope the audience leaves the theater humming the music.

We also used three Albert Hammond, Jr. songs, --Albert is a member of The Strokes, and put out an excellent solo album recently. In addition to Albert and Chris, we have music from The Cars, Sandy Rogers, Sandie Shaw and Love Inks.

Bob Schneider and Quiet Company also appear as the wedding band.

Hans Graffunder found Marshall Bell, a character actor. Hans writes:

I pictured Marshall Bell playing Lyla's Dad the first time I read the script.  I had just finished working on a movie he was in, a serious drama, but he had a way of making everyone on the crew laugh just by being himself I thought it would be great to see him in a comedy.  Bob joked about not telling him it was a comedy so he wouldn't play up the comedic aspects.  His role is pretty serious, though.