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Elan Mastai, screenwriter of the film The F Word, at his cabin on Bowen Island, B.C., on Thursday. (Rafal Gerszak for The Globe and Mail)
Elan Mastai, screenwriter of the film The F Word, at his cabin on Bowen Island, B.C., on Thursday. (Rafal Gerszak for The Globe and Mail)

The F Word gave Vancouver-born writer chance to use his own voice Add to ...

It wasn’t ideal. Obviously I love the title The F Word. I think it captures the kind of cheeky edgy charm of the film. But when we sold it for U.S. distribution they were very candid about it, that the ratings board would have an issue with calling it The F Word. I don’t think anyone thinks American civilization is going to crumble just because of a cheeky title. But the honest way I look at it is that most Canadian movies struggle to even get seen on Canadian screens, let alone to get distribution across the U.S. and around the world. So if a title change is the price we have to pay for that, then it’s well worth it. The fact that on our side of the border we have this cheeky, more evocative title is unique. And we just take it as a banner of pride – that Canadians can handle it.

I understand there were some changes made to the script – the end in particular.

We didn’t actually change the ending of the movie, but we added an epilogue where we return to the characters 18 months laterand check in with everybody. After screening at TIFF and paying attention to the reaction of the audiences and having conversations with people whose opinions we trusted, we started to wonder if there wasn’t a little more closure we could provide the audience. When we sold the movie to CBS Films, our U.S. distributor, they felt very strongly that the movie needed just that little burst of closure at the end; that the audiences had become so invested in the characters that they wanted to know what happened to themin a way that we hadn’t laid out quite so clearly. We all loved the original ending so we wanted to make sure that we weren’t going to screw up our own movie. It was something we went into with open eyes, but also with a lot of care to make sure we crafted something that felt of a piece with the rest of the movie, but provided a little more closure and just that kind of burst that you want at the end so everyone walks out of the theatre on a high.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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