Writer-director David Gordon Green is well-known for his extraordinary 2000 feature debut, the beautiful, lyrical "George Washington."
His new film, "Prince Avalanche," a thoughtful comedy in a lyrical setting, is a nice compromise between his funny side (seen in the 2008 hit "Pineapple Express" and in "The Sitter" and "Your Highness") and his earlier dramas, "Snow Angels," "Undertow" and "All the Real Girls."
Visiting The City earlier this year, Green said he has a collection of titles just waiting for their day to be used — and "Prince Avalanche" came to him in a dream.
Next, he found a location, a stretch of Texas woods that had burned down recently.
"I had a title and a location and I needed a story," he says.
A crew member knew someone who had worked on an Icelandic movie called "Either Way," and told Green about it. He watched it while on a plane.
"I was just thinking, 'How am I going to remake this?'" he says.
Based on a story by Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson, "Prince Avalanche" is about two highway workers, Alvin (Paul Rudd) and Lance (Emile Hirsch), whose job is to paint the yellow lines down the middle of the road. Isolation begins to take a toll on their personal lives — Lance is Alvin's girlfriend's brother — and friction develops between them.
Green decided to create a bold color palette to juxtapose the burnt-out landscape and "make it cartoony."
"We wanted primary colors, yellow paint, blue overalls, red truck, green tent, etc.," he says. "It's like if 'Super Mario Bros.' survived the apocalypse."
Apparently, getting the right kind of overalls proved problematic.
"Those overalls were bulletproof," he says, seriously. "They were the most expensive things on the shoot."
An unabashed movie fan, Green says he's been too busy this past year to go to the movies much. "It's the first time I rolled more film than I watched."
In addition to new features and episodes of TV's "Eastbound & Down," Green also has been working on commercials.
"I've learned more about raisin bran than I ever thought was possible," he says excitedly, "and I want to learn more!"
IF YOU GOoPrince Avalanche
Starring Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch
Written and directed by David Gordon Green
Directed by David Gordon Green