Matt Ross Q&A: ‘Captain Fantastic’ director/writer
During our recent webcam chat (watch above) Matt Ross candidly admits that the idea for his new film “Captain Fantastic” came to him when he was, “thinking about my failures as a parent. I have two kids, and at the time I was thinking a great deal about a couple of things, really: how difficult it is to be present in our lives,” and, “what I was passing on to my kids, or what I was not passing on to them.” Ross wrote and directed this Bleecker Street release starring Viggo Mortensen as Ben, a father raising his six children in the forests of the Pacific Northwest who is forced to take them into the outside world when his wife commits suicide.
Ross, known to audiences as Gavin Belson on HBO’s “Silicon Valley,” began asking himself, “what would it be like if I gave up my career and devoted my entire life to my kids,” and, “whether that was a healthy idea or a crazy idea?” From this came the character of Ben, who follows a strict curriculum of rigorous physical and intellectual education for his kids. “He’s nothing if not admirable,” Ross believes. “He’s flawed, as we all are, but he’s not trying to create a world that didn’t exist.” Rather, he’s someone for whom, “modern life is frequently very out of balance,” and he’s, “trying to balance it.”
“Captain Fantastic” is a directorial leap forward for Ross following his micro-budget debut “28 Hotel Rooms” (2012), which was, “just two actors in a series of hotel rooms.” His sophomore effort, on the other hand, “was a much bigger endeavor, with a full crew and a legitimate amount of shooting days.” It may have required a giant learning curve, but the results paid off with a victory at Cannes for Best Director in the Un Certain Regard selection.
As an actor, Ross previously competed at SAG as part of the ensemble from “Good Night, and Good Luck” (2005). Will his first Oscar nomination be next?