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Write On: 'Ezra' Writer Tony Spiridakis

May 28, 2024
3 min read time

“From Robert De Niro, I learned not to force anything. Not to force your idea of how something should be and then go from there. Not, ‘Oh, this should be funny,’ or ‘Oh, I'm going make you cry.’ That's the wrong thing. You just need to think about the thing the character is experiencing and don't push it – have it happen. And he was obsessive with me about not trying to make anything funny and he would say to me, ‘Tony, it's very funny. But I want you to see the funny happen naturally from the authenticity of it,’” says Tony Spiridakis on working on the screenplay for Ezra with Robert De Niro who stars in the film, along with Bobby Cannavale, William A. Fitzgerald, and Rose Byrne.  

In this episode of the Write On podcast, Spiridakis talks about how Ezra was inspired by his own journey of raising a son with autism. The film shows the very human side of parenting from the point of view of a standup comedian who loves his son desperately but doesn’t know how best to help him. Part road movie, part comedy, Ezra tackles both the perils and heart-felt comedy of the father and son bond.

Spiridakis also talks about getting cast as an actor in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, then unceremoniously getting let go from the film. He shares how he turned his disappointments as an actor into a career as a playwright, screenwriter, and director.

“Okay, so the acting didn't pan out as I had hoped it would, but I'm still a storyteller and I think that's the beautiful thing about whatever it is that we gravitate towards – one superpower or another,” says Tony.

To find out more about writing the screenplay Ezra, listen to the podcast.


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