“Win Win” Deftly Tackles Tough Issues

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The recently-released movie “Win Win” is earning rave reviews from film critics and audiences alike. And, indeed, the movie does do an excellent job of tackling a number of issues, while not being preachy or overbearing.

WWJ’s Entertainment Reporter Terri Lee spoke with McCarthy when the multi-talented writer/director of Win Win was in town to promote the movie. Following are excerpts from the interview.

Terri: This movie tackles a lot of challenging subjects and relationships. Although it looked easy, I’m sure it wasn’t. What angle did you take to pull it all off?

Tom: “I think it was just trying to balance the drama and the comedy, and trying as a writer — you’re always trying to make sure that the script feels equally weighted — and I think when we were putting the picture together, editing it, um, and putting all the pieces together, it was just trying to make sure that the audience was involved in the story lines and, you know, it’s easy cause I think the audiences really, first of all, connect with Mike Flaherty. I think a lot of us understand, here’s a guy that’s trying to support his family and get by, and I think a lot of us can relate to that right now…” And then everything kind of stemmed from him and his actions … so all these people connect and play off each other.”

Terri: How did young star Alex Shaffer win the role of the star high school wrestler?

Tom: “He had a quality that I thought was real for a 16-year-old. He’s one of those kids you just still like, even if he is quiet, if he doesn’t say much, um, and that was important because … it was important to me that, although audiences weren’t sure about this character at first, they ultimately end up loving him.”

Tom also told Terri that in many ways, Win Win is an ensemble movie.

Tom: “We had a lot of moving parts in this one, and there’s, each one has their own relationship, and I think I was really kind of exploring that ensemble, um, when I was writing this movie and, you know … obviously it’s a very funny movie and I think I had some very funny actors to execute that.”

In addition to newcomer Alex Shaffer, Win Win stars Paul Giamatti as Mike Flaherty, Amy Ryan, Bobby Cannavale and Jeffrey Tambor.

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