Indie filmmaker Joe Swanberg continues ‘Mainstream’ march, to direct New-Line Cinema’s ‘Work Wife’


Joe Swanberg, known and loved for his “micro-budget” indie dramas, has been making further steps into the mainstream and is set to direct Work Wife. The script, written by Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins of ABC’s Trophy Wife (2013), promises to be full of the “delightfully un-sitcomy-y performances” that defined Trophy Wife . The ABC sitcom was cancelled after one season, but not for lack of quality. One issue that stymied a fan following was the misplaced ironic title, Trophy Wife, for a complex show about intelligent funny women, relationships, divorce, and overall debunking the sitcom tropes that reduce women to clichés.

Although some fans of Swanberg’s indie dramas Kissing on the Mouth (2005), Nights and Weekends (2008), and Silver Bullets (2009), might lament this step, Swanberg actually seems well suited to do the project. Drinking Buddies (2013) centered on the messy romances between colleagues and almost all of Swanberg’s films deal with complex character relationships in some way.

Some of Swanberg’s latest work, including Drinking Buddies (2013) and Happy Christmas (2014), were cast with the likes of Lena Dunham, Anna Kendrick, and Olivia Wilde. Increasingly working with big names the trajectory of Swanberg’s career leads him to directing a studio film for New-Line. For Swanberg, working with known figures and directing studio films are reasonable steps toward entertainment’s more defined and profitable center.



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