“I Heart Huckabees” is a high concept comedy about existentialism
detectives. Jason Schwartzman stars as the young man who hires the detectives. There are only a few people in Hollywood that would make a ﬁlm like this and David O. Russell, the director of “Three Kings,” is the man responsible.Russell and Schwartzman were both in Philadelphia recently to shed some light on the project. With a ﬁlm that deals with such complex topics, some are wondering if it is too intelligent for the general public.
Schwartzman isnʼt worried. “Itʼs a comedy with the falling down and the music and the emotion of it was like a train. Then the concepts and the words like existentialism and metaphysical are stowaways on that train,”
“You canʼt talk about these things weʼre talking about, without having a
good time with it.” Over the course of the ﬁlm, there are a number of philosophies at play. Indo-Tibetian, Neo-Zen, and Sarte are among
those shown in the ﬁlm.
“Just because Iʼm joking around about [them] doesnʼt mean that I am not dead serious about it,” said Russell. This is the reason that all of the characters are wearing suits throughout the movie, to make sure there was formality to it.
Russell and Schwartzman have known each other for ﬁve years after meeting originally at a “Being John Malkovich” screening, which Schwartzman remembers vividly. They had tried to work to together on another project Russell wrote, but were unsuccessful until now.
“I wrote this for [Schwartzman],” Russell said. “I fell in love with him. How can you not?” As for Schwartzman agreeing to do the ﬁlm, he said it was a no brainer.
“Thereʼs few people youʼd do anything for. Just like there are bands youʼll always buy their records without hearing a second of it. Itʼs like a creative trust,” Schwartzman said. “Once I read the script, I knew it would be an amazing project.”
Not only did Russell write the lead role for Schwartzman, but he also hired Schwartzmanʼs mother, actress Talia Shire, to play his mother in the ﬁlm as well. The working relationship was set very quickly after Shire
refused special treatment because she was the starʼs mother.
“It was very easy to treat her like an actor. She reminded me of a story. The day she came to work I cleaned out the trailer I was staying in and moved to a maller one so she could have mine. I thought she would really like that and then she was furious.
She said, ʻNo, I want the one I was given,ʼ” Schwartzman recalled.
Russell commented during the interview that everyone got along well, which may make some think that “I Heart Huckabees” might have felt more like a group of friends hanging out, rather than work for those involved.