A 4th grade class pulls an April Fool’s prank on their teacher with catastrophic results. Panicked and convinced that they will all go to jail, they set out to cover up the accident before their D.A.R.E. officer arrives for his weekly lesson. Winner of the 2014 Audience Choice Award.
In the words of my brother (and co-writer), “Comedy is two things: something real treated preposterously or something preposterous treated realistically.” Fool’s Day is the latter, and to me that is what will make this film so special.
When you have a short that essentially starts with a class of 9-year-olds unintentionally blowing off a teacher’s head, the natural tendency would be to play to the absurdity, leaning on it like a crutch. This would result in a story ripe with, and rooted in escapism. To me, this is out of fashion, overdone and not as interesting. Rooting Fool’s Day entirely in verisimilitude is going to make this a film like no other and ultimately amplify the shock, suspense and comedy of the film to a whole new level.
Being the follow-up to my award-winning drama “All That Remains,” some people have questioned why I would want to make this my next film. Many people hear the premise and ask me, “Is it animated?” and that question right there lets me know every time that this film needs to be made and it is going to be a game changer too. Steven Spielberg once said that he decides what films to make by asking himself if he would want to see it or not. And since the very inception of Fool’s Day, I knew I wanted to see this film. In fact everyone that hears the concept, whether they get it or think it’s a cartoon, they all say, “I want to see that film.”
But when it comes down to it, it’s a good story that I know I can tell in a unique and creative way. I have long wanted to make a film centered on kids and shot from their eye level. I want to make the audience feel like they are children again, transport them back to the third grade for 15 minutes. And although the film does have a lot of gore in it, it is not my intention to play to the horror element of the story, but rather focus on the comedy and tension the predicament divulges.
While the story is very edgy, the film will have a strong moral thesis: honesty. Having worked for years as a summer camp counselor growing up, I’ve watched kids habitually lie to exonerate themselves from any potential trouble they might–or might not–be in. I can’t help but feel that defense mechanism carries over with us to adulthood. This message is intrinsic to my allegorical comedy and what makes it all the more different from films like it. Or at least it would, if there were other films like Fool’s Day.