(Release Info London schedule; May 10th 2019, Electric Cinema, Portobello, 191 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2ED, 21:00 pm)
When Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) reunites with his first crush, one of the most influential women in the world, Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), he charms her with his self-deprecating humor and his memories of her youthful idealism. As she prepares to make a run for 'The Presidency', Charlotte hires Fred as her speechwriter and sparks fly.
Fred Flarsky is a gifted and free-spirited journalist with an affinity for trouble. Charlotte Field is one of the most influential women in the world. Smart, sophisticated, and accomplished, she’s a powerhouse diplomat with a talent for, well, mostly everything. The two have nothing in common, except that she was his babysitter and childhood crush. When Fred unexpectedly reconnects with Charlotte, he charms her with his self-deprecating humor and his memories of her youthful idealism. As she prepares to make a run for 'The Presidency', Charlotte impulsively hires Fred as her speechwriter, much to the dismay of her trusted advisors. A fish out of water on Charlotte’s elite team, Fred is unprepared for her glamourous lifestyle in the limelight. However, sparks fly as their unmistakable chemistry leads to a round-the-world romance and a series of unexpected and dangerous incidents.
He might not be 'The Prime Minister Of Canada' (Alexander Skarsgård), but they don’t come much more righteous, fair-minded or dedicated to tell-it-like-you-see-it journalism than Fred Flarsky. It’s just that Fred seems to have also mastered the art of being his own worst enemy, often going a step way too far or stepping on his own feet while trying to do the right thing. When we first meet Fred in the film, he's a very idealistic person who has never quite been able to become the person that he hoped he would be. Fred would describe himself as a highly principled but also highly misunderstood journalist, one who has not really gotten recognition for the risks he takes and the work he creates. But he’s also kind of a self-destructive mess who doesn’t believe in his own worth. That finally starts to shift once Flarsky starts working for Charlotte Field, and begins to grapple with the outlandish fact that 'The Secretary Of State' appears to actually be falling in love with him, a rebellious 'Brooklynite' whose idea of fancy dress is adding a baseball cap to his windbreaker. As Fred discovers he can make Charlotte happy, his own personal take on what happiness is evolves. Fred recognizes that Charlotte’s a really great leader, so it becomes fulfilling for him to learn to support her in that. It gives him a chance to step back from his own ego and realize it doesn’t always have to be about him and his stuff. He learns to take pleasure just in being there for someone else, which is completely new for him. Even as Charlotte changes Fred, Fred aims to help Charlotte change the world. Having never quite recovered from the full force of her youthful idealism when she was his babysitter, he can’t help but remind her of just how spirited and uncompromising she was back then. Fred is able to re-spark the feelings that made Charlotte go into politics in the first place. He reminds her of all these strong ideals that got watered down over the years. Fred has always been an advocate for sticking to your guns and doing what you think is right. He can be entirely overzealous in that when it comes to his own life, but Charlotte takes it to heart in her own pragmatic way.
Charlotte has always been driven, even as a kid, and she has always wanted to do big things and change big things in the world. When we first meet her in the film, it seems that everything is working out exactly the way that she’s always wanted, but she has paid a price. She has lost a little of what really mattered to her in order to succeed. that’s why Fred is so important to her. He wakes her up to all those things she used to believe in, really still believes in! If Fred Flarsky has never quite had the impact he hoped for in the world, or even in Brooklyn, Charlotte Field has reached the most rarified heights of international achievement and now has a chance, no matter how slim, to lead the entire nation with her vision. She’s done it all, and she’s hugely skilled at keeping it all under control, though perhaps just a little too skilled, which might be why she can’t get her childhood neighbor Flarsky out of her mind from the minute he literally tumbles back into her life. Charlotte is very much of this time and she’s in a very conflicted place that a lot of women have to deal with; juggling work, ideals and personal life. That's why you ultimately root so hard for her and Fred, because nothing is really easy for them and they've to make some really tough personal decisions.
Surrounding Fred and Charlotte is a cast of comical characters from their disparate worlds. They include Fred’s life-long best friend Lance (O’Shea Jackson Jr.), who has never let him down no matter his misadventures. From the minute Fred re-encounters Charlotte, Lance is there, convincing him he’s good enough to pursue the impossible. Lance is a tech entrepreneur, a self-made man, who's super enthusiastic about everything, and he’s aggressively enthusiastic about supporting Fred. Lance is always in Fred’s corner. Lance believes that you've to love yourself first and then you need to step up and do something about it. He believes that if Fred proves to himself he’s worthy of Charlotte Field’s love, he’ll realize the kind of potential that has always been in him from the beginning. Behind Charlotte stands a loyal staff, and no one is more devoted to her than her rabidly meticulous 'Chief Of Staff', Maggie (June Diane Raphael), whose job is to solve every problem long before one arises. Naturally, Maggie’s consummate skills sniff out Fred Flarsky as an issue from the second Charlotte decides to hire him. She nails both the rivalry with Fred and the camaraderie with Charlotte that are so key to the comedy. The character is based not only on a real-life political 'Chief Of Staff, but on the coterie of Hollywood assistants, running people’s lives like a manager runs a company. There's a certain kind of energy to 'The Gatekeeper', a confidence and a power that comes from knowing nobody can get to this famous person without going through you.
Maggie knows that while she might not be a public person, she’s crucial to 'The Secretary Of State’s' success, and she loves that. As 'The Gatekeeper', Maggie is staunchly opposed to Flarsky, first as a speechwriter but even more so as Charlotte’s prospective relationship, which is not at all in Maggie’s vision of Charlotte’s future. Why Charlotte hires Flarsky, and why he stays on the campaign, is a total mystery to Maggie. But even if she doesn’t understand it, she has to try to keep it from imploding Charlotte’s future. Working closely with Maggie is Tom (Ravi Patel), Charlotte’s 'body man', that indefinable 'Washington D.C.' job that's part valet, part emotional support, part social buffer. It’s not an easy job, though. When you’re body man, problems come at you pretty hard. You've to try to anticipate what's needed long before it's needed. So Tom is just an incredible grinder who never stops. Charlotte’s boss is no less than 'The President Of The United States', even if President Chambers (Bob Odenkirk) is in way over his head as commander-in-chief and knows it. A one-time actor who played a popular 'TV President' before he was elected, his main hope for his 'Presidency' is to parlay it into his true ambition; the big move to motion pictures. Chambers is a total airhead and a goofball, but he looks the part of President so that’s how he got elected. Charlotte takes Chambers by surprise when she starts dominating the news cycle. He hasn’t really paid close attention to what a smart cookie Charlotte is. She’s way smarter than he's but he doesn’t really notice.
It's about a guy who, not unlike himself at that time, has become cynical about everything from politics to love, because none of it seemed to be working very well. What if such a guy fell in love with a woman so full of vigor, power and light, he has to adjust his own view of the world just to have the most remote shot with her? Fred Flarsky, an unapologetically opinionated, gonzo-style journalist still trying to make his mark in an age of corporate media. Flarsky is a guy who's creeping up on middle age, whose career as a journalist is on the verge of dying and he’s adrift in a lot of ways. That in turn led to the creation of Charlotte Field, the flame Fred’s been unable to put out since boyhood; his utterly unattainable babysitter, who from the second he met her inspired him, and seemed light years out of reach. Unsurprisingly to Flarsky, the wondrous Charlotte went on to become one of the most impressive and influential women in the world, while he’s been muckraking for the local 'Brooklyn Advocate'. When they run into each other after all these years, just as Flarsky has lost his job in a last stand against a corporate takeover, Flarsky has no illusions. Instead, it's Charlotte whose fascination is sparked by this refreshingly genuine blast from her past, leading her to give Flarsky a trial run at being her speechwriter.
At first glance, Charlotte’s intercontinental sophistication couldn’t be a wilder clash with Flarsky’s klutziness and brash outspokenness. Charlotte is powerful, glamorous and everything Flarsky isn’t. Flarsky would never assume he could be with a woman like her. Yet there are places they connect from the start. Flarsky has a very strong sense of morality, even if he’s self-sabotaging. Charlotte also has very strong principles, even if she’s pragmatic and careful about them, knowing how the game has to be played. Part of the fun of their relationship is that's it gets going, Fred starts to get more comfortable with being cared about and Charlotte loosens up a lot, to the point of walking up to the edge of getting herself in trouble. As Charlotte starts rising in the polls, they've to contend with the consequences of their growing bond. With Charlotte enjoying a media frenzy over her link to 'The Canadian Prime Minister, she tries to keep their fling a secret, but realizes that can’t go on forever with the media glare. You can get away with a lot more subversiveness and outrageousness when you ground comedy in a believable thing. When you see Fred fall down a flight of stars in the hilarious way only he can, you also see him reconnecting with his childhood crush and coming to terms with who he has become.
At the heart of this laugh-out-loud comedy about an epic romantic mismatch is a charming fairy-tale premise for our times. Charlotte Field is a bold, brilliant woman about to run for leader of the world. Fred Flarsky is a renegade Brooklyn journalist who can barely run his life. Can they really find happiness together? It’s an outlandish long shot, but then again, that’s one thing Charlotte and Fred share in common. Aside from the awkward fact that Charlotte was once Fred’s dazzling, much-desired babysitter, the two share a love for flying in the face of the odds. Now, they're both about to go for their most impossible dreams in a big way. Charlotte is aiming at nothing less than the future of the nation. And Fred? When Charlotte unexpectedly gives him a job as a novice speechwriter, he only hopes for a little time with her, no matter how incompatible they appear to be by every conceivable metric of power, success and appeal. A woman who has taken empowerment to the next level, Charlotte has no need and definitely no timenfor a relationship, and yet’s she’s drawn to the spark she spies all these years later in Fred. But to their surprise, they make for a successful team. And to their total mutual shock, no matter how much the two of them together makes absolutely no sense, as Charlotte starts soaring the polls, their relationship starts heating up behind the scenes. For someone like Fred, dating Charlotte is almost like dating a princess. Fred and Charlotte ricochet off one another as two aspirational people pushing the edges of their comfort zones in love, work and around the globe.
At first, the story just has fun with them figuring out how to sneak around having this secret relationship. But ultimately, they've to figure out how important is this thing, really? Are they willing to risk Charlotte’s election chances or to risk even bigger things in terms of her having a lasting impact on the world? We've to see Charlotte's character as an incredible opportunity to explore not only a woman of high achievement in the political world, but also what a woman comes up against when she’s trying to be the best version of herself. What are the compromises she makes and won’t make? Charlotte’s journey really speaks to anyone trying to stay true to the things that mattered to you when you're young. That’s what Fred and Charlotte ultimately bring out in each other. There's a kind of 'Beauty And The Beast' element to Fred and Charlotte that had lots of comic potential. You've a woman who's trying to figure out how to be all things to all people, and then you've Fred who can’t seem to get out of his own way. While the backdrop of the film reflects the world of politics as we know it today, contentious, cutthroat, celebrity-driven, media-saturated.
"Long Shot" is the rare modern comedy that jets around the world’s hot spots, moving from New York and 'Washington D.C.' to France, Sweden, Argentina, Japan and 'The Philippines', and from formal dinners of state to explosive 'Coup D’états'. The story has scope and scale that’s not only a lot of fun for a comedy but also separates it from other movies. It's also a shot at giving new life to the kind of sweetly emotional comedies that first made us fall in love with the movies; blending in '21st Century' sensibility and relevance. The idea of stretching a political comedy into the global sphere, presents an exhilarating challenge. In America, politicians are our version of royalty. So it’s a story that taps into a kind of grand fantasy fulfillment but at the same time it’s as down-to-earth, irreverent and hilarious as any thing we’ve done. The political world is a fun and timely backdrop. The emotional through-line of Charlotte and Fred is always the priority. But having a story that moves around the world and among powerful people, it feels like a chance to do something different with the comedy. From the performances to the look to the music, that entirely unlikely, but ever deepening, common ground is always the linchpin of the movie. The result is both a sweet and raucously funny ride through a contemporary reality, one that constantly asks us to compromise while tantalizing us with chances to seize the day.