ATLFF 2016: Rob Burnett Talks 'The Fundamentals of Caring,' Casting Selena Gomez, and Atlanta

ATLFF 2016: Rob Burnett Talks 'The Fundamentals of Caring,' Casting Selena Gomez, and Atlanta

Rob Burnett's The Fundamentals of Caring was the kickoff film of the 2016 Atlanta Film Festival and the director was on hand to introduce his film to a soldout crowd at the Plaza Theatre in downtown Atlanta. We spoke with Burnett on the red carpet before the film and got the chance to talk to him about why he wanted to adapt the novel, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, into a film, working with Selena Gomez, and filming in Atlanta.


Shakefire (SF): What attracted you to making an adaptation of the novel?

Rob Burnett (RB): It was the versatility of the story. It could very easily turn sentimental or tragic, but it’s actually a tale told in a funny way. Also, it’s story that I’ve seen different versions of where the typical version is a caregiver comes and breathes life into the ill or injured. What’s interesting about this story was that the caregiver, Paul Rudd’s character, is just as injured as the person he’s taking care of. So to see the two of them kinda fill each other’s gaps and deficiencies I found to be an interesting story to tell.


SF: Selena Gomez, who’s most known as a musician and pop star, has a role in the film as well. What did you see in her as an actress. What does she bring to the role?

RB: I’ll tell you about Selena. I’ve not come across anyone that is harder working than she is. She’s the kinda person that could very easily sit back and rely on her fame, but she seems to have a preternatural understanding that fame without accomplishment is empty. Amazingly this young girl is always trying to improve herself, and she has a tremendous amount of raw ability. I’m very proud to know her.


SF: The Fundamentals of Caring was filmed in Atlanta and is now the Opening Night presentation of the Atlanta Film Festival. How was that experience for you?

RB: Atlanta is a great place to make a movie. Obviously you got tax breaks and all of that, but the crews here are phenomenal. They’re all professionals; they work all the time. And the city itself is geared towards filmmaking. We got a lot of great support from the film commission and, of course, this place has more good restaurants than any city should. I don’t know how that’s allowed! That should be illegal. I’ve had three of the best meals of my life in the last 48 hours. I don’t know what you people are doing down here!


Distribution for The Fundamentals of Caring has been acquired by Netflix. Initially the deal only involved the streaming rights to the film, but Burnett announced in a Q&A after the screening that Netflix has picked up the full distribution rights to the film, and it will appear as a Netflix Original on June 24, 2016.

Matt Rodriguez
Interview by Matt Rodriguez
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