The Flickcast recently got the chance to speak with Marshall Cook, whose new film Division III: Football’s Finest is now on Blu-Ray and DVD. Cook co-wrote, directed, edited, and starred in the film, which stars Andy Dick as an insane college football coach.
The Flickcast: Congratulations on the movie; it’s hilariously funny. You clearly have a good sense of comic timing.
Marshall Cook: Well, a lot of the supporting cast are writers, and it was a culmination of everyone’s work that went into this. I don’t have the ego to say I’m the funniest person here.
TF: Did you write it with the actors you got in mind?
MC: Yeah, pretty much all of them, except for a couple. Alison Haislip, who plays my love interest, auditioned and she was very similar to the girl it was based on; she had that guy’s girl personality. Also, she’s just a solid actor. I’m really glad we got her.
And Kevin Covais, who plays my roommate, that was actually written for Frankie Muniz, who I play basketball with. He dropped out probably two weeks before production. So it was a race to find Kevin, and I was so happy to find him.
Also Michael Jace, who plays the athletic director. I didn’t really know who was going to play him. It’s pretty obvious he was one of the fish-out-of-water characters.
TF: There were several characters that kept the film grounded.
MC: I think it’s important to have that, because we are asking Andy to go very big. He’s very aware of how big he’s playing it, and he’s not usually one to go so big. Because he doesn’t like caricatures; he likes playing real, grounded characters. One of the things I had to hammer into his brain is that coaches are big by nature. You almost can’t go too big. And they’re aware of how big they are; they’re almost caricatures of themselves.
TF: One of the funniest things throughout the film is everyone else’s reaction to how insane and cartoonish Andy is.
MC: It’s important in every comedy to have a relatable straight man. Because if everybody is crazy, who are you identifying with?
TF: Can you say what your budget was?
MC: I can say that Friday Night Lights was made for $25 million and if you divide that by 100, that’s about what we were at.
TF: How long did it take you to get financing?
MC: I finished the script in 2007… It’s been a very long process. Over that time, I did some other things- web series and short films, a couple acting gigs here and there.
There was this guy who came into the picture named Chris Johns. He wanted to make the movie, and he had a very strict, low budget. I said look, we could do it for that. I was totally lying through my teeth, because I didn’t know for sure we could, but I just knew that I had to make this movie, and I would do whatever it took to get it done.
TF: If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice at the start of this whole process, what would it be?
MC: Don’t spend as much time fine-tuning the jokes. I spent a lot of time on certain jokes, and then you get Andy Dick or Adam Carolla on set, and they come up with something that’s even funnier.
Also -and this goes for directing or football or anything- really try to soak in the moment and have fun and remember how cool what you’re doing is. Really enjoy that instead of stressing out or worrying that you need to be the best you can be or make every play exactly right.
Have fun and don’t stress so much about the little things.