Home playdates website trailer archives
     
             
     
             
     

In a modern-day fable about the unexpected wonders of the everyday, Luke Wilson (The Royal Tenenbaums) stars as Henry Poole, a disillusioned man who attempts to hide from life in a rundown suburban tract home. But just as he settles in to his indulgent isolation with a case of vodka and all the junk food he can eat, his neighbor, a well-meaning busybody named Esperanza (Adriana Barraza, Babel), drops by with a plate of homemade tamales and a whole lot of questions. Despite his desire for solitude, Henry can't help noticing Dawn (Radha Mitchell, Finding Neverland), the beautiful young divorcée next door and her daughter Millie (Morgan Lily), an eight-year-old amateur spy who hasn't spoken a word since her parents' break-up. Soon, Henry discovers that his plan to live out his days in quiet desperation is going to be much harder than he ever imagined. George Lopez co-stars in this funny, poignant and uplifting comedy written by Albert Torres and directed by Mark Pellington.
 

Henry Poole Is Here by director Mark Pellington

I first came upon the character of Henry Poole in the winter of 2003, when he existed only in a spec script called Stain. Albert Torres had written the funny, human and heartfelt tale of a man facing death who ultimately received the gift of life. I liked it, but was involved with other projects at the time.

In the summer of 2004, my wife passed away suddenly and tragically. It was unexpected and screwed up and wrong. And it turned my world upside down as a man, as a husband, as the father of a 2 ½-year-old girl. I was thrown into a hole of despair and blackness that I would never want anyone else to experience, yet know others do every day. Everyone has suffered and lost and been dealt an unfair card. I am no different. These experiences change us forever, shape us and make us who we are—for better or worse.

Work and art became a huge outlet and asset to my healing. I was able to create numerous music videos for Keane, Foo Fighters, The Fray and Bruce Springsteen. I even did some episodic work with my family at “Cold Case” and was fortunate enough to put many personal feelings, ideas and emotional energy into the show’s stories and imagery. In doing so, I found filmmaking a great, healthy and cathartic place for my processing. Art is truly for the spirit.

As I began to reexamine and explore the films I had wanted to make or was attached to, I felt disconnected to many that seemed one dimensionally darker. I was less drawn to anything devoid of what I felt was a newly emerging sense of hope for something else—a more balanced worldview of humanity and some degree of positivism.

I re-read Stain and met with Albert. I was honest about the story and what still drew me to it. Fundamentally, it’s about a man who is given a new lease on life and the idea that no matter what the cause—a mistake, a choice, whatever the case may be—life sometimes leads us places for a reason we never realize. Deep down, I knew that making the film would become part of my life experience rather than a job.

I believe in these characters, this story and its themes. The things I want to say to the world are in this film, and not for me to underline or exclaim. I loved its mixture of heart and humor and the tones that reflected the world I saw and wanted to see, in my daughter’s life and my future. Life is so incredible. It can be gorgeous and awesome and tragic and unexplainable and sublime and horrible all at once. For me, it is how you see it, how you choose to experience it. The rendering of the film and its choices are from the heart and from a genuine place. My own life experience colors it, as any filmmaker’s life colors the films he creates. But it is colored, in every frame, by the lives of all who touch it.

I approached the film from a place of honesty and my own truth. Every choice is subjective, and I wanted to make a film in which I could put my feelings—the burgeoning laughter, the quiet of reflection, the sadness, the fragility, the need to connect and the wonderment at our own smallness in the big picture.