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INTERVIEW: ‘One Day As a Lion”s Frank Grillo and John Swab Talking Bringing Scott Caan’s Vision to Life

One day as a lion cast

One Day As a Lion is a film written by Scott Caan, who also stars as Jackie Powers. It’s very much a movie about a man just trying to do right by those in his life and the chaos that ensues because of it. It’s funny, heartfelt, and a great look at Caan’s abilities as a writer and an actor. And in talking with director John Swab, it’s clear that he wanted to make Caan’s vision come to life.

Swab did not write the film but he was taking over directing Caan in the movie that he himself wrote. So I asked him about how he and Scott Caan found the balance of working together to bring Caan’s vision to life while still finding their balance as actor and director.

“When we started talking about making the movie together, we had a lot of discussions about that specifically, like where do responsibilities begin and end for each of us?” he said. “To Scott’s credit, he said, ‘once you decide to do it, it’s your movie. And I’ll follow your lead.’ And he did as he said he would. And for me, because I didn’t write it, it kind of allowed my brain to kind of nerd out on other things. Specifically the composition and the framing, which I really had a lot of fun with and take a lot of pride in, because I think the movie, it looks really, really pretty. And has a really strong visual look to it. So I’m happy with how that turned out.”

You can see our full chat here!

Making a small role count

“These are characters that serve a purpose,” Grillo said. “And you can only take them in the movie like in certain little doses. Whenever you see him, he’s in different levels of frustration. And that’s how I kind of approach it.” We went on to talk a bit about growing up with Italian family where there was always that one uncle who really just embodied the energy that his character, Pauly, had.

But Grillo went on to talk about working with John Swab and Caan to make a character like Pauly work in the movie. “I think John Schwab crafted it beautifully because when Pauly is in the movie, there’s a level of energy that’s kind of infused into it that’s different from the rest of the movie. I thought Scott Caan did an amazing job carrying it and playing that kind of lovable, you know, it’s funny because she says to him, I think she said some, there was a line in the movie where she was questioning his ability to be a hitman, you know? And he pulled that off beautifully.”

You can see our full chat here!

One Day As a Lion is available now on digital and on demand.

(Featured image: Lionsgate)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.