Cast: Vince Vaughn, Chris Pratt, Cobie Smulders
Director: Ken Scott
Running Time: 103 minutes
Synopsis: From DreamWorks Pictures comes 'Delivery Man", the story of affable underachiever David Wozniak, whose mundane life is turned upside down when he finds out that he fathered 533 children through sperm donations he made twenty years earlier. In debt to the mob, rejected by his pregnant girlfriend, things couldn't look worse for David when he is hit with a lawsuit from 142 of the 533 twenty-somethings who want to know the identity of the donor. As David struggles to decide whether or not he should reveal his true identity, he embarks on a journey that leads him to discover not only his true self but the father he could become as well.
The Delivery Man
Release Date: November 28th, 2013
Casting Vince Vaughn in a New Light
Vince Vaughn has starred in some of the biggest box office comedies of the past decade, winning over audiences with his characteristic deadpan delivery and scathing sense of humor. Having played the lovable Everyman many times before, 'Delivery Man" serves as a departure for him as an actor. A touching story filled with honesty and hope – in addition to humor – the film gives audiences a glimpse of a more mature Vince Vaughn.
Now married and the father to two children of his own, Vince Vaughn was drawn to the role of David Wozniak as he wanted to address the issues of balancing life and family from a fresh perspective.
'It's a great premise that is a little bit crazy," says Vince Vaughn, 'but underneath it all the movie is about family, about connection and about finding your way, so it has a lot of heart to it. The movie deals with real issues that families go through, what people go through in life trying to find their way and be successful, in a very authentic way. But there's also an underlying optimism, warmth and love to the film that's very powerful and funny."
David is the eldest of three sons in the Wozniak family. He works for the family's Brooklyn-based meat business with his father and brothers, but is a constant foul-up, albeit a loveable and likeable one. 'David is a strange character," explains producer André Rouleau. 'Maybe he is not the best man in the world, but he's got a big heart, and that's why people love him."
David's past comes back to haunt him when he learns that the anonymous donations he made to a fertility clinic years ago under the pseudonym 'Starbuck" have produced 533 Wozniak descendants, resulting in a paternity nightmare.
Adds Vince Vaughn, 'David is a guy who hasn't grown up. He's still very childlike in a lot of ways. He doesn't have a lot of adult responsibility and he realises that his girlfriend is pregnant. He owes money to some mobsters who are getting impatient and are giving him some pretty rough coaxing, and he's constantly late on his bills."
Writer/director Ken Scott was thrilled to give Vince Vaughn the chance to tackle the role of David Wozniak. 'It's always about how this impacts David's character," Ken Scott says. 'So, for me, it was very important to find a great actor, someone good with comedy, someone who was strong enough to carry the whole movie on his shoulders, and someone who we would want to follow on this journey. Vince Vaughn was very passionate about this story, he loved the story, he loved the character, obviously, and he has the talent to carry this movie. I felt he was perfect for this role."
The filmmakers knew after just one meeting with Vince Vaughn that they had found the right man. executive producer Scott Mednick recalls, 'As we walked out to my car, the three of us looked at each other and said, -My God, he's David!' Vince Vaughn brings a depth and a heart to the role that I think audiences are not expecting … he does an amazing job. He takes this film on his back and delivers, for my nickel, the performance of his life."
'He's showing us another dimension of his major talent," adds executive producer Mark Sourian. 'Vince Vaughn has always given great comedic performances. Now, with -Delivery Man,' audiences get to see more of his versatility and depth as an actor. I think Vince Vaughn was happy to play a part that was different from the roles he's had in the past. He definitely brings something amazing and unique to the character of David. I think, as a new father himself, he brought a personal understanding of the situation that nobody else could have performed as well."
Delivering the Ideal Cast
'Delivery Man" brings together a unique ensemble of actors – comedy stars from both film and television, internationally acclaimed stars of stage and a host of talented newcomers – who together, create a dynamic and realistic chemistry.
Chris Pratt plays David's best friend Brett, a fledgling lawyer raising four kids on his own. According to Pratt, 'Brett is despondent, depressed, fat, at the end of his rope and buried in the responsibility of having four children. He's in a bad spot, and he sees the opportunity to represent David in this class action lawsuit as his last chance to reignite his passion."
'Brett is one of David's childhood friends," says Vince Vaughn. 'I wouldn't say that he's a successful attorney, but he's an attorney. He's overwhelmed with being a father himself. He's doing it on his own. And so, he's telling David that he shouldn't be a father, and particularly that David's not equipped to be a father."
'Chris Pratt was our first choice for the part," says Mark Sourian. 'And, in fact, so much so, we more or less cast him without an audition or meeting. We felt he was the perfect confidant, for Vince."
And sure enough, Vince Vaughn and Chris Pratt bonded on the set, quickly becoming each other's biggest fan. 'Chris Pratt is terrific," says Vince Vaughn. 'He likes to have fun, he likes to joke around. He would make me laugh everyday on set, so it was easy jumping in and playing friends."
Adds Mark Sourian, 'Brett mirrors the situation that David is in, in terms of finding themselves in an extraordinary situation that allows them both as underachievers to step it up and become the best versions of themselves. That's what makes the two of them so endearing. You want to root for them because they're underdogs, and that's part of the reason why you love them so much."
For the role of David's girlfriend Emma, the filmmakers were looking to cast an actress who could hold her own opposite Vince Vaughn on both a dramatic as well as comedic level. The part went to Cobie Smulders, who exuded a unique combination of toughness and vulnerability.
'The story starts with a lot of conflict," explains Ken Scott. 'This character is right away fighting with David, and we needed to feel that there was a connection, that even though they're fighting, we feel that these two are made for one another, they love one another, and they should be together. Cobie Smulders definitely brought that."
He continues, 'We also needed someone that could understand the comedy of the situation. She's in some very dramatic scenes, yet we needed these scenes to play out with a bit of levity, and Cobie Smudlers definitely had that."
In the film, Emma is all too familiar with David's shortcomings and is desperate for him to grow up. The fact that she is pregnant with his child makes things all the more complicated.
Cobie Smulders explains, 'David comes to her door very late at night, and he's trying to make up with her. He hasn't been in touch for a while, and Emma has been trying to get in touch with him because she's pregnant. She is a New York City police officer and she's battling with the idea of this man being her child's father. Will he support her? Is he a good father figure? And so it's a journey for both of them in a way that Emma learns to trust David and David grows up."
As irritated as Emma is with David, part of her wants to give him the chance to step up to the plate. 'David is flaky. He's one of those guys, who's so sweet, so charming, and everybody loves him," observes Cobie Smulders. 'But, he's not dependable. And for someone like Emma who is so by the book, who is much more organised, having this person in her life can be very frustrating."
Cobie Smulders says, 'When Emma reveals that she's pregnant to David, he goes on a quest to prove to her that he could be a good father. It's almost like he doesn't have to prove it to her first, but he has to prove it to himself first. He starts showing up for ultrasound appointments and becomes very supportive. In the end, upon revealing his identity to her and to the world, saying, -I'm the father, and I want to be there for these people,' is a huge testament to him growing up, becoming responsible, becoming present, and it shows her what a good father he would be."
While wanting to support Emma and be the father she's hoping he could be, David is still conflicted about doing right by her and his biological offspring, as well as his father and brothers. 'He has a lot of love and affection for Emma," says Vince Vaughn. 'He realises that his life and the way he conducts himself maybe doesn't come off as the most consistent partner, but he wants to work on that because he does want to be a part of his child's life, and he wants to be a part of Emma's life."
David's saving grace through all his mistakes and misfortunes is his family. 'They're a very close family," says Vince Vaughn. 'Like most brothers, they tease each other, pick on each other and give each other a hard time, which makes you believe the relationship. But also, there's a real deep bond there."
Bobby Moynihan was cast in the role of Aleksy Wozniak, David's protective younger brother, as the filmmakers knew he could convey the emotional nuances of a soon-to-be new father with a light-hearted but touching portrayal.
'I'm more of the sweet and nice one," says Bobby Moynihan. 'All of our scenes together are of me begging him not to screw up again, so I'm the nag of the family, but I am hoping that I'm keeping it all together, too."
He continues, 'At first, I'm telling him not to have children. I tell him it's a gigantic mistake, because I'm about to have children. But then I have a child, and I realise how amazing and wonderful it is and I try to convey that to him."
Bobby Moynihan shared a brotherly affinity with Vince Vaughn off-screen as well. 'It's like he's my big brother," says Bobby Moynihan. 'I don't have a big brother, and the second I met him, it felt like he was my big brother already. He's a very caring, nice person, so funny and just so amazing. He's a great guy."
Vince Vaughn is equally complimentary of Bobby Moynihan. 'Bobby Moynihan does a great job," says Vince Vaughn. 'He's always funny on -Saturday Night Live' and he is funny here as well, but he also has some more direct acting scenes which he does great in."
Victor Wozniak, portrayed by Simon Delaney, is the tough talking, no nonsense one in the family. In playing opposite Simon Delaney, Bobby Moynihan immediately discovered a kindred spirit. 'The second I met him, I knew that I was going to know this guy for the rest of my life," says Bobby Moynihan. 'He's the best. He's a good guy."
Acclaimed Polish actor Andrzej Blumenfeld is Mikolaj Wozniak, the warm and loving patriarch who believes that a father's duty is to his family. Happiness for Mikolaj Wozniak, is seeing his sons every day. According to Ken Scott, 'I wanted a very tight family to contrast with this very modern situation of a guy that has 533 kids. I wanted to have a very traditional family which is why I anchored this story into a Polish family that is very tight and still has a very traditional way of life as another way to explore what fatherhood is all about.
'Mikolaj is a very important character," continues Ken Scott. 'We were looking for an actor who had a real Polish feel to him, and he had that very warm feeling of what I wanted this character to be. This was actually his first time ever in the United States, so he was very excited to come onto the project."
When it came time to cast David's biological kids, the filmmakers had one word they referred to consistently: Family. 'We're building a family," says Ken Scott. 'I would put all the actors' pictures up on a wall and see how they would look as a family. So, there was that interaction where I was not just picking this kid, I was building a family."
He continues, 'I had a picture of Vince Vaughn up on the wall and then I said, -Okay, this could be one of his kids; then if this is one of his kids, maybe this could be. It was very interesting in the way that this family came together. Obviously, they needed to be credible as Vince Vaughn's kids, but on the other hand I wanted them to be very different."
For Ken Scott, discovering untapped talent was one of the highlights of making 'Delivery Man." 'One of the great things is, we have all these kids that come in for a few scenes," says Ken Scott. 'It was a great opportunity for me to go out, find these young actors, and work with them on set. It was very exciting to be putting all these young kids into the movie."
Acting alongside a crop of young, eager, energised actors appealed to Vince Vaughn as well. 'The kids are great," Vince Vaughn says. 'Always at that age, they come in excited. They're very talented and committed, so it was just wonderful to watch. They all get a chance to do some great scenes. That isn't common to see, but there are some powerful scenes in the movie."
As David's surreptitious encounters with the kids begin, he finds himself becoming immersed in their day-to-day lives. For Vince Vaughn, the opportunity to delve into the lives of these characters was one of the most compelling aspects of the story. 'What's interesting is he gets the profiles of the children and becomes curious," says Vince Vaughn. 'He can't help but look into them. What's fun about the movie, as a father myself, by actually playing it out with different kids from different backgrounds, I get to explore the thoughts that run through all parents' minds, both the good things and the worries.
'David goes into all their lives at these early stages of becoming young adults," continues Vince Vaughn. 'It's very powerful because as a parent you think about those scenarios for your own life and your own kids, but to see someone play out so many different variations on that is very interesting."
Jack Reynor plays Josh, an aspiring actor working as a barista in a neighborhood coffee shop. Jack Reynor says, 'Josh works behind a bar, somewhere in the city, and wants to be an actor but is stuck in this job that he doesn't like very much. And so, David finds a way of helping him to achieve his goal, without actually telling him that he's his father."
Britt Robertson portrays Kristen, a young woman whose life has been filled with a number of setbacks and disappointments. 'Kristen is a sweet soul who has a strong desire to be happy in her life but doesn't know how to go about doing it," explains Brit Robertson. 'When David comes across her, she's going through a hard time. She just wants someone to love her, and that's what David does in a small way."
She continues, 'There's generosity with him. He's so giving. She's never had someone come into her life and just care about her for no reason, but with the help and guidance of David, she goes on her journey in a way that's more successful than if she never had met him."
Amos VanderPoel is Taylor, a lifeguard at the local YMCA. 'He meets David after David shows up at the pool one day and tries to make some contact with him via the diving board." Amos VanderPoel says. 'But he fails on a grand dive and I have to pull him out of the pool and resuscitate him and save him."
Amos VanderPoel was attracted to the film's concept, finding it original and unconventional. 'It's got a nice mix of a lot of different things that people will like. Whether you're an adult or a kid, this is a movie that covers a lot of territory in terms of family dynamics, but also the goofy, fun side of things."
Grocery store bag-boy Kyle is portrayed by Michael Oberholtzer, who almost passed on auditioning for the role. 'I originally thought it was for a national Starbucks commercial," recalls Michael Oberholtzer. 'But then I met the director and next thing you know I'm in the movie."
Stephen Ellis portrays 18th Century Professor re-enactor. According to Stephen Ellis, 'It's his first day on the job when David comes to see him. Robert is bad at it. He doesn't know what he's doing, and David inspires him over the course of his visits. Robert gets better and better at his calling."
Street musician Adam is played by Dave Patten. 'Adam's a musician trying to make some coin, and get his music out there," says Dave Patten. 'He's real passionate about letting his emotions out, and letting it be heard by the world. David comes to the park where Adam is playing live and starts rocking out with him. It was weird for Adam to see this random guy be as enthusiastic as he was."
For Dave Patten, he sees 'Delivery Man" as a crowd-pleasing comeback story. 'It has so much heart," he says. 'You connect with Vince's character and you want to see him make the right decision because he's made so many wrong decisions throughout the film. You're rooting for him and for the kids. And when he makes the right decision, it's a great payoff for everyone."
Jessica Williams is a spa technician who gives David his first professional pedicure. 'She is an African-American spa worker who meets David at the nail salon that she works at," says Williams. 'He's reluctant at first, and then I end up giving him a very long foot massage along with a pedicure."
Sébastien René plays Ryan, a child with special needs who is confined to a wheel chair. With apprehension and uncertainty, David visits Ryan, and at first, is tempted to run. But he is gradually won over, wanting to be there for him… as a friend and a father. The only returning actor from the original film, Sevastien René's emotionally stirring, masterful depiction of Ryan, again, provides an instrumental rite of passage for David.
Ken Scott says, 'Obviously, I was thrilled that we could bring him back, and he came back, and he did an awesome job, once again. In the original movie, the editor actually asked me if he was handicapped, or not. He's not; he's just a great actor. But, it shows you how great an actor he is, he never dropped it. He did a tremendous job."
Adam Chanler-Berat is the goth and acerbic, Viggo, the only member of the 142 plaintiffs in the lawsuit to figure out David is actually Starbuck. The antithesis of David, Viggo is a social outcast who yearns to belong and be understood, yet demands to be independent.
'Viggo is a very serious kid who takes justice into his own hands, and lives his life in that way," explains Adam Chanler-Berat. 'He becomes a leach to Vince's character in the movie. A loving leach."
David is the key to unlocking the mystery of Viggo's life. 'Meeting David is everything that Viggo wants. He wants the truth, Viggo wants the real story about his life," states Adam Chanler-Berat. 'He's been lied to for 17 years by his parents and that caused him a lot of suffering, and so he's on a quest, as a lot of people are in their late teens and twenties, to figure out who you are, where you came from, and what it means to be who you are on the planet. And so, that answer, that missing piece of the puzzle is important to Viggo in creating the larger image of his life, and his existence."
It is the unanswered questions that keep all of David's biological kids from feeling complete. 'At the heart of what the kids in the movie are asking for, is not to have David become their adoptive parent," observes Adam Chanler-Berat. 'What they're asking is for acknowledgement and truth in order for them to move on in their lives. At the end of the movie, David ends up granting the kids that very thing. He outs himself as the father and lets them into his life. And for these kids who have had a question mark, or a space in the place of a biological parent that means the world to them. That's the greatest gift that they probably receive."
Bringing the Story To Life
'Delivery Man" is a re-telling of the 2011 French-Canadian comedy 'Starbuck," which was also directed by Ken Scott. With a title derived from a notorious breeding bull with a record-setting number of offspring, the film is about an unremarkable guy who wakes up one day to find he has fathered 533 children. Expanding on the original story with humor and heart, 'Delivery Man" revisits this seemingly unlikely, but ultimately very possible tale of fatherhood and family.
Ken Scott recalls, 'The idea came from my co-screenwriter, Martin Petit, who had this idea about a man who had many children. We wanted to write a comedy about fatherhood so we went for what we considered something extreme " a fertility donor who has 150 children. One month into the project, it was all over the media that a donor had discovered he had fathered 400 children! We were speechless and realised that our mere 150 was nothing compared to reality. So we actually had to bring up the numbers. We focused on creating a story that explores fatherhood in a playful and credible way."
'Starbuck" premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, where it was selected as runner-up for the People's Choice Award. The film went on to be named Most Popular Canadian Film at the 2011 Vancouver Film Festival and upon its theatrical release, became the most successful Quebec-made film that year.
The international popularity of 'Starbuck" attracted the attention of many Hollywood producers who wanted to re-make the film for American audiences. According to Producer Mark Rouleau, 'Most of the offers we received were from people who wanted to produce a remake themselves. However, Ken Scott and I wanted to reproduce the movie."
Ken Scott adds, 'I wanted to be there as a director and as a writer to make sure that this delicate balance between drama, emotion and comedy wasn't compromised. Not many filmmakers have the opportunity to redo the same movie a second time. But I love the story."
Although 'Delivery Man" is a remake, it was important to the filmmakers that the American version not be an identical regurgitation of the original. Ken Scott says, 'The goal of the remake is to basically take the story and to integrate it with American culture. For me, it was very important to make sure that we were not simply copying something. It had to come from a real place."
It was Vince Vaughn's own family connection which first brought the project to his attention. His sister had seen the original film and loved it. And Vince Vaughn immediately admired Ken Scott's talent and enthusiasm for the project. 'I think Ken Scott's incredible," Vince Vaughn states. 'I'm just such a fan of his. He's one of those guys who, interestingly, has all skills. He's a phenomenal writer, and it's nice to come to work every day and feel good with the script and have your job be just translating his lines."
Vince Vaughn continues, 'He's so smart with the camera, visually, and he's also an actor, a performer. He knows how to talk to you and give you good ideas. He's got a fun approach to stuff, and he's a terrific filmmaker. He creates a fun atmosphere. He likes to joke around on the set, but he's also very driven and knows what he wants."
Chris Pratt is also a big fan. 'He's a great guy," Chris Pratt says. 'He told me something in rehearsal that I'll never forget. It was something about motivation in a scene that I'll use forever. It's about needs and desires. You take all of your character's needs " for Brett, it was a need to lose weight, a need to reignite his passion, a need to get out of the house, a need for a break, a need for his kids to listen to him, a need to be respected and a need for his mother's respect. And then you find a desire that will fulfill all those needs. For Brett, it was this court case. So, that gives me all the motivation I need to navigate through the whole movie."
He continues, 'That's something nice, and maybe veteran actors all know that. But, it's never been articulated to me that way, and I think for the rest of my life as long as I'm breaking down a scene, I'll use that. Not all directors can get you to think that way."
On its surface, 'Delivery Man" is a comical look at a man facing an unimaginable quandary. But it is really a humanistic portrait of a man learning to accept his flaws and focus on turning his life around.
Executive Producer Mark Sourian says, 'The thing that's so satisfying about the movie is we've found an extraordinary set of circumstances to put a character in the middle of. And yet those circumstances are very believable. There's a craziness to those circumstances that is comedic. You can't help but laugh."
He continues, 'But there's also a seriousness to it, and I think that blend creates a very unique tone for the movie that allows it to be funny but emotional and heartwarming. That rich tone is what makes the movie feel very special and unique."
David Wozniak represents the Everyman thrown into an extraordinary situation, who overcomes his circumstances to emerge a changed man. 'He is a person who wants to be better. He just needs a push," says Mark Sourian. 'It's hard not to root for somebody like that. He may not know how to do it, but you get a sense that he really wants to be better. I think that's something that all of us in one fashion or another can relate to.
From Chris Pratt's point of view, 'Delivery Man" is an allegorical tale about family and fatherhood. 'This is a movie that will actually make you think and feel something in your soul about family and fatherhood," Chris Pratt says. 'You can't always do everything for everybody in your family. But you do what you can, and there's a reward in that. And that's what David Wozniak is doing – he's doing what he can."
'It's the small things we do that make a difference, and that's what's so special about the movie," says Mark Sourian. 'David is a very relatable character who certainly inspires in all of us, a sense that you can do great things without being some extraordinary person. It's an extraordinary situation, but he does very simple things that endear us to him because they make him better. And they make him the best person he can be."
The Delivery Man
Release Date: November 28th, 2013