Making a Wedding

Midway into the story, however, the director's smooth touch suddenly turns rough, when the tone of the movie changes drastically from light-hearted comedy with an edgy subtext to something much darker. "I feel like the serious side of the film was always there," offers Hogan to those who find the transition from farce to drama too abrupt. "The comedy was a way to invite the audience into the story and then to show them something that was a little more moving. At that point the film was divesting itself of its cloak of comedy. It was a conscious decision, like saying, 'Now that I've got you, this is what's here.' I wanted tragedy to strike in the film at the place where Muriel and the audience least expected it. It was definitely a conscious decision, and while I was doing it, I was aware that it was also the film's biggest risk."

Hogan does not fall into the trap of sentimentality. The crippling, life-threatening illness that befalls one of his characters bestows neither grace nor wisdom upon its victim. "I really hate movies where the person is somehow ennobled by their disability or their illness," the filmmaker says. "It's kind of unfair to everybody who doesn't deal well with their illness, you know? I've been sick, and I'm miserable to be around. I don't suddenly become a better person because I'm ill. If I'd followed Hollywood formula, [the afflicted character] would have got up and walked. I couldn't justify that. I wanted her to be angry. I wanted her to stay who she is. I had a good friend who had cancer and I believed that she was going to get well and she didn't. She died. I remember thinking if I ever needed reminding that life is not a movie, this was it. There was even a point where she went into remission, but it didn't last very long." Hogan grows silent for a moment, then unexpectedly he laughs: "So I cut [the character's] spinal cord. I wasn't leaving any chance.

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