Listen Up! 5 Questions with Megan Griffiths, Director of Lucky Them

We’re major fans of films set against the backdrop of the music world, from Almost Famous to Velvet Goldmine. Indie dramedy Lucky Them joins this genre as a welcome addition and third feature film from critically acclaimed director – and current Seattleite – Megan Griffiths. The film follows the story of music journalist Ellie Klug (Toni Collette), ordered by her editor to investigate the disappearance of legendary rock god, Matthew Smith—who also happens to be her ex-boyfriend. Clearly, there’s a LOT more to this story, but since we hate spoilers, you’ll just need to check out the film for yourself (FYI: it’s scoring very high on Rotten Tomatoes—we would not steer you wrong).

Lucky for us (see what we did there?), director Megan Griffiths is a friend and gamely agreed to answer a few music-related questions for a special edition of Listen Up! that we’re super excited about.

THE THREAD: Considering some of the legendary musicians that hail from Seattle, do you feel setting the film here helped to authenticate the music-themed storyline?

MEGAN GRIFFITHS: I do, and I also think it adds a level of familiarity for viewers because many of them already feel like they know this music community, even if the version of the Seattle music world they know is twenty years old. There’s an immediate sense of “yes, that story makes sense in that environment.” Everyone is aware of the city’s musical history, and it kind of serves as an element in the film’s unspoken history.

How important do you think a soundtrack is to a film?

I think sound in general is hugely important, both music and also sound design (effects, textures, atmosphere)—it’s half the experience and really doesn’t tend to get enough love in many films. But music specifically can really make or break a film. For Lucky Them, I used more music than I ever have in other projects: there are 28 licensed, pre-existing songs on the soundtrack, 4 new songs that were composed for the film and 31 original score cues. That is intense, especially given our music budget. But this world is set in the world of music, so having music constantly playing is just part of that. And we really worked hard to represent who the characters were through the music they listened to.

Besides Lucky Them, what’s your favorite film related to music and why?

I’m a big fan of High Fidelity. It’s a music film in the same way that Lucky Them is, meaning it takes place in a music-filled universe and deals with music-loving people, but what’s actually in the forefront is a very relatable story about flawed people and their complicated relationships. Also, High Fidelity uses music so well—it was a great reference point for me. It mixes new songs with old and by doing so manages to re-contextualize both. And I mean, Jack Black in that movie? Come on. The best.

Imagine you can only listen to one album in your car for eternity. What would it be?

Probably The Transfiguration of Vincent by M. Ward. Back when that album first came out, I think like 2002 or 2003, my car kept getting broken into for some reason and my stereo kept getting stolen. Since I was always listening to M. Ward, that CD would be in the stereo when they took it and so I had to re-purchase it like three separate times because I couldn’t live without it.

You’ve been known to partake in karaoke now and then. What’s your favorite song—either to sing or hear someone else belt out?

My current favorite song to sing is “Everything I Do, I Do It For You,” which is kind of fitting considering the Bryan Adams reference in Lucky Them. I’ve been threatening my friends Lacey and Steve that I’ll perform it for their upcoming wedding—not at the reception but actually during the vows, like AS the vows. They don’t seem very open to the idea, but I think I’ll wear them down.

Lucky Them opens in limited release and VOD today—check your area for theaters.

—Jenny Yule

  • Drella August 23, 2014, 12:50 pm

    I NEED the scarf worn by Toni Collette in this film… Where can I get it??

  • Amy June 3, 2014, 11:04 am

    This film hasn’t been on my radar but it looks all kinds of good. Loved the interview!

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