I recently did an interview with Nick Loeb, the director of the 2021 film Roe v. Wade which is based on the events of the 1973 court cases that led to the legalization of abortions in the USA. Here are Nick’s thoughts on aspects of filmmaking and some behind the scenes details.
Roe v. Wade Trailer
Interview with Nick Loeb
This Is Barry: How was the creative collaborative process with Cathy Allyn, given it is the directorial debut for both of you?
Nick: It was very important for us to tell this story with both the male and female perspective in mind. The top of abortion is sometimes mis-labelled as a women’s issue, when it takes both genders to make a baby.
This Is Barry: How long did the research process take for the film considering the number of characters and their micro-perspectives?
Nick: It took 2 years and over 40 books, letters and court transcripts to bring all the facts to the table. We tried to include as many of the interesting historical characters as we could, but unfortunately a lot was still left on the cutting room floor. You can check out our sources on the Fact Check page on our website roevwademovie.com
This Is Barry: The cast was excellent, and it must have been tedious to pick out amazing actors who shared a resemblance with real-world people. Which character was the toughest to cast?
Nick: The supreme court justices were the toughest to cast. To get that calibre of actors together was no small feat, and working with them was definitely a highlight. Truly a group of icons.
This Is Barry: The subject of abortions is one of the most debated ones over the decades, and we don’t see a lot of films on this topic. What drew you to this story for your directorial debut?
Nick: I was shocked that no one ever made a real mainstream movie about the most famous court case in US History. It’s a story that has to be told and is very relevant with what has gone on today between the fake news media and controversy with the supreme court.
This Is Barry: Did the personal opinions of pro-choice or pro-life of the cast and crew make the process of filmmaking challenging in any way?
Nick: We had a really good mix of both pro life and pro choice cast and crew. Most people were very open about their beliefs and it didn’t affect the filmmaking process. We are telling a true story of how the supreme court case came to be, and the actors, regardless of their positions, played their characters accurately.
This Is Barry: The 1989 TV Movie ‘Roe vs. Wade’ presented the case mainly from lawyer Sarah Weddington’s perspective and the recent 2020 documentary ‘AKA Jane Roe’ focused on Norma McCorvey’s life. You’ve picked a person not very obvious but very central to the case. Why did you choose to present the narrative of the film from the view of Dr Bernard Nathanson?
Nick: Dr. Nathanson was a huge force behind legalizing abortion, and I think a lot of people can relate to his journey. He started off truly believing he was helping women, until the science caught up with him and he had a crisis of conscious. Its not too dissimilar from my own story.
This Is Barry: You pulled a Benjamin Button and aged backwards quite gracefully in the film. The makeup artists did a fabulous job. In general, the movie has great production value and recreated the 70s exceptionally well. The shot in the subway takes one back in time. How did you manage to accomplish this, considering you weren’t operating with super-high budgets?
Nick: Staying true to the period was incredibly important to us, even on a very minimal budget. We had an incredibly talented crew including the production designers and costume department that really made the film come to life.
This Is Barry: How was the premiere of the film in Orlando?
Nick: Premiering the film at CPAC was phenomenal. We are so limited with gatherings because of COVID, so we are incredibly grateful to have had that opportunity.
This Is Barry: What is the distribution strategy for the film? Is it going to be in the cinemas & film festivals, or will it be hitting streaming online?
Nick: The film is available on all digital platforms and cable satellite on demand April 2.
This Is Barry: What is the one thing you would like people to take away from your film?
Nick: I would love for people to walk away understanding that ultimately, we are talking about a life.
Barry is a technologist who helps start-ups build successful products. His love for movies and production has led him to write his well-received film explanation and analysis articles to help everyone appreciate the films better. He’s regularly available for a chat conversation on his website and consults on storyboarding from time to time.
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