As the authors of Rounders, Knockaround Guys, and Ocean's Thirteen, David Levien and Brian Koppelman are known for writing about characters who are great con artists, but Solitary Man marks the first time one of them is basically conning himself. In their new film, which Koppelman wrote and they directed together, Michael Douglas plays the king of all snake-oil salesman, a used car magnate who becomes a shameless, self-destructive lothario after a doctor's visit hints at the possibility he might be dying. Always seeing all of the angles but ignoring the eventual repercussions, Douglas' character feels like the culmination of the grifters and con men the duo created in their previous films, but with the added gravitas that comes from knowing happy endings are the stuff of movies, not real life.
Cinematical sat down with Koppelman and Levien for an intimate chat about Solitary Man following a screening at the 2010 Dallas International Film Festival. In addition to talking about the origins of this particular character, they reflected on the rich history of con men they have created, and offered a few insights about the process of putting together this series of increasingly complex stories.