Opening in theaters on May 31st is the new family drama ‘Ezra,’ which was directed by actor Tony Goldwyn (‘King Richard’). The film stars Bobby Cannavale (‘The Irishman’), Rose Byrne (‘X-Men: First Class’), Vera Farmiga (‘The Departed’), Whoopi Goldberg (‘Ghost’), Rainn Wilson (‘The Meg’), Robert De Niro (‘Killers of the Flower Moon’), and newcomer William Fitzgerald as Ezra.

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Bobby Cannavale Talks 'Ezra'.

Bobby Cannavale Talks 'Ezra'.

Moviefone recently had the pleasure of speaking with Bobby Cannavale about his work on 'Ezra', his first reaction to the screenplay, his character, working with William Fitzgerald and playing a stand-up comic on screen.

You can read the full interview below or click on the video player above to watch our interviews with Cannavale, Rose Byrne and director Tony Goldwyn.

William A. Fitzgerald and Bobby Cannavale in Bleecker Street's 'Ezra'.

(L to R) William A. Fitzgerald and Bobby Cannavale in Bleecker Street's 'Ezra'. Credit: Bleecker Street.

Moviefone: To begin with, what was your first reaction to the screenplay and what were some of the aspects of this character that you were excited to explore on screen?

Bobby Cannavale: I loved the script. First, it was sent to me by Tony Goldwyn, who I've been friends with for a while. We'd been wanting to do something together. He gave me the whole backstory of (screenwriter) Tony Spiridakis being his best friend, and how he has an autistic son. So, I knew that going in, reading the script, and it did add a weight to it. I just thought it was well-crafted, well written, and I was just very moved by it. I still get moved thinking about the actual first time that I read that script. I was really taken aback by it. I have three sons of my own and that feeling of going to the bat for your child and doing whatever it takes to get them to be seen the way they need to be seen, is something that's intimate for me. So, I was excited to take on the role. I liked the idea of playing somebody that was so reactive and how I could make that character yet still have some kind of empathic quality to him. Sometimes, that's hard to accomplish, somebody who is that reactive and at times violent, for instance. But if his heart is in the right place and he's doing it for the right reasons, sometimes you can get people on board with that. I thought that would be an interesting problem to solve and so I did. I just enjoyed it, and I enjoyed the idea of finding a neurodiverse actor to work with. We looked for a long time. We saw so many kids. I really appreciated that experience and getting to know William and his family and the journey that they're on.

Bobby Cannavale in Bleecker Street's 'Ezra'.

Bobby Cannavale in Bleecker Street's 'Ezra'. Credit: Bleecker Street.

MF: Finally, can you talk about your approach to portraying a stand-up comedian in this film? Did you go to any comedy clubs and get on stage to get a feel for it?

BC: I didn't go up on stage. I've got a lot of stand-up comedian friends. For some reason, I just have a lot of comic friends. I have for many years, some very well-known, others not. So, I've spent a lot of time in comedy clubs. But more to the point, I've spent a lot of time with these guys and some women. What's always fascinating to me, it's not so much the joke, it's the process of them coming up with their material. I've been in a car with stand-ups who have the yellow legal pad there, and I'm looking at it. I'm like, "What's this joke?” I've had comics say to me, "I'm not really going for the joke tonight. I just want to sort of play around in that neighborhood and see what kind of a reaction it gets." I find that fascinating, the putting together of an act. This guy is clearly going through something on stage, the only place where he could really be himself and really speak plainly and speak his mind. There's that scene. We have a scene with the other comics where they're saying, "The point of comedy is to be funny." And he says, "I'm not doing that. I'm telling stories up there." That resonated very much with me because I do know comics who work like that. I've gone to see comics who are very funny, not be funny because they're looking for something. I thought that's something that was very attractive to me, to see somebody in process, trying to put this act together while at the same time trying to work out whatever demons he was trying to work through.


"To do right by his son, one dad will go the distance."
R1 hr 40 minMay 31st, 2024
Showtimes & Tickets

What is the plot of ‘Ezra’?

Max Brandel (Bobby Cannavale), a stand-up comedian living with his father, Stan (Robert De Niro), struggles to co-parent his autistic son Ezra (William Fitzgerald) with his ex-wife, Jenna (Rose Byrne). When faced with difficult decisions about their son’s future, Max and Ezra set out on a cross-country road trip.

Who is in the cast of ‘Ezra’?

  • Bobby Cannavale as Max Brandel
  • Robert De Niro as Stan
  • Rose Byrne as Jenna
  • William Fitzgerald as Ezra
  • Vera Farmiga as Grace
  • Whoopi Goldberg as Jayne
  • Rainn Wilson as Nick
  • Tony Goldwyn as Bruce

Robert De Niro, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, and William A. Fitzgerald in Bleecker Street's 'Ezra'.

(L to R) Robert De Niro, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, and William A. Fitzgerald in Bleecker Street's 'Ezra'. Credit: Bleecker Street.

Other Bobby Cannavale Movies:

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