The Movie Waffler Waffling With SECOND NATURE Director Michael Cross | The Movie Waffler

Waffling With SECOND NATURE Director Michael Cross

michael cross
Director Michael Cross discusses his gender swap comedy.

Gender behaviour is flipped when magic dusts over Sam Huntington (Sully, Superman Returns) and Collette Wolf (Hot Tub Time Machine, Interstellar) in the hilarious new comedy Second Nature. We spoke to writer-director Michael Cross about what’s unarguably one of the funnest new releases of September.

Do you have to be a fan of comedies – particularly these types of comedies – to direct one?

I love comedies. Comedy done well is a difficult thing to accomplish… I took on a major challenge by co-writing a comedy for my first feature!

And what about the body-switching subgenre? Were they films you were a fan of?

Second Nature isn’t really a ‘body swapping’ movie. That’s what makes this film so unique – it flips the entire world around the two main characters. A magic mirror grants Amanda’s wish that women and men could switch places for a change. For me, grandma’s old mirror was the perfect portal of entry into the “flipped” world. Because on the “other side” of the mirror, everything is the same except backwards. And in a sense, the mirror lets us see our ourselves in our own world more clearly.

Which of those would you say Second Nature is closest to?

You might say Second Nature is in the lines of Bridesmaids meets Freaky Friday.

It’s the genre you just can’t kill! Why do you think that is?

I think most people at a core level love the escapism in seeing a film, and that laughter possesses a universal positive energy. Comedy is so subjective, but in general I think it’s a mistake to try to make every scene funny. If you’re presenting nonstop jokes, it’s an opportunity missed, preventing your audience the chance to feel the weight of your story.

Have your favourite comedies influenced the kind of movies you like to do?

Absolutely. If you pay close attention you’ll see homages to Tootsie and Back to the Future. But the comedy in Second Nature is rooted in truth, which is where most of the humour comes from. It’s really the movie I’ve always wanted to see.

Do you feel it’s a little unfair that the big award shows don’t recognise fun films like this more?

Well, there’s so much content being produced nowadays, both studio and independent, it makes sense that not every film can be an Oscar contender. But the film festival circuit is a fun and effective way to get your film out into the world. The World Premiere of Second Nature took place at the Napa Valley Film Festival. This was during the week of the 2016 general election in early November. The results of the election really changed the political context in this country so much that Second Nature suddenly played like a very different film, in a much more relevant way than anyone expected. Second Nature also headlined the 2017 New Jersey International Film Festival as their opening night film.

Is the genre in a healthy place at the moment?

I think comedies are always going to be in high demand. Life is dramatic enough already – laughter is the best form of escapism!

They say ‘TV is where it's at’ at the moment, do you agree?

I agree that with the flood of television content, there’s been a ton of really excellent shows, more than ever before. Of course there’s also a lot of really terrible crap to sift through to find it.

Would you like to explore television?

As more and more video-on-demand options become available, I think the traditional hard line between film and television is blurring. If telling my next story is best done through a series, I’ll be likely to find a larger audience (even if it’s a niche one) online, as box office revenues continue to decline.

Box office receipts are down – do you think that’s because of all the great television, or increased theatre prices? Or maybe something else?

Probably a little of both – but I also think that audiences are wanting to stay home more and more as the United States continues to divide and polarise itself. I think we need more films that bring people together and celebrate what we all share in common.

Tell readers why they need to seek out your film! What will they get from it?

When you see Second Nature you’ll be seeing a movie that has never been attempted before. Many movies have flipped one or two characters, which usually results in placing a man in a dress. Second Nature flips the entire world, so that women behave like men and vice versa. It is a way of looking at ourselves more clearly. Through the comedy we are also able to understand better what it’s like walking in someone else’s shoes.

Second Nature’s limited US theatrical release begins September 8th in Seattle, and on video worldwide (iTunes, Amazon, Google, DVD, Blu-ray + more) starting September 19th.