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Death, dysfunction mined for laughs in 'This Is Where I Leave You'




Screenwriter/novel author Jonathan Tropper (L) and director Shawn Levy (R) on the set of Warner Bros. Pictures’ dramatic comedy “THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU.”
Screenwriter/novel author Jonathan Tropper (L) and director Shawn Levy (R) on the set of Warner Bros. Pictures’ dramatic comedy “THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU.”
Jessica Miglio
Screenwriter/novel author Jonathan Tropper (L) and director Shawn Levy (R) on the set of Warner Bros. Pictures’ dramatic comedy “THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU.”
A scene from the film, "This Is Where I Leave You," directed by Shawn Levy and written by Jonathan Tropper.
Warner Bros. Pictures


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The new film "This Is Where I Leave You" centers on the Altman family. When their father passes away, the family's four grown children— who've never been able to get along— return to their childhood home.

Soon after, their mother reveals that it was their father's dying wish that they all spend a week in mourning together, the Jewish tradition known as sitting shiva.

And that's when the dysfunctional family hilarity ensues:

 

The movie "This Is Where I Leave You" is based on writer Jonathan Tropper's novel of the same name. Tropper also wrote the screen adaptation, and he says adapting your own novel into a movie can often be a tricky thing to do.

"I've compared it numerous times to doing surgery on your own child. Which I think they don't recommend," Tropper says. 

But the process on this film, he says, was different. Director Shawn Levy was such a fan of the book, that he was the one who wanted to add more of the elements of the novel into the film.

"They usually worry that the novelist will be too precious with his own material as a screenwriter. And in this case it was the director telling me, 'Get that back in there!'"

"This Is Where I Leave You" opens Friday, September 19.