Movie Review/Interview: Dir. Lenny Abrahamson On ‘Frank,’ Michael Fassbender & Music


Preston Barta // Editor

FRANK | 95 min. | Rated R | Director: Lenny Abrahamson | Stars: Domhnall Gleeson, Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal, François Civil and Scoot McNairy

Filmmaker Lenny Abrahamson and Frank attend the FRANK Premiere after party hosted by DIRECTV.

Filmmaker Lenny Abrahamson and Frank attend the FRANK Premiere after party hosted by DIRECTV.

Based on late British comedian Chris Sievey‘s iconic comedy character Frank Sidebottom, FRANK is one of the single most downright wacky and deranged films that you will ever come across. However, it’s a terrific character-driven piece about music and collaboration.

The offbeat comedy stars Domhnall Gleeson (HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PT. 1 & 2), who plays Jon, a wannabe musician who finds himself out of his depth when he joins a pop band headed by the enigmatic Frank (an excellent Michael Fassbender).

We sat down with the director of FRANK, Lenny Abrahamson (GARAGE, 2007), at the InterContinental Hotel in Austin, where the film had its regional premiere at the South by Southwest film festival back in March. We talked about how social media changed the film industry, discovering Fassbender’s voice as the title character and teaching college courses.

How social media changed the film industry

The origin of Michael Fassbender’s voice in FRANK

How music influenced the story

Comparing the tone of FRANK to FXX’s WILFRED (apologies for the sirens)

If he could teach a college course

FRANK opens today.

About author

Preston Barta

Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.