While Emmy-winning Late Show With David Letterman EP Rob Burnett has been behind a number of TV shows such as Bonnie, Strangers With Candy and Ed, he also does double duty as a film director. This week he showed up at the Sundance Film Festival with his second feature The Fundamentals Of Caring based on Jonathan Evison’s 2012 novel.
“I said to CAA of all the books you sent me, I’d like to buy the one where the guy kills his child by mistake and takes care of a guy with muscular dystrophy, and there was just this silence on the other end of the phone for a little bit,” says Burnett about sifting through material for his second film. Nonetheless, Burnett saw something in Evison’s tome that “I thought I could make funny and inspirational”.
The trick to getting an adult drama off the ground: “Once you have Paul Rudd, you have a movie,” adds Burnett. Rudd plays the emotionally distraught caregiver Ben Benjamin and Craig Roberts plays Trevor who suffers from a rare disorder of MS. The two embark on a road trip to take in the landmarks that Trevor adores, and along the way they pick up a sassy runaway, Dot, played by Selena Gomez — another casting coup for Burnett.
The Fundamentals Of Caring is the closing night film in Park City on Friday at the Eccles Theatre with two more screenings on Saturday at the Eccles and Sunday at The Grand Theatre. Netflix snapped up the title’s SVOD rights for an estimated $7M with theatrical still available.