Griffin and Phoenix is a remake of a 1976 TV movie that starred Peter Falk and Jill Clayburgh. In the 2006 version, Dermot Mulroney and Amanda Peet take over the roles. Mulroney plays Griffin, a divorced father of two sons who learns that he has an inoperable disease and only has a year or two left to live. This news prompts him to take a university psychology course on death, where he runs into Sarah Phoenix (Amanda Peet). Realizing he has nothing left to lose, he confidently asks her out to dinner, and they embark on a relationship. As Griffin gets the chance to do some of the things he's always wanted to do, he and Phoenix grow ever closer, knowing that there's a definite end to things in sight.
While I've always liked Amanda Peet, going back to her series Jack & Jill, I've never been entirely enamored with Dermot Mulroney. But I really liked him here as Griffin, and he did well creating a likeable character without resorting to maudlin sentiment to generate sympathy. On the surface, this could have been an extremely sad and depressing movie, but the script and the actors keep it upbeat all the way to its surprisingly uplifting ending.
Director Ed Stone did a Q&A after the film:
- Photography started September 13, 2005.
- He is currently finishing work on two new scripts for studios.
- On why he chose to do this film: once he passed 40, he started having conversations about all the stuff he said he'd do someday and doing it now, and the film appealed to that because of the limited time the characters have.
- Someone asked if there was more of Sarah Paulson left on the cutting room floor, since she only appears in two scenes in the movie and doesn't have a lot of dialogue. Stone said there are five Sarah Paulson scenes, but when Stone and editor Plummy Tucker got in the editing room, they found that every time the film moved away from Griffin and Phoenix, they kept wanting to get back to them.
- On the chemistry between Mulroney and Peet, Stone said that they only met a week before the start of filming, they had one day of rehearsal and they immediately started teasing and joking with each other, and helping each other out with scenes.