Popular Irish filmmaker John Carney says he did not want his show, ‘Modern Love’ show to fit into a particular category because romantic-comedy as a genre has become "a bit boring" now. Carney is back with the second season of "Modern Love", an adaptation of the New York Times column of the same name that featured everyday stories of love and romance.
"I think that once anything becomes a genre, like romantic comedy or horror comedy, it becomes a bit boring. I never wanted to fit into any of those genres, but I do think that love and romance can be very funny. I think falling down in love is funny and messing up is funny, and it's not always just tragic. It sometimes has its own humour. So I'm very open to humour but I don't try to be funny, that's the big distinction," he said.
Carney said in the 1930s and '40s, there was an influx of "lighter romances" after a long history of very melodramatic romantic stories in Hollywood.
"Hollywood, which included some very skilled writers, managed to sort of spread a little bit of comedy over that scenario with Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy and Carole Lombard movies. At that time, there were great comedians working with a romantic sort of palette. That was a beautiful genre. In the 1960s and '70s, various filmmakers kind of revisited that but I think it's gotten a bit tired," said Carney who has also directed films such as ‘Once’, ‘Sing Street’ and ‘Begin Again’.
The director said he is someone who believes that there are stories of other kinds of love that are equally worth telling on the screen and he wants his show to reflect that.
"We're very mindful to be a show about different types of things. And we really want to sort of expand that idea moving forward so that we can have episodes of brothers and sisters, parents and children, and even the love with your pets,” Carney adds.
Modern Love’ is a unique kind of show as Carney believes the series has the power to change, instead of adhering to "a path and a formula like a sitcom or a thriller".
"We can now listen to our audience and respond and we can change things. It's not because we are being nervous of our audience but since it originates with real people, it should listen to real people. There isn't a writers' room of us making up stories. We have picked up eight out of 500 stories, and we are asking, 'Let us know if there's other things that you want that you think should be included from the column.' It's a more interactive show," he said.
‘Modern Love’ is about the modern world but there are moments in the show that are critical of people's dependence on technology, a theme that Carney wanted to explore. According to the director, mobile screens and phones have taken "something magical out of romance".
"Intimacy is bizarrely falling lower than it ever has been. One of the many reasons is the fact that we're remotely connecting with people and getting things that we need from so many different sources now. Romance and intimacy is necessarily not the number one priority for human beings, as much as it used to be. I'm sure mobile devices, screens, connectivity, social media and dating apps are having some effect on things. I can't imagine personally what it would be like to be dating now or trying to find romance now," he said.
The process of falling in love was much simpler in earlier days, he added. "It was person meets person. Person flirts, person responds. There was something very natural. You go to the movies and share popcorn, or you go for a walk down the prom. Now that is all up. I do sometimes look at younger people that I know from my family or extended family, and I see them baffled with just that. And I wonder what the quality of the stories in 'Modern Love' will be like moving forward into this increasingly more virtual age," the director said.
The second season the show features an ensemble cast of Kit Harington, Minnie Driver, Lucy Boynton, Tom Burke, Zoe Chao, Grace Edwards, Dominique Fishback, Garrett Hedlund, Tobias Menzies, Sophie Okonedo, Zane Pais, Anna Paquin, Isaac Powell, Marquis Rodriguez, and Lulu Wilson.
The new season will premiere on Amazon Prime Video on Friday.