Festival Updates Interview: Michael Polish of MANURE

Faith Salie interviews MANURE director Michael Polish and cast members Billy Bob Thornton, Tea Leoni, Kyle MacLachlan, Ed Helms, and writer Mark Polish in the Sundance Channel Studio. Presented by Honda, The Power of Dreams.

DIRECTOR: Michael Polish
SCREENWRITERS: Mark Polish, Michael Polish
U.S.A., 2008, 105 min., color

When a tragic accident ends the life of Mr. Rose, the genius behind Rose’s Manure Company, the livelihood of its loyal fleet of salesmen threatens to go, as they say, into the toilet. Enter estranged daughter Rosemary (Téa Leoni), a high-class-cosmetics salesgirl, who steps in to take control.

She is not sure she has a nose for the family business, but she is determined to make foul into profit. Little does she know that a ruthless, slick-talking fertilizer rep (Kyle MacLachlan) is plotting a takeover. Whether she likes it or not, she must trust her top salesman, Patrick Fitzpatrick (Billy Bob Thornton), to devise a plan to regain Rose’s rightful position on top of the heap.

The Polish brothers have created a wholly original, decidedly irreverent, yet enchantingly classic comic adventure from the 1960s. Sassy dialogue gives MANURE flair, but it is the period design with its sepia palate of painted backdrops that conjures up scaffolds and wind machines just off camera.

The Polish brothers are complete originals, and their all-star cast stylishly matches their campy hybrid hijinks. Thornton masters just the right tone, while Leoni’s nostalgic throwback performance showcases her unique brand of physical comedy. In the Polish brothers’ capable hands, Manure fills the screen with scene after scene of wonderfully rendered, pure cinematic imagination. —JOHN COOPER

Pr: Jonathan Sheldon, Michael Polish, Mark Polish Ci: M. David Mullen Ed: Cary Gries Principal Cast: Billy Bob Thornton, Téa Leoni, Kyle MacLachlan