‘Problemista’ Interview: Writer, Director, And Star Julio Torres Perfected The Cinematic Apology In His First Feature

Julio Torres is known for putting celebrities in surreal situations through his work as a writer on Saturday Night Live. He had Ryan Gosling stalk James Cameron for the Avatar font in the hit short, “Papyrus”. In “The Sink”, Emily Blunt voiced an overly pretentious sink contemplating its existence in an everyday bathroom. Torres’ crowning achievement at the long-standing comedy show though was “Wells for Boys”, a fake Fisher Price ad starring Emma Stone in which her fictional son would rather stare into a well and wait for his adulthood than interact with other children. His comedy always contains hubris, humanity, and an unusual attention to the hilarity that lies between the lines.

After an HBO stand-up special and a Spanish-language supernatural comedy show, Torres is back this time adding “director” to his long list of titles. Problemista stars Torres as a young out-of-work aspiring toy inventor who must jump through hoops in order to obtain a visa to stay in the United States. His saving grace comes in the form of Elizabeth, an art critic who loves to yell and is hellbent on preserving her cryogenically alive husband’s work. She might just be the ticket to save Torres’ character if her hydra-like and combative demeanor doesn’t destroy him first.

I sat down with the quadruple threat when he was in town for his comedy tour to chat about the film. In our time together, he talks about working with Tilda Swinton to develop her character’s look, why it was time for him to direct, and how Big Little Lies helped him write the perfect apology.

Check out my interview below. Problemista is in theaters now.

A D.C area native, Cortland has been interested in media since birth. Taking film classes in high school and watching the classics with family instilled a love of film in Cortland’s formative years. Before graduating with a degree in English and minoring in Film Study from Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, Cortland ran the college’s radio station, where she frequently reviewed films on air. She then wrote for another D.C area publication before landing at Punch Drunk Critics. Aside from writing and interviewing, she enjoys podcasts, knitting, and talking about representation in media.