Peretz’s “Our Idiot Brother” based on a Franciscan Monk

Zooey Deschanel , Paul Rudd, Jesse Peretz, Elizabeth Banks and Emily Mortimer go over a scene from Our idiot Brother

​It’s hard to believe that the inspiration for Ned, Paul Rudd’s bro-ish, slackerish, marijuana-loving title character in Our Idiot Brother, came from a Franciscan monk. But to hear director Jesse Peretz talk about the real-life Ned, it was more about the monk’s gentle nature and love for people than it was about his laid-back personality.

“It’s like Paul in the film, he had that long beard and long hair, and he was wearing a long Franciscan robe,” Peretz says of his experience meeting the monk, a former medicinal marijuana farmer who ran into a bit of legal trouble before joining the Franciscans. “I had never met anyone so devoid of judgment, who was just all-around positive about everything. I fell totally in love with him.”

Peretz had for years been trying to develop another film with his friend Rudd, and while the Franciscan created the spark for Ned, the role is, in fact, amalgamation of several projects had fallen by the wayside. “One was a guy who built green roofs in the city,” Peretz says, laughing.

The film, in wide release today, follows the exploits of Ned, a farmer whose trusting nature lands him in legal trouble (sound familiar?), and he eventually moves in with each of his sisters (each, in her own way, a neurotic New Yorker) to get back on his feet.

“In very simple terms, it’s part of the fish-out-of-water story with this super trusting and non-judgmental guy thrown in the lives of a bunch of New Yorkers, who live in basically the cynicism capital of the world,” Peretz says. [more]


Houston Press