The Hippo


Aug 14, 2018








Tyler Spindel (left) with Father of the Year star Nat Faxon (right). Courtesy photo.

From NH to Netflix
Tyler Spindel talks new film, Father of the Year


 By Angie Sykeny  
Manchester native Tyler Spindel has made it big with his new movie Father of the Year, which he directed, and co-wrote with his high school friend Brandon Cournoyer. The movie, a comedy starring David Spade, premiered on Netflix on July 20. While in Italy, working as a second unit director on a new film by the same production company, Spindel took some time to talk with the Hippo about his filmmaking success. 
How does one get a movie on Netflix? 
While growing up in Manchester, I started out shooting YouTube sketches, and after high school I started doing stand-up and writing and acting, a lot for TV and commercials. Then I kind of fell into directing. … My uncle [Adam Sandler] is in the business, and I sent him the script [for Father of the Year]. He thought it would be good for Netflix and sent it to them. They liked it, and the next thing you know we were shooting. It was crazy. 
What is Father of the Year about? 
Two buddies’ drunken debate about whose father would win in a fight is taken seriously by one of their fathers, and things go bad. … It’s basically a coming-of-age story about two recent college graduates who are spending a few weeks at home before they move to New York and come to grips with who their fathers really are, and they start to see the world with adult eyes. 
What inspired you to write this film? 
Me and Brandon used to talk, when we were at Manchester Central High School, about whose dad would win in a fight. We would talk about it for hours. Then, we started thinking, what would happen if they actually did fight? We thought that would be a funny idea for a movie. 
Does New Hampshire play a part in the film? 
The movie is set in New Hampshire. [The characters] come back to New Hampshire after college while they try to figure out what to do in life. There are a lot of 603 references, like Webster School and Bunny’s Superette, a lot of New Hampshire signage, 603 T shirts, and we tried to make David Spade a New Hampshire kind of guy. … We love New Hampshire. We grew up there, and it was such a big part of our lives, so we wanted to show it off in a cool light and give the 603 the respect it deserves. 
How did you get David Spade to star in the film? 
I’m the biggest David Spade fan in the world. When we wrote the film we always thought about casting him but never thought we’d actually get him. Still, we sent him the script, and he liked it. I remember when he called me for the first time, and it was so weird, and I didn’t know what to do. I was just praying that I wouldn’t say anything stupid. 
What was it like working with him? 
We just laughed the whole time. He makes your film look good because everything he says is funny, and he makes everything funnier. You don’t have to explain things to him; he just gets the beats of the joke. … He’s so easygoing and down to do anything. We have a lot of crazy stunts, and he even has to show his butt a couple times, but he’s such a champ, and he did it all. 
What’s next for you? 
The film I’m directing for right now is called Murder Mystery. It’s another Netflix movie, and it has Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. I’m also working on the script for another movie and trying to get that off the ground. 
Any advice for aspiring New Hampshire filmmakers? 
Keep working at it. If you want to write and direct, you have to keep writing and rewriting. Maybe [you produce] your first script, or maybe your 15th, but you have to keep at it. At least in my experience, persistence pays off. 


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