Andrew Ahn on “Driveways”, Brian Dennehy, and making films about loneliness

Andrew Ahn Driveways Driveways / Andrew Ahn (photo by Janice Chung)

Welcome back to More of a Comment, Really…, a weekly interview podcast hosted by Clint Worthington! Every episode will feature interviews with actors, filmmakers, producers, and more, giving you the skinny on the latest films and TV.

One of the strange new things about our post-COVID world, especially in the realm of entertainment, is that the demise (however hopefully temporary) of the movie theaters has evened the playing field somewhat. Blockbusters have to compete with small indies and genre movies on the VOD and streaming gridiron, which is exciting in its own way. Now, intimate gems like Andrew Ahn‘s Driveways have an incredible chance to be seen by others who might not otherwise give it a look. But it’s well worth it; it might be one of the best films of the year to date.

The second film from Ahn (who made waves at Sundance in 2016 with his similarly delicate debut Spa Night), Driveways follows Kathy, played by Hong Chau, a single mother who brings her eight-year-old son Cody (Lucas Jaye) to upstate New York to help her clean and sell her late sister’s house. When she gets there, though, she finds a whole hidden life her estranged sister kept from her — a scrambled mess of hoarded boxes and loneliness. But as she works to understand her sister from beyond the grave in ways she didn’t in life, she and Cody forge a surprisingly sweet relationship with the Korean war vet next door, played by Brian Dennehy in one of his very last screen roles. 

Andrew Ahn Driveways
Hong Chau in Andrew Ahn’s “Driveways.” (Filmrise)

Ahn has a beautiful command of his camera and the tight-knit ensemble he’s created. Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen‘s screenplay tells a beautiful story about the connections we have with each other, however tenuous, and the ways they can grow and drift with the passage of time. Chau and Jaye turn in wonderful work, the former is her lustrous, pained usual self, and Jaye is a remarkably sensitive young actor who puts in impeccable work. But the specter of Dennehy’s passing lends this, his final major performance, an aching level of poignancy, a man who’d seen the world and was just beginning to recognize he was at the end of it. 

I got to speak to Andrew Ahn about working on Driveways, the adjustments you make as a sophomore filmmaker, and working with the late, great Brian Dennehy. 

(More of a Comment, Really… is a proud member of the Chicago Podcast Coop. Thanks to Overcast for sponsoring this episode!)

Driveways Trailer:

Liked it? Take a second to support The Spool on Patreon!