In “Here Today”, Billy Crystal and Tiffany Haddish are trading their outgoing standup routines…for more heartfelt fare. Crystal plays Charlie Burnz, an aging comedy writer who gets diagnosed with a form of dementia. He meets Haddish, a street singer named Emma Payge with a flair for the dramatic. The two form an unlikely relationship.
The movie was also co-written by Crystal and his good friend, original “Saturday Night Live” writer Alan Zweibel. It's based on a short story, The Prize, also written by Zweibel.
“When Alan Zweibel and I started writing, he had actually had this experience that opens our relationship,” Crystal said. “He had this charity auction from hell. And I saw him tell the story on Letterman and I wrote him immediately and said, ‘Alan, this thing with the toxic shock and the seafood and the ambulance and no insurance and a charity luncheon that cost you $2300...what a great way to meet!’”
“Here Today” explores the relationships that happen when you least expect it with a person who may not outwardly seem like the right fit. Charlie and Emma get to know each other and realize they might need each other more than they originally thought.
Haddish describes their relationship as a “friendmance.”
“A friendship-romance! There’s not necessarily any romantic activity going down, but it’s so sweet. And it’s kind of romantic, their friendship, because she sees him and is like, hey I’m here for you.”
Emma helps Charlie finish one last piece of work before...as he says...his “words run out.” The two form an intimate, non sexual bond. Haddish says she’s felt that kind of closeness with people in her real life.
Crystal, who also directed the film, says it was important for him to accurately represent what it’s like for someone who is losing their words in this way. He wants audiences to know that while it is a comedy, there is also a lot of depth to this story.
“We’ll be funny, but there’s so much more to happen in this movie.”
“Here Today” is from Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Stage 6 and opens in theaters May 7.