In “American Dreamer,” Jim Gaffigan plays a struggling rideshare driver who gets roped up in a bad situation because he’s trying to provide for his family. And the actor says the movie speaks a lot about society and the American Dream.
“I play a rideshare driver, a guy who is down on his luck, is not doing well even in the rideshare game, so he ends up driving around a drug dealer and then there are a lot of questionable bad decisions,” Gaffigan told TheWrap’s Beatrice Verhoeven.
It’s about “capitalism, the gig economy — is it realistic? His approach to fixing things is a very kind of a quick fix, American kind of thing,” he added. “He thinks he’s entitled for things and doesn’t want to take accountability for things. I think every man struggles with that because we’re gorillas — we’re just animals. I think women know how to be civilized and men are just pretending.”
“American Dreamer” was written and directed by Derrick Borte and also stars Robbie Jones, Isabel Arraiza and Tammy Blanchard. One decision changes Cam’s night — and life — forever, and without giving too much away, there’s a scene in which Gaffigan’s character gets violent with a woman sitting in the back of his car: a scene that Gaffigan and the crew had to very mindful of.
“There is a scene where Isabel, who is playing the role of Marina, is in the backseat and I grab her in a very violent way… and it was difficult for different reasons,” he explained. “Even though it’s acting, you are creating trauma on someone and so no matter how much you talk about it and talk about it afterward and she’s mentally prepared, it’s still a piece of violence that you’re creating.”
While working on this project that first debuted last September at the Los Angeles Film Festival, Gaffigan learned a lot. But most of all, he got a taste of what it’s like to be a rideshare driver, and that they often don’t get treated in the best way by their passengers.
“Treating someone with compassion, it costs you nothing,” he said. “That set something up very early about this gig economy: this person driving an Uber or a Lyft has dreams. Maybe they don’t want to talk but maybe it would be nice to greet them with some warmth.”
“American Dreamer” is available in select theaters, OnDemand & iTunes on Friday.
Watch the video above.