‘The Climb’ Director Michael Covino Explains What Inspired Tale of Friendship Tested by Adultery (Video)

Toronto Film Festival 2019: “We loved the characters we had established there, and we wanted to expand the world”

“The Climb,” written by and starring Michael Covino and Kyle Marvin and directed by Covino, centers on Kyle and Mike, best friends who share a close bond — until Mike sleeps with Kyle’s fiancée. From there the film follows their tumultuous but enduring relationship over decades of laughter, heartbreak and rage.

Real-life best friends Covino and Marvin dropped by TheWrap’s studios at the Toronto Film Festival to discuss the inspiration for their film, and explained that “The Climb” is definitely not based a true story — despite some jokes to the contrary from Covino. Watch the video above.

“It’s autobiographical. The movie’s pretty much just a true story,” the director joked before clarifying “no it’s not, at all. I have never slept with Kyle’s wife.”

“I bet he finally admitted it, I’ve been wondering,” Marvin added.

But no, the film was actually inspired by its fictional characters. Covino and Marvin made a short film that played Sundance 2018, about two friends on a bike ride during which one learns the other slept with his fiancee. The betrayed friend tries to chase after his betrayer, but can’t catch him because he’s out of shape.

That short ended up being adapted for the first scene of “The Climb.” “What we sort of ended up realizing is that we loved the characters we had established there, and we wanted to expand the world,” Covino explained. “So we… came up with this crazy idea for the feature that would follow these characters over like 12 or 13 years, as we sort of move forward in time and they keep doing these things to each other. I keep destroying his life and he keeps forgiving me.”

“The Climb” premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year where it won the Jury’s “Coup de Coeur” Award and was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics.

The project was developed, financed and produced on a fast track by Topic Studios after acquiring the original short film of the same name at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

Directed by Covino and written by Covino and Marvin, the film stars Covino, Marvin, Gayle Rankin, Talia Balsam, George Wendt, and Judith Godrèche.