Playwright Stephen Karam is finally transitioning into the world of cinema after writing spectacular plays and winning multiple awards in the process. For his directorial debut, Karam will conduct a film adaptation of his Tony Award-winning play The Humans which will be the latest addition to the stellar collection of A24.
In an interview, Karam explained: “I was thinking a lot about the things that were keeping me up at night and that got me thinking about existential human fears: poverty, sickness, losing the love of someone… Was there a way to actually tell a story that might elicit some of those fears — or provide some thrills — while also talking about how human beings cope with them? And by the time I was done, I had written a family play or, as I think of it now, a family thriller.”
Starring the likes of Steven Yeun and Amy Schumer, The Humans will be based on Karam’s one-act play. Karam explores intimate personal issues as well as wide-ranging sociopolitical and economic problems by presenting the case study of Blake family at Thanksgiving. The Humans ends up becoming a strikingly effective meditation on modernity and the human condition.
Karam said: “I didn’t start The Humans by saying, ‘I’m going to write about the dying middle class.’ I think that’s a losing game, only because you can’t make people watch a play like that — at least I don’t think so — unless there are complex, multidimensional people at the center of the conflict. That’s where audiences invest, when they actually care about the struggle of the people onstage. If I get too bogged down in ideas, I don’t tend to write so well.”
Adding, “With The Humans, I originally thought the way to address the play’s big ideas was a lot noisier, with a lot more bells and whistles, but through the writing process of stripping things away, by the end, I was staring at six damaged and lovely souls, who audiences would watch be hurt and laugh and cry and love. Things become universal, and thus reverberate more precisely. It’s sort of the epic via the intimate.”
The Humans will have its theatrical release on November 24, after recently premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival. Watch the brand new trailer for The Humans below.