What IS fatherhood all about? Director Ken Scott set out to explore this idea, and ended up making a comedy about a man with 533 children... as you do.
French Canadian rom-com 'Starbuck' tells the story of David Wozniack, a perpetual teenager whose girlfriend's pregnancy makes him fear he isn't mature enough to a father. Strange then that his earlier days as an anonymous sperm donor have made him the biological father to that ridiculous number of children, some of whom are coming to find him.
Patrick Huard stars as David Wozniack, the unknowing father to many
The film has been well received, including audience awards at festivals, and is now slated for a US remake starring Vince Vaughn. Director Scott, a Canadian filmmaker with three children himself and "surrounded by fathers", admitted he wanted some comedy in there "so we really exaggerated the situation". You don't say?
"We decided on 150 initially, and each day, we were thinking, 'Is this too much?' And then while we were writing, it came out in the papers that there was a guy with 250 kids, and then a man in England with 500 that were biologically his. So our story suddenly became more credible."
But, between the comic horrors of so many children in one place, Scott says he's interested in asking serious questions about the changing nature of paternity in a modern world, where the old-fashioned model of dad-at-work has long since been swallowed up...
"In Quebec at least, it's changed so much in the last decade or so. Fathers want to be there now, they take paternity leave, they stay at home. Fatherhood itself has changed, I'm sure."
One of those changes is the whole minefield of anonymous sperm donation, something Scott now knows far more about than he would have imagined...
"It feels a bit like the wild west out there. I read in the New York Times that there are more rules for buying a used car than when you buy sperm.
"Lots of moral questions will have to catch up with the science on offer these days. We can create life, and with that comes responsibility."
What's his own opinion on donating sperm, after all this research?
"One thing I realised as I was working was that opinion has changed in the last 20 years. If I was 18 or 20, you have a different perception of the consequences. Now that I have children, I would not want one of my kids to be out there, and not know him. I feel there's a real link with my kids, because I've been part of creating. But you don't think about any of that when you're a teenager looking for a quick way to make a few bucks."
Starbuck is in UK cinemas from Friday. Watch the trailer below...
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