Interview with Jeffrey Blitz
Where did the idea for Lucky come from?
I got an e-mail from a woman in New York who had been doing research on this.� At�the time, a lot of people were pitching me a lot of different ideas and nothing was quite sticking.� And this seemed immediately to be exactly the right thing for me. I guess in retrospect it felt like it was a good companion piece to 'Spellbound' which is a movie about kids who work really hard towards some kind of obscure goal. Lucky for me is the opposite. It's about people who don't workhard at all towards this kind of massive goal.� So I thought you could get two sides of the American dream like that.�
The film suggests that the lottery can tell us a lot about America. Can you expand on that?�
I think most people think the American dream is the dream where there's a level playing field and if you work hard you can achieve anything. And that it's all predicated on your own hard work and that what happens to you is completely your own responsibility, ultimately. That's one myth of America. The other myth that I think has just as much currency to it, but people don't like to cop to, is this idea that it's the land of the lucky. And that you can strike it rich without having to work hard for it. And I think that's something that we actually take pride in, even if we don't like to talk about it. And these things seem like they're in conflict. You know, you feel like it can't be both a place where it's all about the luck of the draw, but at the same time it's all about hard work. And I feel like these two myths in our culture jockey for what's in control.
We live in a culture where we keep hearing that it's all about picking yourself up by your bootstraps, which to me feels like a pretty na�ve way to think about the world. I just think that there's good luck and bad luck, and people with resources have the ability to grapple with that better than people without resources. But it seems like there's a healthy way to acknowledge both the role of work and luck in America.
And I think with lottery winners, they think they're getting one story of their futures, of their lives when they win, and very quickly they learn that actually someone's written a completely different story for them and they have to try to fight to figure out what parts of the fantasy story they can bring over into the actual story as it's playing out.