Wrong in all the right ways

Banff-shot romantic comedy The Right Kind of Wrong maintains a quirky playful tone

If we could summarize film adaptations of books in a single word it’d be this: complicated. But vet director Jeremiah Chechik who brings Tim Sandlin’s quirky 2011 paperback Sex and Sunsets to the silver screen isn’t feeling the pressure of re-creating the original text. His new rom-com The Right Kind of Wrong isn’t a tribute homage or literal interpretation of Sandlin’s novel — it’s a film.

“I’ve known Tim for such a long time and he’s been the wind in our sails. He’s been in on the loop for so many things and all the versions of the scripts and the drafts. He was just like ‘This is great! I’m so excited — it’s my movie!’” says Chechik. “He understands the difference between a book and a movie. A book will be told more literarily; a movie will be more objective. [When it comes to adapting literature] you want to be true to its characters’ quirks to the tone to the personality of the book.”

Maintaining Sex and Sunsets ’ essence was crucial because The Right Kind of Wrong twists Sandlin’s plot in different directions. While the novel was written in 1991 the film is decidedly 2013: Loserly writer Leo ( True Blood ’s Ryan Kwanten in a scruffier role) divorces his wife and gets shamed publicly in a blog called “Why You Suck.” After proving his cunnilingus skills to every girl in town he falls for a married — if slightly rebellious — tour guide named Colette (played by Sara Canning who attempts to balance blondness with badassery).

The biggest change however is in locale. While Sunsets took place in Wyoming The Right Kind of Wrong settles down in more familiar locales: Banff. The town and Canmore become silent characters in the film and that says Chechik was a conscious decision.

“You want an audience to understand the cultural references in a movie so it felt like a natural to create the story in a world of blogging and humiliation” says Chechik. “Those tropes were easy to address.

“But Alberta — it was very much a central character in the film. It plays a big role in framing the movie with its beauty its evocativeness. A landscape can play as a counterpoint or enhance a movie. The book was originally set in a fictitious mountain town called Mount Yellow so we wanted to find the most beautiful town in the universe. We wanted to add a tremendously mythic quality to the movie. And Banff… well everything pales in comparison.”

That isn’t to say that The Right Kind of Wrong is an Alberta movie but there’s no question that its rugged backdrop shaped the plot: Leo for one is terrified of heights which makes Banff’s rocky crags loom even larger. Colette’s a rebellious near granola tour guide a counterpoint to her chiseled husband (played by Ryan McPartlin who does his best impression of a snivelly oil heir).

So while the film isn’t essentially about Alberta — the film’s setting aside from being visually omnipresent is never named — the province looms large. Chechik says he and the film’s actors (who Chechik interjects had “phenomenal chemistry”) — spent weekends exploring the nearby locales while filming and they all came away impressed.

“I hadn’t spent any time in Calgary before but I was blown away by how cool it was how great the food was and how amazing it was biking along the river” says Chechik. “We didn’t want to leave it was so great. We spent the summer and fall driving around Canmore Banff Fortress — it was all magical. So yes the film was very much a love letter to Alberta.”