"Everyone Has a Marathon": Jiliian Bell and Paul Downs Colaizzo on Brittany Runs a Marathon

In her new movie, Jillian Bell's character changes her life one city block at a time.

August 26, 2019
Andrea Duffy with Jillian Bell and Paul Downs Colaizzo of Brittany Runs a Marathon

Chris Trinh / B101 staff


They kept reminding me this movie is funny.

And it is! Brittany Runs a Marathon,  the new movie starring Jillian Bell (Workaholics, 22 Jump Street) and written and directed by Paul Downs Colaizzo, is a comedy about a woman who decides to run the New York City Marathon--despite the fact that she's never run a day in her life. They'd want me to remind you that it is a very funny movie, because while I was interviewing them I kept coming back to what ELSE it is.

Brittany Runs a Marathon is a raw, often times unflinching look at what life looks like when you let someone else's idea of you dictate how you feel about yourself. It was awarded the Audience Award at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Jillian Bell, in her first starring role and a more dramatic one than we're used to seeing her in, is absolutely amazing as Brittany. We talked about relating to a character who's in such a self loathing place, and the struggle of reshaping not just your body but your idea of yourself.

Colaizzo said "the third act is the conversation you have in the car on the way home," meaning the conversations audience members have had with them about the movie, and with each other. The friend I saw an advanced screening with and I definitely had a different conversation about the movie--and body image, weight loss, food, doctors, exercise--than we'd ever had before. And it definitely made me have some conversations with myself that I didn't expect to have (for example I 100% did NOT skip crossfit the next day). 

And oh yeah it's funny. 

Listen to the full interview below!

I would like to add a content warning for the movie, if you see it, for some fatphobia and food issues. I didn't get the time to talk to Jillian and Paul in this interview so they were not able to adress this, and while it can be uncomfortable for people who experience these things, I found the movie portrayed them as straightfoward facts of living in certain bodies.