Sean Anders, screenwriter and director of hits such as Horrible Bosses 2 and both Daddy’s Home movies, was inspired to create Instant Family based off of his own personal experience with the foster care system, which also led to him eventually adopting three kids.
Instant Family follows couple Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie’s (Rose Byrne) journey throughout the highs and lows of bringing three foster care children into their home.
In an interview with Third Coast Review, Anders explained the film, “Emotionally, it’s all dead on. But the story is a fictional tale that is the combined experiences of my own and these other families I met along the way.”
Anders and his wife really went to an adoption fair like the movie portrayed but was not able to take in a teenager. Several families who have adopted teenage girls were interviewed to integrate that perspective into the film.
The storyline strikes a good balance between humor and emotion.
Anders continued, “The reality of the situation, when kids are coming into your home and they don’t know you and you don’t know them, and they don’t love you and you don’t love them, and you’re trying to pretend you’re this family that you’re really not yet, it is an awkward, chaotic, frustrating, bizarre situation for everybody involved.”
However, through time, patience, and perseverance, you become a real family.
In an interview with Boston Herald, Mark Wahlberg discussed his thoughts on the film.
“I committed before I saw the script. It was due to an encounter I had at an adoption fair in Boston in Fenway Park. I came to give the kids a boost, and I spoke with a 14-year-old boy. He was, ‘Nobody’s going to adopt me but I’m excited about my future’ and I’m, ‘Whoa!’ Being a dad, I couldn’t help but be emotional. So I wanted to do this right away."
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Rose Byrne explained why she wanted to be a part of this story.
“I’d just had a baby, so I was super emotional. [Laughs] I read the script and was just sobbing. It was so moving and heartbreaking. I’d never seen anything or read anything like it. I jumped right in. [Through this experience], I met incredible families and social workers and kids who’d been in the system. I don’t even know where to begin. To have seen the inspirational side of this, in terms of what can be achieved and what can be done, and to be part of the movie — it’s about trying to bring joy to these kids and lose the stigma of being a foster kid.”
Anders described that the main takeaway from the movie is to change people’s perspectives on the foster care system.
“I feel like there are a lot of stereotypes with foster care that are not true at all. People think that kids who grew up in the system are so messed up and have all of these issues, but really there are a lot of great kids that don’t have the support of a family or have a way to carry out what they want to do. I hope that people see that there are all of these great kids with all of this amazing potential and want to help them.”
Watch the trailer for Instant Family below and be sure to check it out in theaters everywhere.