The Family Plan Director Reveals How Mark Wahlberg & Michelle Monaghan Changed the Movie for the Better (Exclusive)

By Russ Milheim Posted:
The Family Plan, Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Monaghan

The stars of the new film, The Family Plan, helped improve the movie.

The new Apple TV+ film directed by Simon Cellan Jones follows Dan Morgan, a family man happily living a suburban life—only to find everything flipped upside-down in a second when the secrets of his past life come knocking. 

This forces Dan to take his family on a cross-country road trip, though none of them know the true reason for his sudden adventure.

Filmmaking is a fluid process. While the script is written and production planned ahead of time, sometimes a key element falls into place the day of.

Mark Wahlberg & Michelle Monaghan's Special Skills

Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Monaghan in The Family Plan
Apple TV+

In an exclusive interview with The Direct’s Russ Milheim, The Family Plan director Simon Cellan Jones discussed how stars Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Monaghan bettered the new Apple TV+ movie.

The topic arose when Jones was asked how different the final product was from the original script. In response, the director shared that “[it’s] not very different,” and one of the only differences is how they “gave the actors a little bit of leeway… to improvise:”

“No, not very different. David Coggeshall wrote the script. And it was an original script. And it was his idea. And the script survives, basically. The only difference was that we gave the actors a little bit of leeway, or as much leeway as they wanted really, to improvise and try different things.”

This special ingredient is something that “Mark Wahlberg [and] also Michelle [Monaghan] are very good at:”

“And this is something that particularly Mark Wahlberg [and] also Michelle [Monaghan] are very good at. And it gave us a real little extra secret weapon for the movie that each scene, sometimes, a little something different, something funny, something came up, that surprised us all, and made it into the movie.”

Mark Wahlberg in The Family Plan
Apple TV+

When it comes to The Family Plan, in terms of making the project as unique as possible, the director made it clear how he felt it important that there is a “normal family at the core” of the otherwise “high-concept” film:

“I think, basically, what I wanted to do is to have a real kind of normal family at the core of it. It's a heightened story. It's, it's action, it's comedy. The premise is quite a high-concept. But as much as possible, I wanted just a little portion of the film to be completely believable and, grounded, and real. So people can see themselves in their own families in the characters.”

As for what other movies would best describe The Family Plan, the director pitched it as The Incredibles meets The Bourne Identity:”

 “Well, I'm hoping that we didn't base it on other movies. But you could sort of pitch it as 'The Incredibles' meets 'The Bourne Identity'... I was telling somebody else I love a film called 'Fantastic, Mr. Fox', which is a film about a family or several families. But I do think that all family films get the family, right, and then everything else will follow.”

How Wahlberg & Monaghan's Charm Adds to The Family Plan

It was a great choice to let the actors play around and discover those magical moments that can't be planned.

Mark Wahlberg has long been known for his improv abilities and ability to offer up witty and snappy retorts in projects. Judging by her performance in The Family Plan, Michelle Monaghan is also perfectly adept at it.

While the world is still waiting for The Family Plan to debut, having seen the movie, The Direct can confirm that the leading duo and the rest of the core cast are more than entertaining across the film's runtime. The Morgans' family dynamic is easily one of the stronger aspects of the film.

The Family Plan hits Apple TV+ on Friday, December 15.

- In This Article: The Family Plan
Release Date
December 15, 2023
Maggie Q
Mark Wahlberg
Michelle Monaghan
- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.