0 12 min 9 yrs

patrick brice

On today’s INTERVUE, our guest explores the theme of trust in his upcoming film The Overnight as a new couple get invited to dinner and experience of night of debauchery they will never forget. Join me as I talk to the writer/director of the film, Patrick Brice!

Patrick, you directed your first film Creep with Mark Duplass not too long ago, how did the idea of The Overnight come to fruition?

Well, as you said Mark and I have made this movie called Creep, which the post-production process took about a year because this was a movie that end up getting picked up by Jason Blum from Blumhouse and we end up doing a series of reshoots to kind of refining the film. When we first finished it, it was more like a dark comedy. By the time we finished production on it, it ended up being like a horror film. It was kind of a long arduous process making the movie and I needed another project.

Mark proposed to me that you want to make a small film with a set budget; I’ll produce it for you. So, the initial genesis of The Overnight came out of those conversations with Mark. I was trying to figure out what movie takes place in a house with only four characters. Once we had this general idea of the movie being about these two couples having this night together. There’s this one couple being new to the city. They are slow realizing that this other couple may or may not have the best intentions with them. This idea comes along the lines of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? & Adventures in Babysitting. These are films that take you on a journey almost in real time with the characters within a full day. I wrote the script in 2012.

The cast of Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman, Judith & Adam Scott delivers stellar performances in this movie. I had a good time watching them. How did you get the four actors commit to the film?

It was really exciting to have all these people who I have been watching for years. Rushmore was one of my favorite films growing up. I am a huge fan of the Party Down series. I love Adam in that. I love Judith’s film L’Auberge Espagnole and I am a big Orange is the New Black fan, too. So at this point, it was a dream having all these people read the script and responds to it by saying, “Yes”. You know, as a young director, its usually validating experience to have these actors respond to the material. It was all I needed, confidence-wise, going into the movie.

You went from Creep, a script that was completely improvised to The Overnight that you’re dealing with a script to follow. What was the transition like and did you give your actors any leeway since you have the comedic talents of Jason Schwartzman and Adam Scott?

Making a film that was completely improvised creates a huge challenge in terms of forcing you to be nimble that you’re activating parts of your brain at the same time while you’re doing it. So, having a set script like with The Overnight has made things easier. Then, having these performers who know not only how to improvise but how to bring the written word to life that it was so much fun to play with. There is improvisation in the film but it kind of weaves itself in and out to what’s already on the page.

Basically, I wanted to achieve a real feeling of naturalism of this movie. I personally talked to each of the actors before we started shooting about that and how would we specifically achieve that. For me, it was just letting them know that the script is there as anchor and we’re going to follow it. However, if something feels emotionally more performance wise, you know feel free to go there. If it doesn’t work, we’ll try it again. If it works, then we’ll have this moment of magic on screen. It felt like a group of friends getting together and making something.

I noticed that there was an underlying theme of relationships between your two films. Can you elaborate on this theme?

I feel that there is a theme and the thorough line of trust going on in both of these movies. I think one of the universal themes that I was playing off is that you meet people everyday and you don’t really know what these people’s true intentions are despite what type of face they are putting on or how they are presenting themselves. It creates that situation that gets played out in a much more sinister way.

In kind of a more intimate way, Creep was a film in which the entire film was these two characters, my character and Mark’s character. So, there’s a real claustrophobic feel to it. With The Overnight, I wanted to play on that type of tension of could these people have dark intentions or not. Ultimately, I was wanted to show the sweetness above this underlying stuff. I thought that was the way to engage audiences, to make you feel that you’re going on this ride where the joy of the film is to discovery each character’s intention and each character’s reaction to that.

I can really see that especially with social media like Facebook where you can the person’s pictures and feel that they are a nice wonderful person, never knowing that they could have bad intentions like a psychopath.

Right, with The Overnight, what was fun about that was not only you have the couple of Jason and Judith who you don’t really know what they are all about at first and you’re trying to figure them out. Taylor and Adam’s characters are also trying to put on a different face. They are putting on the face of all is crazy, something’s happening but this is normal because they want to be accepted. It tackles the line of how far would you go to be accepted even if it’s to your own detriment. I feel that it was something that Creep was playing on and with The Overnight; I was able to refine it a bit more.

This is a rare comedy that pushes the envelope as far as its humor. Were there times that you felt that you pushed it too much?

I don’t have a gage of whether I’m pushing the envelope enough because of the general audiences. For me, I’m writing what I feel is funny and what make sense in terms of the story. Once I’m on set, it’s just the matter of solving all the problems that I’ve created for myself when writing the script.

With a film like this when the shooting schedule was so short, that we made the whole film in twelve days, we were literally under the gun. I didn’t have the benefit of time to go back and say, “Is this too much?” There were a couple of moments when I looked at the scene like the one where the guys were dancing by the pool and thought that this was a ridiculous movie that were making right now. There’s the surreal feeling of watching something transpire from the pit of your brain while you were writing alone one day.

The Overnight has been shown in SXSW, Tribeca and Sundance film festivals and been given some good feedback. How did it feel to be recognized for your efforts at these major film fests?

It’s been a dream. Going into Sundance, I was really unsure of how people were going to respond to the movie just because it has a specific tone to it that you don’t normally see in comedies. I know that I was going to be dipping my toe in a world that has been firmly established, even with some of the actors that are in this movie. I was nervous going into Sundance. Having that first screening at the Eccles Theater for twelve hundred people, the response it got, and then selling it, and all the subsequent film fest we played at was just hugely validated. I feel excited to take everything that I’ve learned making this movie and put it into the next project.

It also feels like it happened very quickly when we shot it last April. Then it came out on January 19th. A little over a year, all this stuff has transpired. I haven’t had a lot of time to process it. I’ve just been caught up in the wave. It’s all excited. It’s all-great but I am not resting on my laurels or anything. I’m still nervous when I rescreened the movie.

Since you have got a couple of comedies under your belt, what are your favorite comedies growing up

From an early age, I really loved the gag and spoof comedies that really formed my comedic mind. There were the Airplane and The Naked Gun movies.

Ah, yes – The Zucker Brothers.

That’s right, The Zucker Brothers. The Blues Brothers was also a huge movie growing up because that was the first Rated-R movie that I was allowed to watch. The humor in that was so low-key that it’s crazy. I re-watched that film recently. In fact, the first fifteen minutes of the film was mostly silent. It was such a weird thing to show this nine-year-old or whenever I first saw it. I was so excited to be allowed to watch this movie. The sensibility really sunk in and it’s been a part of me.

Growing up during my teen years, Booty Call was a huge movie for me. That was a movie that I watched over and over again. It was another movie about sex that took place in over 24 hours. Finally, Wet Hot American Summer was just the tip of the iceberg for me. The film, to me, combined surrealism and comedy in a way that I became a fan of David Wain. I responded to it in a huge way that it was all the things that I was interested in. Some of that got trickled into The Overnight. It was a chance to play with that stuff.

We thank Patrick Brice for spending time to talk with us. The Overnight will hit Theaters in DC on THIS FRIDAY June 26th

About The Author