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The Overnight’ Is Like A Horror Film Where ‘Sex Is The Monster’

Adam Scott talks about the new indie film he produced and starred in

Interview: Adam Scott

KPBS film critic Beth Accomando speaks with actor Adam Scott and review his new film "The Overnight."


Companion Viewing

"Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice" (1969)

"Rushmore" (1998)

"Creep" (2014)

"The Overnight” (opening at AMC La Jolla 12 and Landmark Hillcrest Cinemas on June 26) has been stirring buzz since its premiere at Sundance earlier this year.

It's a raunchy comedy, but with more than sex on its mind.

I love the fact that "The Overnight" is a comedy directed by a filmmaker whose only previous feature was a horror movie. Actor Adam Scott said director Patrick Brice has cleverly applied horror tropes to comedy.

"'The Overnight' is a horror movie where sex is the monster," Scott said. "It’s the thing creeping around every corner. We’ve had screenings where people are yelling at the screen like, 'No, don’t go in there!' So there is a real tension through the whole movie that really works well and I think a lot of the release people get from that tension is laughter."

Scott plays Alex, a stay-at-home dad whose wife, Emily (Taylor Schilling of "Orange is the New Black"), has just moved the family to Los Angeles. They're desperate to make friends, and their first encounter with Kurt (Jason Schwartzman) starts on an ominous note as the couple see Kurt approaching their young son and momentarily fear he's a creep. But their initial trepidation quickly changes once Kurt introduces himself. He invites them over for dinner to meet his wife, and to provide their sons with an opportunity to play together. But the dinner turns out to be more a play date for the parents, and it pushes Alex and Emily out of their comfort zone.

"I think also there’s a lot of mystery to the movie," Scott said. "There’s a lot of issues that couples face when they have been together for awhile and you hit a certain age when you feel like your days of invention might be behind you. You stop really changing when you have kids, and you marry, and you settle down, and you feel like you need to be a rock for these people in your life, and for good reason. I think these characters are due for a big change, a reinvention of sorts, even though they don’t know it. It just sort of happens to them over the period of a few hours and their whole world gets turned upside down."

Final scene of ‘Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice

As in Paul Mazursky's comedy that closed out the 1960s "Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice," "The Overnight" presents us with two couples at a crossroads and contemplating some sexual experimentation. Kurt and his wife, Char (Judith Godrèche), enjoy teasing the other couple with odd come ons such as a breast pump video Char acted in and portraits of butt holes of which Kurt has painted a series. Then Kurt invites them to skinny dip in the pool. This forces Alex to eventually confess that he is self-conscious over his "abnormally small dick."

"I think [the film] hits male body issues pretty head on, which I think is interesting," Scott said.

Interesting enough for him to have ushered the project through his own production company with his wife Naomi.

"I don’t really see [male body issues] in popular entertainment that often and it’s a real thing how maybe a body issue for a man affects how he feels about himself in the world and how he feels about himself around other males," Scott said. "I think my character in the movie has let this issue sort of color his entire life and how he sees himself, and then he’s sort of brought, over the course of the movie, which is just one night, all of that changes and he kind of reconsiders himself and how he fits into the world."

There was no getting around the male nudity because it's an integral part of the story, Scott said.

"We used prosthetics so it wasn’t quite as nerve-wracking as we thought it was going to be. We put them on and we were far more comfortable just because it’s not real, even though you could approximately tell what we would look like naked but it wasn’t us. We were pretty relaxed, Jason [Schwartzman] and I wearing these things," he said.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: The Orchard

Taylor Schilling plays Emily, a woman reluctantly drawn into another couple's sexual games in "The Overnight."

Alex's self-consciousness becomes an overt topic of conversation but through the course of the night, Alex realizes that Emily may be the one who is more curious about the sexual experimentation than he is.

Alex says, "Oh wait a second, this isn’t about me it’s about you, you are the one who’s been thinking abut this."

And “this” is sex, the monster that's been lurking in the shadows ever since they arrived at Kurt’s home. Director Brice plays out this sex comedy at the discomfort of his characters, and the results are painfully hilarious. Maybe he’s created a new hybrid genre of torture comedy. Whatever it is, it’s funny, smart, and stings just a little.

"The Overnight" is rated R for language and some sexual content.


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