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'The Overnight' Is Like A Horror Film Where 'Sex Is The Monster'

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"The Overnight” 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.

Beth Accomando: So you can’t see me but I am Beth Accomando with the Cinema Junkie podcast and I am speaking with Adam Scott who plays Alex in the new film ‘The Overnight’. So tell me about your character Alex.

Adam: Well, my character and Taylor Schilling’s character, Taylor Schilling from ‘Orange is the new Black’ we were new to Los Angeles, we don’t know a soul. We’re with our young son at the park, we run into Jason Schwartzman and his son. They invite us over to their house for a play-date/pizza party and once we’re over there he and his wife convince us to stick around, put the kids to bed and may be hangout and we do and it turns into the craziest night of our lives.

Beth Accomando: Kind of a play-date for the adults?

Adam: Yes, yes.

Beth Accomando: So how would you describe this in terms of a romantic comedy because it does have elements of a romantic comedy but it also has kind of a lot of realism too as well to some the situations?

Adam: Yeah, I don’t know if I would describe it as a romantic comedy. I mean it’s definitely a comedy. You know, I think that if there is a sub genre of the sex comedy may be it falls under that. You know, I think it talks about a lot of really interesting things; I think comedy is a great delivery system for all of these really kind of smart things that Patrick was thinking about when he wrote it. And you know we’ve just had this great reaction from audiences from the first time we screened it at Sundance to last night in La Jolla we had these crowds that are just going crazy for it and we couldn’t be happier about the reaction so far.

Beth Accomando: What do you think audiences are connecting with?

Adam: Well, I think there is, you know, lot of good jokes in the movie but I think also you know, there is a lot of mystery to the movie, there is a lot of kind of issues that couples face when they’ve been together for a while and you hit a certain age and you kind of feel like your days of reinvention might be behind you. People tend to, I know I did, kind of you stop really changing when you have kids and you get married and you settle down and feel like you need to be rock for these people in your life for good reason. And I think these characters are due for a big change, a reinvention of sorts and they don’t really know it and it just sort of happens to them over the period of a few hours and their whole world gets turned upset down. And so there are a lot of what-ifs that play out in the movie that I think a lot of us have feel like if you are hanging out with another couple and on the drive home you’re asking your partner like “Did you get a vibe from them? Do you think?” you know and this was definitely a situation where “Yeah, that vibe is there and we stick around and watch it play out a bit.

Beth Accomando: And you mentioned Patrick, who is Patrick Brice your director and writer. I found it interesting previously he’d just come from a horror film so did he adapt well from horror to comedy?

Adam: Yeah I mean a friend of mine kind of aptly describes ‘The Overnight’ is a horror movie were sex is the monster, you know it’s the thing creeping around every corner. We’ve had screenings where people are yelling at the screen, like “Don’t, no don’t do it, 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 kind of the release that people get from that tension is laughter.

Beth Accomando: So do you also see that this film kind of has its roots in kind of like Woody Allen films and also may be even something like Bob and Carol, Ted and Alice like this is a new generation’s version of that kind of –

Adam: Maybe. I’ve never seen Bob and Ted, Carol and Alice so I don’t know. I mean I know we’ve been compared to it a lot and I can see why. I’m ashamed but I’ve never seen it. I don’t know why I just never and that I love Paul Mazursky I just, that’s one I never saw.

Beth Accomando: You do lot of comedy on television.

Adam: Yeah.

Beth Accomando: So is there a difference between playing comedy when you’re shooting a TV series versus taking on a film project?

Adam: Not really, I mean I think, you know, we shot this movie fast; we shot the movie in 12 days. So we didn’t have a lot of time and you know, so it’s more or less the speed that we shoot like a Parks and Recreation episode or a Party Down episode. It’s pretty much the same type of schedule and I love working that fast. I think kind of just have to go by your instincts and kind of work on the fly and I really love doing that, it’s really fun.

Beth Accomando: Is it hard to play comedy on film where you don’t have an audience reacting at all?

Adam: No, I mean we didn’t have it on Parks and Rec either. So no I don’t think so, I would find waiting for a laugh to be a little distracting but also I would, I’m afraid I would start playing to that and wait and kind of playing to the laugh instead of staying, you know, focused on the scene and the other person in the scene.

Beth Accomando: Also, talking about the cast because Jason Schwartzman is great and he has this great ability to play characters that may not necessarily be 100% likeable but he makes them very appealing still.

Adam: Yeah, I mean this role on paper, reading it, I was worried, you know, this guy could come off a little creepy and I think the puzzle was why did these people stay at this house all night? I think I would have left. But then seeing Jason play the role, the question was answered pretty quickly. He’s a really charming, really sweet guy and so he brought so much to the role and really answered that question and yeah he just inherently brings a lot of trust to any role he plays.

Beth Accomando: Because that first thing was interesting where you meet him in the park and you know, he’s approaching your kid which seems a little creepy and you guys are both taken aback. But then as soon as he starts to talk to you, you kind of –

Adam: Yeah, we’re just immediately kind of taken with him.

Beth Accomando: And what kind of – it isn’t a comedy, it’s very entertaining but like I said, it does tackle some genuine issues. So what are some of the things that you feel it may deal with that or kind of new or fresh in that respect?

Adam: Well I think you know, it hits male body issues pretty head-on, which I think is interesting, you know, you don’t really see that in popular entertainment that often and it’s a real thing and kind of how maybe a body issue for a man affects how he feels about himself in the world and feels about himself around other males and I think my character in the movie is to let this body issue sort of color his entire life in how he sees himself. And then he’s sort of brought, you know, over the course of the movie which is just one night, all of that changes and he kind of reconsiders himself in how he fits into the world. I thought that was really interesting.

Beth Accomando: Oh what’s interesting too is that, I think people feel like we’re at a time where censorship isn’t as much of a problem in that there’s a lot of freedom in films. But in some ways a lot of the films made today seem a little more conservative and almost prudish compared to stuff that might have been made in the 70s and this kind of pushes the envelope.

Adam: Yeah, I think so, I mean I think male nudity is something that you don’t see it that often especially when it’s– for this movie it’s required that the nudity happens. I mean it is a big part of the story and big part of these two characters. It has to happen. So yeah, it’s an important part of the movie.

Beth Accomando: Was that a challenge for you?

Adam: Yeah, I mean we used prosthetics, so it wasn’t quite as nerve wracking as we thought it was going to be. You know, we put them on and we’re far more comfortable, just because it’s not real even though it approximately you could tell what we would look like naked but it wasn’t us, so we were pretty relaxed, Jason and I wearing this things.

Beth Accomando: I noticed you also had the role of Executive Producer on this. Is that something that you feel actors are more prone to do nowadays to kind of get roles that are a little more challenging or to have a little more control over their careers?

Adam: Well I don’t know but I know that my wife and I kind of had this project from the ground up. Mark Duplass brought us this script and we put the movie together. In fact, Patrick was really talented guy and it was the first movie for our company that we formed a couple of years ago and yeah it’s a really small movie like I said, we shot it really quickly. And so yeah, it was a way to have complete control over something. It was made for a small amount of money, so you know, there was no one giving us notes or looking over our shoulder and it was, you know, to show, to tell ourselves that we could do it, but also to make something that we would want to see more of, you know kind of out the marketplace.

Beth Accomando: Well apparently you were right because it’s catching on.

Adam: Yeah, I hope so, I hope so. It seems like people are liking it.

Beth Accomando: And the Duplass brothers have really come up from very small kind of film making roots and making stuff out of practically nothing. Do you think they help being to like redefine the kind of stuff that does get made and doesn’t of getting actually out to the public?

Adam: Yeah, I mean I think that they make great stuff and they’re really prolific. So yeah I think it’s healthy when people like them start making a lot of stuff because they have an eagle eye on quality control and I think that it’s great that their kind of brand of comedy and drama is catching on because it’s, I think it’s really good, I think it’s representative of how a lot of people kind of look at the world.

Beth Accomando: So with this success what do you see next for your company and for you?

Adam: Well we’re, we have a couple of TV things that we’re developing, we have another movie we hope to shoot this summer. So yeah we’re keeping busy and hope to just keep making stuff that we would, we watch a lot of television and watch a lot of movies and. So we just want to keep making stuff that we would want to pay for to go see, that we think is worth people’s money, you know.

Beth Accomando: Alright, well thank you very much for speaking with me.

Adam: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

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Cinema Junkie

Satisfy your celluloid addiction with the Cinema Junkie podcast, where you can mainline film 24/7. This film and entertainment series is run by KPBS Film Critic Beth Accomando. So if you need a film fix, want to hear what filmmakers have to say about their work, or just want to know what's worth seeing this weekend, then you've come to the right place