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(From left to right: Katie Anne Naylon, Lauren Miller, Ari Graynor, Jamie Travis)
A couple weeks back, I sat in on a roundtable interview with the people behind the making of “For A Good Time, Call…” – a comedy coming out in theaters on August 31st. Amongst the cast and creators present were the director Jamie Travis, producer/co-writer Katie Anne Naylon, co-star/co-writer Lauren Miller (Seth Rogen’s better half) and co-star/producer Ari Graynor. These stars were certainly a spirited bunch, and they definitely want you to see their movie. Read more if you want to hear them talk about how they made the film, what working with Justin Long was like, and their dildo choosing process.
Q: One of the key elements of this movie was the relationship of being friends as opposed to sort of being a stupid “sex phone comedy” kind of thing. Tell me how you felt about it.
Lauren Miller: Well, when Katie and I wrote the script, we felt like it was important to write what we knew, and what we knew was female friendship. Katie and I are different people, maybe not an obvious match to be best friends; but we are. We thought that was a really fun world to set our movie in because, as women, we like to see movies that are about us. There are a lot of movies out there that have women, but they really are about getting the guy, and that just wasn’t what we wanted to do in our story.
Ari Graynor: And a lot of the movies from the ‘80s that we were inspired by, movies like “Working Girl” or “Outrageous Fortune” or actresses like Shelley Long and Goldie Hawn, there’s sort of a spirit there in the ‘80s where movies about women were not solely based on the romantic relationship of, you know, somebody tries to get the guy that she shouldn’t end up with but does, so we were all sort of inspired by a lot of those movies and the spirit of those movies to put something out there that was not just based on a romantic relationship. It’s kind of fascinating that there’s been so few movies about female friendship when, for women, female friendships are such an enormous part of their lives.
Katie Anne Naylon: It’s just a modern day “Odd Couple” – they never leave the house, and they’re opposites, and then they fall in this friendly love. For such a simple story, it’s actually very interesting how people receive it.
Q: Were the cameos in the script or was that something that came along as the film developed?
LM: The cameos were very much in the script. We had full scenes for all of them, but it was important to utilize the actors that were doing those calls who obviously are very funny and really good at improv. We always tried to keep those scenes really loose because Seth (Rogen) was the only one on set when we shot our side, and it was a lot of keeping things open and vague, a lot of “Oh yeah, yeah, I like that!” because you never knew what they were going to say when we shot them two weeks later.
Jamie Travis: There’s such a fine balance in the comedy of this film in terms of raunchiness verses humor, which was sort of our daily task – to kind of find that balance. Certainly with the cameos, it’s like, when something goes too funny and it’s not sexual enough it doesn’t work, but especially when it goes too dark and raunchy and not funny enough, it doesn’t work – so there was certainly a lot of improve there and a lot of range.
Q: There’s a great chemistry between the two of you (Lauren and Ari) There was a lot of rehearsal I understand, not rehearsal but working scenes out before you actually put it on film. Tell me about that.
AG: The four of us spent about a month sitting at Lauren’s dining room table – we call it the dining room table in our hearts – and we spent 12 hours a day sort of working through the script and sort of getting everything set. It was our own little version of a production office, and we shot the film in 16 days – which is a very short amount of time; most comedies are 40, 45 days.
So we really all worked together to get the script in the tightest shape possible, and I think for Lauren and I – we didn’t even know each other before this process – so spending the time together to develop our rapport and trust with Jamie and Katie, we were such a unit on that set that to have all that time together – to play, to work, to develop that creative mind, that’s where it’s the thrill where the chemistry came from. It was more about the sheer amount of time we spent together and all getting on the same page about how we wanted to tell this story. Then we had Mark Webber come in one day, and Mimi Rodgers and Deb McManus come in for a day. There wasn’t too much rehearsal, which was kind of nice to keep it fresh.
JT: There wasn’t time for rehearsal!
Q: Did the props department come up with the toys, or was that like a girl’s night out show?
KAN: Yeah, that was the production designers, right?
JT: Well the toys were always in the script, so it was just about finding, you know, the biggest dildos we could find. I remember looking at dildos and being like “NOT BIG ENOUGH! NOT BIG ENOUGH! THIS NEEDS TO BE IMMEDIATE COMEDY!”
One of the most successful comedic moments in the movie involves the passing of a dildo from one to the other – it has consistently been a huge laugh, and I believe it’s directly proportional to the size of that fake penis.
KAN: We had a dildo washing station. My friend made the pink one – well she didn’t make it, I meant she bought it and she bejeweled it for us. She had nothing to do with the movie. I had brunch with her a week before we shot and she was like “I’ve made you this!” and I was like “Oh my gosh!” It didn’t look safe – you could lose a jewel or two. We put it in the movie because that was the only thing we could put it in. We named it Susan.
Q: Ari and Lauren, is it tough keeping up with Justin Long in this movie? His energy here is incredible.
LM: Huge big yes! We were just saying the other day that we shot the movie in 16 days – did we already talking about that?
JT: That’ll be all the headlines!
KAN: 16 days!
LM: Well, the first week was essentially just Ari and I. We developed a little bit of a dynamic, and when Justin showed up it was the second day of the second week – or something like that. We were like “Oh, God! Someone new is coming! What’s that going to be like? It’s going to change everything!” It changed everything in the most incredible, wonderful, imaginative way.
AG: I couldn’t keep it together. It was the only day where I really really lost my shit. We were surprisingly, not serious, but we had so little time but we had gone through the script so many times and it felt pretty on point. But when Justin came, he made it off the rails as we were hoping he was going to. We’re also good friends – we’ve done a movie called “Youth In Revolt” together and a movie called “10 Years” which is coming out at the end of September. He admitted to sort of purposefully needling me to see if I would break up, and the whole day I was afraid we didn’t get a useable tape because I broke every single time.
JT: He really was unpredictable.
LM: And you may have noticed some similarities, because once he met this one (Jamie), he was like “You! You’re Jesse!”
KAN: He did a character study.
JT: I’d like to say I was a muse.
Q: I heard he followed you around quite a bit.
JT: Yeah, that story is getting around. There was one distinct moment during his first day on set where he was dressed like me, it became this “in” joke amongst everyone on the set – the costume designer, the make up and hair designers, it all became about making him into me, which I guess unconsciously is what I wanted.
When I first talked to Justin – and he’s played gay a lot, and he’s been so funny playing gay men – but they’ve always been, I think, on the broader side, but so funny. I wanted to impress upon him that we were going for a much more grounded approach to this film. I think he just kind of zoned out as I was talking to him.
Q: In an interview, you said that during the exchange of putting this film together that “a straight man can’t direct this movie.”
JT: Oh, God, you read that quote. That was my sales pitch to get hired.
Be sure to see “For A Good Time, Call…” after it’s released on August 31st if you want to see the creative spirits of these hilarious folk.
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