The New York premiere of The Film Arcade’s People Places Things was held on August 10. Jemaine Clement, Regina Hall, Stephanie Allynne, and writer/director Jim Strouse were in attendance. The screening was held at Sunshine Landmark. The Knockturnal got to speak to the cast and director on the carpet. Check out our exclusive interviews below:
Can you tell us a little about your character in this movie?
He’s a dad of adorable twins and he’s going through a breakup. He breaks up pretty early in the film, and suddenly his life turns upside down. He’s also a teacher who writes comic books.
What got you interested in playing him?
Mostly I liked the script. I can imagine being in his situations and there’s a lot of similarity but mostly i enjoy the story and the humor.
How does it feel being the lead in a feature film?
I was worried about it first. What made me unsure if i wanted to do it was I didn’t know if I wanted to act that much. Actually it was fun, and I didn’t have much time to consider how I was gonna do it. You read the line, you do the scene – it wasn’t as daunting as I thought it would be.
How was working with Regina?
She’s awesome. She’s really funny. When i first met her she pretended to be serious, but she’s not at all. She’s really silly. She tricked me, and I was really worried during the first scene for about half a day but after a while i realized she was kidding me.
Tell us about your character in the film.
I play Diane, a professor in Columbia. My daughter, a student of Will’s (Jemaine Clement), introduces us to date.
If you could describe Diane in one word, what would it be?
What interested you to play her?
I just liked the script as a whole. It was very sweet, funny, smart, and has a different perspective on romance, break up. It was touching.
How was working with Jemaine?
Awful. (laugh) No, Jemaine is as charming and delightful as you see him in the movie. He’s really so generous and so sweet, and easy to work off of. I think the movie works because of him.
Can you tell us about your character in the film?
I play Charlie. She is a mother who wakes up one day and feels that her life isn’t working. And she starts to act on it and disrupts everything in her life, for better or for worse. I think it’s interesting because some people can relate to her, and some people thinks she’s a villain, so it depends on how you see it and how you relate to her.
How do you relate to Charlie?
I think if you’re not doing what you love, then it can manifest in having in affair, or being angry or unhappy. And you can see that in the movie where she’s not in the place where she wants to be, and she doesn’t know how to get there, so everything is kind of a mess, and it’s hard to get on her side when you see it’s somebody who’s a mom doing these things, but at the same time it’s like she doesn’t know how else to do it.
What was it like working with Jim Strouse?
He was so great. He was really fun. It was based on his real life and he was so willing to talk about it at length. sometimes directors are like, “do whatever you want,” but he was so – he would tell me stories, send me things, call me during the day shoot, and it just felt like very present. He’d explain his story, about where he was at and what he was feeling. I think a lot of the places we shot at was where he actually had real conversations at, so it was very much his world.
How autobiographical is this movie?
It’s not that everything portrayed in the movie happened to me, but I can definitely recognize the emotions portrayed in the film. And then there are some actual things that do overlap with my actual life: the character that Jemaine plays teaches at the School of Visual Arts and I teach at the School of Visual Arts. He wears New Balance sneakers and I wear New Balance sneakers.
Tell us about your writing process.
I wrote it really quickly, and I found that I have the most luck with the stuff I write fast. And then i put it away and came back to it. There are six months to a year when I wasn’t even thinking about it. When I came back to it that was the real revision process. It’s nice when you’re making movies like this, because until you’re ready to show people there is not much pressure. It’s just all mine, and it’s up to me to force myself to do it.
How do you work with actors on set?
When I have people like Jemaine, Stephanie, and Regina, it’s just kind of a pleasure. They are all really funny, and I try to make them as comfortable as possible to improv. Sometimes there are moments with Jessica Williams who I love – she would get off script, and I would say, “can we just get what I wrote once, I just want to make sure we get it once.” Her stuff is always what we ended up using. She added a lot, as did Jemaine and Regina.
Check out the trailer:
Following the screening, guests headed over to Dempsey’s for cocktails and canapés. The film will be released in theaters and on demand August 14.