The Knockturnal was on the red carpet for the World Premiere of “Untogether” at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T at SVA.
The film is the directing and screenwriting debut of acclaimed novelist Emma Forrest. She was joined by cast members, including Jemima Kirke, Lola Kirke, Jennifer Grey, Billy Crystal, Alice Eve, Scott Caan and producers Luke Daniels, Scott LaStaiti, and Brandon K. Hogan.
Starring Jamie Dornan, Jemima Kirke, Lola Kirke, Ben Mendelsohn, and Billy Crystal, “Untogether” is the story of Nick (Dornan) and Andrea (Jemima Kirke) whose one nightstand evolves into something more, though the exact parameters are blurry and undefined.
He is a doctor and author whose heroics in the Middle East gained him international fame. She is a writing prodigy fully consumed with destructive vices, navigating L.A. without a driver’s license or credit card and sharing a home with her sister Tara. Meanwhile, Tara (Lola Kirke) is dealing with relationship issues of her own as she slowly slips away from her boyfriend Martin (Mendelsohn), who gave up his Australian fame as a rock ‘n’ roll god to be with her. Her way of acting out is to lose herself in religion and seek solace in a charismatic Rabbi (Crystal). This is who they’ve all been so far but do they have the courage to find out who they really are?
The Knockturnal: How did this idea come to you?
Emma Forrest: Oh gosh, I mean, just processing life. I was falling in love and feeling like I shouldn’t be falling in love. And the great thing about being a writer is you can create an alternate ending for yourself, so that’s sort of what I was doing.
The Knockturnal: And what was the writing process like for you? How long was it?
Emma Forrest: It was a really short burst. With anything good I’ve ever written, it’s always like three weeks. And then, of course, it takes a long time to get a film made, so you get to sharpen it and refine it, but no, it was a three-week burst.
The Knockturnal: Were you always going to direct it? Was that your vision?
Emma Forrest: It’s the first thing I’ve written where I knew how to direct it as I was writing, so yeah.
The Knockturnal: What’s it like taking a leap from writing to directing?
Emma Forrest: I really loved art when I was at school, so I feel I have quite a strong visual mind, and I wouldn’t have taken it on if I didn’t think I had something to say visually. Because I think some writers make the leap to director and it doesn’t matter if they’re great writers, they don’t have any visual ideas. And I just think, why bother? But I really knew how I wanted it to look and what I wanted it to evoke.
The Knockturnal: Tell us a little bit about casting. You have such a great cast.
Emma Forrest: It’s amazing. So, Ben Mendelsohn, who was my husband, had done Girls With Jemima where he played her dad. So I connected with Jemima and we really liked each other, and I said, “What do you think of this script?” She’s like, “I want to do it. Can I show it to my sister?” And I said, “Sure.” And then I met her sister and her sister is gorgeous and wonderful and I fell in love with both of them. And then, I mean, the big get was Billy Crystal who is an icon. Like that was just tremendous. And to see him play, it’s an absolutely dramatic role, and he kills it, which isn’t surprising because so many comedians are great, straight actors.
The Knockturnal: Tell me about L.A. as a character?
Emma Forrest: L.A. as a character, it’s just a dreaming board. Like people go there and sort of fall into another dimension of what could be. I have this theory that cities and places that are really prone to earthquakes are very good for the creative mind because it means there’s just a strange energy there.
The Knockturnal: So what was it like directing your, then, husband?
Emma Forrest: I mean, it was really intense because we knew that after the film finished we were going to separate, but it was also, sort of, a really classy goodbye. It was respectful. Like everyone, I think he’s an amazing actor, he thinks I’m an amazing writer, and we came to celebrate each other’s work. And that’s quite rare.
The Knockturnal: It is. Bittersweet, though, isn’t it?
Emma Forrest: Oh, it was absolutely bittersweet, but that’s perfect because the film is bittersweet. So it’s almost like we were in character.
The Knockturnal: Did Ben give you any advice on directing?
Emma Forrest: Yeah, he was my secret weapon. I once asked him, “Why are you such a good actor?” And he said, “I listen to the other actor.” If you watch Ben, and I watched it in this film, when Jemima’s talking, he’s listening. He’s not waiting for when’s my line come? Which a lot of good actors do, they’re waiting for, like, when do I get to show off? And I tried to carry that over into the directing like really listen, you know?
The Knockturnal: Tell me a little bit about your role in the movie.
Alice Eve: I play Jamie’s agent.
The Knockturnal: How was working with him?
Alice Eve: He’s great. I’ve known him a long time. He’s a lovely man. Yeah. It was fun.
The Knockturnal: Where did you guys meet?
Alice Eve: In London in a pub, in like probably 2000 and one of those years that’s long gone. And he was a model. He started as a model, Jamie. So I knew him when he was a model, yeah.
The Knockturnal: And so was it fun to play an agent because you’re in Hollywood?
Alice Eve: Of course, it was fun. Ruthless, capitalist agent. Yeah. Bastards.
The Knockturnal: When did you get your first agent?
Alice Eve: That’s a good one. I actually biked the marathon. Have you ever done that? You bike 26 miles. It’s much easier than running, but people are still impressed because you’ve done a marathon. And I went with this group, and then among them was this agent. And he signed me, but I’m not with him anymore.
The Knockturnal: Do you believe one can have more than one soulmate in their life?
Alice Eve: I think we’d be pretty upset if we didn’t have a chance at more than one, because terrible things can happen to people. And if people can’t find love again, then that would be sad.
The Knockturnal: So what made you want to do this movie?
Alice Eve: Emma Forrest. She’s an intelligent writer, director and she’s a friend. And she wrote a lovely story, and I wanted to come and support her. So I did.
The Knockturnal: Do you hope to do more theater?
Alice Eve: Yeah, I’m thinking about going back to the theater. I’ve been to so many plays. There’s so many, like Lobby Hero, Travesties, The Seafarer. I’ve seen so many in the last few weeks, so it does give you a hunger to get back on the stage, for sure.
The Untogether premiere party was held at the Supper Suite at MEGU produced by A-List Communications . Talent in attendance included Billy Crystal, Scott Caan, Jemima Kirke, Lola Kirke, Elena Ghenoiu, Kammeron Lennox,Chloe Catherine Kim, and Writer/Director Emma Forrest.