Chatting with The Overnight's Patrick Brice

Maybe you've wondered what it'd be like to cheat on your partner, or participate in an orgy — with or without your partner). Coming out on June 26, Patrick Brice film The Overnight (directed by the Duplass Brothers) ponders just these scenarios.

Centered on a pizza playdate that shows the sexual frustrations, honesty, and embarrassment of two couples with young children, The Overnight unfolds with juicy performances from Taylor Schilling, Adam Scott, Jason Schwartzman, and French star Judith Godreche. Through “will-they-or-won't-they?” tension, the reason the film is so enjoyable is because it brings the nervous energy and confusion that a possible liaison with others can possibly feel like — taking the viewer to a place that seems realistic, instead of just glossy and overly sexual. I have been invited to have sex with more than one person in my party-girl days but not so much in recent years, where life is more of the married-mom routine. It's nice that The Overnight also homes in on male body acceptance, a refreshing surprise because men tend to be more macho when it comes to onscreen sex scenarios — maybe playing on the fact that we women are thought to constantly brag and worry about clothing size and pounds lost.

Brice wrote the screenplay at the Silver Lake library near his home in Los Angeles, and accidentally deleted the first 70 pages of his first draft, which equaled one month of painstaking work. As he's also the writer, director, and co-star of the upcoming comedy-horror-romance film Creep, Brice was on hand to answer questions after a screening for the San Francisco International Film Festival. He and his wife, Lynsay, are both Bay Area natives and have been together for 10 years. The duo met and lived together in San Francisco and I met him on the set of the horror film Pig Hunt.

SF Weekly: What sort of relationship issues does The Overnight explore?

Patrick Brice: I finished the script a few months before I got married, and I was thinking about issues that young couples deal with – and especially issues that are more extreme and worth making a movie about. All the characters have issues that have been bubbling to the surface, whether it's body insecurity or monogamy or any of that stuff. I wanted to make a movie when all these things would come to a head in a 24-hour period.

SFW: The film uses penis prosthetics, for some a memorable turn. How did that process go?

PB: Jason Schwartzman wore his in the pool all day, and it became very donkey-like. It kept getting filled up with water and became water logged.

I have the prosthetics in my closet at home. Our dog Henry thinks they are toys that we are keeping from him.

SFW: Champagne and whiskey, pizza, a pool, sensuous robes, and staying up all night are all factors in building tension between the two couples. Are these ingredients that help lubricate potential romance?

PB [laughs]: I think they are all almost clichés and pretty obvious. We had chocolate strawberries at one point and thought that was too much. Hopefully, using these were all clues for viewers.

SFW: What films are the creative inspirations for this comedy?

PB: Movies that happen in 24 hours. Adventures in Babysitting was always fun, and I loved the fact that you experience this warm crazy night with characters that keep you engaged.

The Breakfast Club was another one. Also, I looked to relationship movies dealing with sex, like Flirting with Disaster. I loved the tone and approach to sex there and hadn't really seen that many mainstream American comedies that dealt with sex in a way that made sense to me.

In The Overnight, a lot of crazy stuff happens, and the underlying tone is hopefully one of inclusion and self-acceptance. I want this to be entertaining and also a movie that promotes people accepting each other a little bit more.

SFW: Has this film allowed you to talk about sex with a whole bunch of people?

PB: It's funny. I didn't know what I was signing myself up for making a movie like this. The Q&A process has been getting more and more personal with each screening. I've found myself answering questions that normally I wouldn't be sharing with hundreds of people. The whole time I'm thinking “You signed up for this, you idiot.” [Laughs]. At the end of the day, that's okay. We're closing out the Seattle film festival next week and Dan Savage will be moderating our Q&A. I hope that this movie is up his alley.

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