If there’s any proof how hard it is to get independent movies made these days then it will be more evident from it’s Celeste and Jesse Forever, a relationship dramedy written by Rashida Jones (“Parks and Recreation”) and her writing partner Will McCormack (“In Plain Sight”), who spent three years trying to get a studio to back it before making it independently with director Lee Toland Krieger (The Vicious Kind).
In the Los Angeles-based film, Jones plays the Celeste of the title to Andy Samberg’s Jesse, a couple who have separated after several years of marriage and have chosen to remain best friends with Jesse living right next door. This situation makes the rest of their mutual acquaintances uncomfortable and they try to convince Celeste to move on after Jesse gets into a relationship with another woman. Their friends and acquaintances are played by Eric Christian Olsen, Ari Graynor and Elijah Wood, while McCormack himself plays a character called “Skillz” and Emma Roberts plays a bratty pop star with whom Celeste has to work.
It’s another great example of female-driven indie relationship comedy following in the berth of Jennifer Westfeldt’s Friends with Kids, the recent Lola Versus (co-written by Zoe Lister-Jones) and the upcoming For a Good Time, Call (co-written by Lauren Miller). Like those movies, it’s more of a movie that can be enjoyed by both genders as a date movie, whether it’s with someone you’ve been married many years or a relatively new relationship, and it certainly can lead to some interesting after-movie discussions.
Earlier this week, ComingSoon.net had a chance to talk with Jones, McCormack and Krieger about what it took to get the movie made and you can watch those video interviews below. (We also spoke with Jones and McCormack about the adaptation they’re doing of Jones’ Oni Comics comic series “Frenemy of the State,” which was optioned by Universal.)
Most of you will know Ms. Jones from her stints on “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” and movies like I Love You, Man, The Social Network and The Muppets, but her role in Celeste and Jesse Forever is definitely a more prominent one that puts her front and center for the majority of the movie.
While McCormack has appeared in many different places as an actor, his name might not be that familiar unless you watch his two main shows (“In Plain Sight” and “Brothers and Sisters”). Besides co-writing the movie with Jones, he also plays Celeste and Jesse’s mutual friend, a strange pot dealer who calls himself “Skillz.”
Director Lee Toland Krieger
Krieger first became known for his acclaimed Sundance drama The Vicious Kind, starring Adam Scott and Brittany Snow, and we tallked to him about the differences of making an intense drama based on his own screenplay and working with Jones and McCormack on their lighter relationship movie. (That woman in the mirror behind Lee is his publicist, in case you were wondering, and our apologies for all the background noise.)
Celeste and Jesse Forever opens in select cities on Friday, August 3 and will expand throughout August.