CS Interview: Alicia Silverstone on wacky Bad Therapy
ComingSoon.net got the opportunity to chat with Golden Globe nominee Alicia Silverstone (Clueless) to chat about her latest film, the upcoming dramedy Bad Therapy in which she stars alongside Rob Corddry (Medical Police) and Michaela Watkins (The Way Back).
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Written by Nancy Doyne and based on her novel Judy Small, the film follows married couple Susan (Silverstone) and Bob (Corddry) Howard as they live an idyllic life in Los Angeles with Susan’s teenage daughter from her previous marriage. After learning from a friend about marriage counselor Judy Small (Watkins), Susan asks they begin seeing her, despite seemingly having no problems, and find themselves wrapped up in a dangerous game of manipulation, seduction and deception.
In addition to Silverstone, Corddry and Watkins, the film is made up of a cast that includes Haley Joel Osment (The Boys, Future Man), Aisha Tyler (Criminal Minds, Whose Line Is It Anyway?), Sarah Shahi (The Rookie, City on a Hill), David Paymer (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) and Flula Borg (Pitch Perfect 2).
The script, which is baed on Doyne’s novel from the ’90s, has been circling through Hollywood for years now before finally landing its current iteration and Silverstone found that when she first read the script years ago, she “just loved the characters and the writing” and found her biggest draw for her was how “weird” the tone was and how its story centers on two characters who “get themselves all messed up.”
“They really don’t have anything wrong to begin with and they go there and they just go down the rabbit hole,” Silverstone said. “I just love that my character is a really normal person and she just loses her mind, she ends up pulling a knife on her husband. I think that it’s really funny and really exciting and interesting to see a woman losing it, she just completely unravels because she starts to believe that her husband is potentially cheating on her and also looking at her daughter wrong, getting all creeped out, she’s got all these issues she’s struggling with.”
In choosing to take the role, the 43-year-old actress notes how she loves “juicy parts you get to really sink your teeth in” and with her character Susan’s leaps from anger and frustration to comedy, she “found it delightful to work on” and was “so happy” with the project, especially when it came back with one key figure after its initial delay.
“When it came back, it was attached with Rob Corddry and I love him,” Silverstone warmly recalled. “We worked together on a movie called Butter maybe ten or something years ago and he’s just such a good actor and he and I are such good friends as a result of working on the movie together. So it was so much fun getting to work with him again and be his wife again and he’s just such a delightful, amazing human and so funny and so smart, so everything. That was a joy and after I signed on, Michaela Watkins signed on and she’s also a really good friend of Rob and mine, she worked with Rob before, we all are quite friendly so it was just lovely to get to show up on this really small independent movie with people that you really love.”
In reuniting with Watkins and Corddry, Silverstone found is was “just an absolute joy and pleasure,” noting that in her line of work one can work “with actors that are good, that are pretty good and who aren’t good at all” and that the two “are such pros.”
“They’re so present and alive and playful and connected, so the experience is what I feel is like playing a master tennis match,” Silverstone said. “You’re all just there and are present to what is happening and you’re all just staying awake and alive to whatever each of us are doing with each other and so you never know what’s going to happen next because you’re all just throwing the ball like you would in a tennis match and you don’t know where it’s gonna go. That’s the best kind of acting, the most fun for me. It was a pleasure to sit in those rooms and get to be so ridiculous and then sometimes I was so tired that it was funny where we’d be in a room together doing a scene in the therapy room Michaela, me and Rob. Between setups I would just fall asleep on the couch and I’d just be sitting on the chair and I would just fall asleep, not even laying down, just in my chair with my head back, I must have looked really gross, just asleep, conked out, and I would wake up and we’d all be like ‘I’m ready!’ That was sort of fun, I used to do that on Clueless, so it was fun to be that tired again.”
Though not willing to divulge on some of the creative challenges behind bringing the story to life, laughing that she “might have to keep secret” some of the behind-the-scenes of the film, but found the biggest challenge was “finding the balance,” given the film is more of a dark and situational comedy than a slapstick effort.
“I play it like the truth, like everything is a drama, for me the whole movie is a drama, it’s not funny,” Silverstone described. “But what you know is that you hope and trust that in that is that it will be funny, because that’s the responsibility of the framework and the writing. But I’m playing it as if it’s just really happening, so it’s all emotional and deep and real, so I guess the only challenge is making sure it makes people laugh in the long run and that you’re not too serious or too intense. But you have to be in order to be funny, so that’s the kind of fine line you walk and ultimately you have to give it up to the gods, because there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Bad Therapy also marks the directorial debut of producer William Teitler and Silverstone found working with him to be a great experience, finding that his lack of time directing films opened pathways she hasn’t generally encountered from other filmmakers.
“I think that we had some really interesting conversations in the first two days that I shared how I work best and he was so receptive and so kind,” Silverstone said. “He really listens to his actors well and I think he grew a lot as he was directing, I could see him staying back and then coming in with really good insight and it was really a pleasure to watch and experience that in him. He’s a very kind man, he’s super sweet and loving and a good guy.”
Bad Therapy is available for purchase on digital platforms on Friday!