It’s not easy looking Jason Schwartzman in the eye after seeing “The Overnight,” the smart, surprising, touching, and achingly honest sex comedy that explores social mores, fidelity, parenthood, marital truth and adult longing. Oh, and male full-frontal nudity.
In “The Overnight,” Alex (Adam Scott of “Parks and Recreation” who also produced the film with his wife Naomi), Emily (Taylor Schilling, “Orange is the New Black”), and their son, RJ, have recently moved to Los Angeles’ Eastside from Seattle. Feeling lost in a new city, they’re desperate to find their first new friends. After a chance meeting with Kurt (Jason Schwartzman, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”) at the local playground, they gladly accept an invitation to Kurt and his wife‘s (French actress Judith Godriche) home for family pizza night. But as it gets later and the kids go to bed, the family “playdate” becomes increasingly more revealing and bizarre as the couples begin to open up, forcing each to take an inward look at who they really are.
Each actor nimbly balances the script’s sudden emotional turns from surprising honestly to complete embarrassment. That said, fearless, funny Jason Schwartzman steals the show as an over-eager host with the most. And not just because of an endowed appendage. As Schwartzman attempts to seduce his dinner guests, he also deftly seduces the audience, making us laugh and gasp as we question our own needs and boundaries.
Pursuitist met with Schwartzman and “The Overnight” co-star Judith Godriche at the Four Seasons Los Angeles where the cast checked in for an overnight staycation. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to professionally begin the interview with a politically-incorrect ice-breaker…
PURSUITIST: Congratulations on your penis.
JASON SCHWARTZMAN: “Thank you. Ah, yes. Thank you.”
PURSUITIST: And congratulations to your costumer for creating what I assume is a very realistic and generous penis prosthetic?
JASON: “Yes, exactly. See, I wasn’t going to say anything about it being a prosthetic unless you asked. Adam, on the other hand, brings it up first, every single chance he gets, since his prosthetic was…smaller than usual.”
PURSUITIST: Has your fake penis made any appearances at any of your real parties?
JASON: “No. I don’t have it anymore. I think the director, Patrick Brice, has it. Also, it wasn’t easy to put on. It took time and glue and assistance. I was nervous about wearing it, and about the nudity, but I what made me most nervous was when I read the script and realized that someone was going to have to get up close and personal with my real nakedness when they put the fake one on me.”
PURSUITIST: You’re no stranger to Hollywood guest lists. Did this resemble any parties you’ve been to?
JASON: “I’m not a real party person. I was in a band (Phantom Planet) at a young age, and I was uncomfortable at any type of party with lots of girls. In many ways, I’ve got to tell myself, ‘Whoa, grow up and move on past your high school experience! How long can it scar you for?’ But everyone in my band was really tall and really handsome, and I was always pretending to fall into the pool — with my clothes on, instead of taking off my shirt. I was awkward, so I didn’t go to a lot of parties. I would just go play our shows and then usually go for soup somewhere.”
JUDITH GODRICHE: “That’s the kind of guy that girls fall in love with.”
JASON: “Not then they weren’t.”
PURSUITIST: Those kinds of self-doubts are at the core of “The Overnight,” aren’t they? Only from the perspective of 30-somethings who often loose themselves when they become consumed with parenthood.
JASON: “One of the things that I take away from the movie is when you’re in a long-term relationship, you fuse as two people, and you are growing together. But just as it’s important that you grow as a couple, it can be overlooked that you’re continuing your individual growth and interests, and that you’re constantly bringing something back to the relationship. When you start to move too much as a unit and only a unit, what happens? And then what happens if one person questions something, or grows in some way? Immediately, it’s asking something from the other person, and they have a choice to discuss that and go with that, or to walk away from it. In ‘The Overnight’ everyone is all out of alignment, like a spine, and sometimes these moments — like a crack — adjust you.”
PURSUITIST: You and Judith play a very interesting on-screen couple. Do you think this was the first time your characters tried to seduce another couple?
JASON: “I felt like this is new to them, and that’s what I really loved about it. We’re the hosts, Judith and I, and it’s like, we’re trying to keep our guests happy. Get the wine! Don’t let them go! Don’t let the momentum or the centrifugal force stop. Keep going! But we are very gregarious and coming on kind of strong and it falls apart. We’re not good at it.”
PURSUITIST: What’s the oddest experience you’ve had at a party, Judith?
JUDITH GODRICHE: “I had a strange thing happen to me once. I was out with friends to celebrate my birthday and it happened that Mick Jagger was there. He sang Happy Birthday to me.”
JASON: “Wow. What did you do? What does a person do when Mick Jagger sings to them?”
PURSUITIST: There’s lot of similar awkwardness at the party in “The Overnight.”
JASON: “I love that line in the movie where Adam says, ‘Maybe this is how dinner parties are in LA!’ I just think that line is so funny. I’m from Los Angeles, but I’ve never been at a party where it felt that I was in a situation like this. I’ve never been in a swingy situation — or maybe I have and I just didn’t realize it.”
PURSUITIST: What’s coming up next for you?
JASON: “I have a movie coming out called ‘7 Chinese Brothers .’ We also created the show ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ with my friend Gael Garcia Bernal. It’s fun and exhilarating, and I love every second of it. We don’t know if we’d get to make another season but even if we get cancelled I’m happy because this one season was such a journey.”