An interview with writers Katie Ann Naylon, Laurie Miller and star Ari Graynor
Opening in theatres this Friday is an amazing comedy that funny, quirky, amazing, brilliantly done, intelligent and speaks to that rare things in life – true friendship with the comedy FOR A GOOD TIME CALL. The film tells the story of two girls who start out not so friendly and with the help of Justin Long’s hilarious role, brings them together in ways that bring about unexpected results. Sure I’m not telling you a lot, that’s because I’m not a fan of spoilers and I want everyone to gather up a group of your most fantastic and fabulous friends and hit the theatres this Friday and enjoy some bonding time filled with laughs.
I got the chance to talk with the ladies responsible for my good time and that’s writers Katie Ann Naylon and Lauren Miller (who also stars in the film as Lauren) as well as Ari Graynor who plays Katie. These girls are fun, full of adventure and like the reception by those attending the films screenings.
We start out with the obvious questions to lighten the mood as our sit down on top of the W hotel was equally as light and fun but serious in moments where they discuss making an independent film about a subject that deserves comedy and friendships that can last a lifetime!
Do you feel your movie is 100% accurate? Okay, I’m joking but had to say something about the subject matter!
Ari: >I feel like our movie is emotionally accurate. In terms of friendship the movie is 97% accurate in the emotional friendship life.
Lauren: >Its no documentary. I think that Jamie Travis is an incredible director and one of the things he’s so amazing at doing is creating a world. In the world of our movie it is 100% accurate and there is 100% truth to what these girls are doing in the movie. No, I don’t think this is exactly how you run a phone sex line and Katie who ran one can tell you.
Katie: >We meant to go there with the humor. We let the comediennes run on their own. We wanted to make them as funny as possible. Its like what is the funniest thing you can say and people will imagine it whether they wanted to or not.
Ari, you have the voice for it. The flip was nice. Whose idea was that?
Katie: >That was true though! It made Katie really vulnerable. It’s a sweet moment.
What made you three decide to do this?
Lauren: Katie and I wrote the script together. It took three months but there were many drafts and versions. It was big then small and many incarnations of the story.
Katie: The first draft took us a couple of months. There was always a Laurie and Katie. We focused on the friendship of the girls because that was the most important part.
Ari: Lauren was in Germany and woke up one night thinking it hasn’t happened for me yet acting wise and its not going to happen unless I make it happen for myself. So she wrote an email to Katie saying ‘I’m tired of not having a career’ and we wrote it. We want Ari and hope she will do this. They sent me the script and made this decision and I read the script and they also sent me this beautiful love letter where they felt like they understood me and what I do in my work. They asked me to come on as Katie and as executive producer. I fell immediately in love with it and how smart it was and unique it was. It’s the first time I’d ever seen a movie that was really about true female friendships. The central relationship wasn’t romantic or getting the cute neighbor across the hall. We came together and became this one creative unit along with Jamie Travis and got this movie made?
How hard was it to get backing? You have to admit when you go present this I’m sure you got a lot of raised eyebrows. I mean MAGIC MIKE yea, sure we understand, but this?
Katie: It was hard originally, which is why it took so long for us to get to backing. People were very resistant to the R rated female driven comedy. The R rated male comedies, I mean they’ll make HANGOVERS all day long but they have a hard time believing their is an audience of women that want to see something other than THE VOW and there is. We got independent financing and Lauren’s brother believed in the script and he believed in us. He got investors together and we made it in a shoestring budget. We had one goals and that was to get it into the Sundance Film Festival and see what happened. What’s happen has really been amazing.
Have you been in the audience and seen the reception to your film?
All three say “oh yea!”
Katie: We especially saw it at Sundance with that audience.
Ari: We’ve been traveling around and its magical, incredible by making something that you love and care about and that your heart and soul is in. To see people appreciate it, and enjoy it and get it is a really unique and remarkable experience.
Has anyone come up to you and said ‘sorry, I can’t handle this’ as far as the films adult content?
Lauren: When they do they do it where it’s appropriate – on the internet
Ari: A lot of men have been responding and loving it and that’s exciting to see.
On the flip side, what response have you gotten from women that say ‘you just said things that we only think about saying’?
Lauren: That’s the best part like after a screening two girls will come up to say ‘that was me and my best friend – that was us!’ Honestly, that is the coolest thing.
Ari: That’s how we talk to each other, that’s how it sounds. I’m so much like “Lauren” or I’m like “Katie”.
How have your families reacted to the film?
Katie: My family has been very supportive. I mean there is an awkwardness coming from my peers. At Sundance when my Dad saw it up on the big screen and a room full of people he wasn’t going to say ‘that’s my Katie, such an overachiever!’ He’s so proud of me for doing something that I dreamed of. I’m not sure he wants me to write sex comedies and it’s not what I want to do as this is just a backdrop of what I wanted to do. He often says that it’s not his kind of movie but he loved it.
Lauren: My Dad will watch it every single day and he loves it and talks about it all the time. My relatives are telling him to shut up about it.
Ari: We are lucky because they are all very supportive.
Lauren: The other day we watched it and Ari and I were sitting next to each other and my Dad was just gawking at the screen so proud of his girl.
Are you excited about the screening tonight?
Ari: There are going to be a lot of college kids. We’ve had all ages and genders and it will be fun to see if it is more of a college crowd.
Well, all the girls were giggling at the screening I attended. And your right the friendship between the two characters is up and center and everything revolves around that. Did you feel like that was the most important message you wanted to give?
Katie: Yes, I think our female relationships are so important and they are certainly to us and that there are very lasting relationships that teach you a lot about yourself and we definitely wanted to celebrate that in a real way instead of doing the romantic comedy thing this time around. I think it’s a nice message, which is that you don’t need to judge the girl across from you because she might end up being your best friend.
Were you friends before this?
Ari: No, we just met when they wrote me that letter.
Katie: I’d been writing you letters for years.
Ari: Its been during the process of this movie and what an incredible gift and such an experience in the process of their friendship of writing it and of us making it and what the movie is about and all of us meeting and our friendship – it’s a big experience with a lot of wonderful along the way.
What is everyone doing after this starting with you Katie?
Katie: We are writing some television stuff and are hoping that will also be fresh and fun and special. This one has a hot Broadway play
Ari: We are starting rehearsals in a few weeks and I’ll be there doing that for five months. Its called TENURES opening September 14th.
Lauren: Katie and me are writing some things. Yes, and as an actor this has opened up some very nice doors that are still independent.
There are so many independent films that I’d rather watch more than the mainstream films because they are so well made. Yours is truly off the beaten path.
Katie: It feels and looks broad even though it was made for only a million bucks.
That has to be stunning to people you say that to?
Katie: Yes, we’ve lost some people and are surprised because of the way it looks and that we shot it in only 16 days and we could pull it together. That’s proves you can do it and you can definitely do it and you can definitely do it when you have like minded people all manning the ship together. I think you can have much, much more money but if you don’t have a good group you won’t get what we got.
How do you feel about having total creative control?
Katie: We had a wonderful and amazing director and there was no one looming over us – it was just – us!
Lauren: That’s the benefit of making and independent film is that you have no one to answer to and you shoot in sixteen days for little or no money.
Ari: Then you have to hope.
Lauren: Yes, you have to hope that someone will let you put it in movie theatres so people can see it because that doesn’t always happen. That’s one of the luckiest things about this whole process is that yes we killed ourselves to make this movie but also we get to show it to people and that’s the best reward we could possibly have.
Ari: Focus Features who bought us at Sundance make such beautiful, beautiful films and for them to believe in our film the way they have is so exciting.
Sixteen days, how was that?
Katie: That’s why Lauren is yawning!
Ari: We have been in a press run twice as long it took us to shoot the movie.
Lauren: It’s crazy. I don’t know I’d jump to do it again but that’s what it is when you make an independent film and you do it at whatever means necessary.
And good to know you can do it in sixteen days, you can do it for a million dollars and it can be good!
Lauren: I can be!
Ari: And this has been such an empowering experience for us all and can hopefully can be inspiring to other people on taking chances for themselves.
So I was going to ask have you changed because of the film?
Ari: Of course, of course, I think that as hard as it is and has been we have been so lucky. Anyone can sit around on their ass and say ‘man I want this to happen’ and its great to want those things and the first step is knowing what you want. After that, to go out and make it happen its very exciting and empowering and we hope it will be so exciting for other people to hear this story and be empowered to take action in their own lives too.
And you Lauren?
Lauren: It’s changed everything. It’s proven to me that you can’t say no and make your own destiny. If you believe in something you have just got to do it. We got really lucky.
You gals have said things in these films that no one has dared.
Lauren: Maybe content wise we made a movie we wanted to see that hadn’t been made yet but as far as the process goes we aren’t the first or the last.
You took this idea and put it out there, that’s raw. It’s from a female perspective straight out. Not a female perspective taken over by a man and that perspective changed to make it a film he wants to make.
Katie: I don’t think we are reinventing the wheel but we worked the wheel.
We made it much more fun for it to go round and round.
Katie: It was very rewarding. We are humbled by what has happened here and we can’t wait to do it again.
Are you going to work together again?
Katie: I would love to. Will you still work with us
Ari: I would love to.
Thank you for your time today.
And with that our girl time had to come to an end. There was a theatre of people waiting to not only view FOR A GOOD TIME CALL, but spend time with these three lovely, funny and talented ladies. If your looking for that certain something in a film this weekend that is from the heart, then gather up the group and head out to see FOR A GOOD TIME CALL this Friday in theatres!!