Director Nicholas Stoller and writer/star, Jason Segel of Forgetting Sarah Marshall have reteamed for the irreverent comedy The Five-Year Engagement.
The movie begins where most romantic comedies end, looking at what happens when an engaged couple, played by Jason Segel and Emily Blunt, keeps getting tripped up on the long walk down the aisle. The two stars spoke of working together again at the press day for the movie.
How hard is it to make a romantic film about people who want different things?
Jason: It was a challenge to write and a challenge to edit because there are no big plot movements. There’s no car accident. There’s no earthquake where someone dies.
There’s also no big contrivance, like I’m a scientist and she hates science. (He laughs.)
It’s a very earnest explanation about how a relationship is fluid. When you choose a partner and say, ‘I want to marry you,’ you’re saying it not for this moment but for your whole life, and [there’s] going to be ever shifting power dynamics involved.
It’s really an honest exploration of relationships and it was tricky to write but the best ones are that. Annie Hall is that. When Harry Met Sally is that. It’s about taking a good, hard look at relationships. I think people can relate to it.
Emily: I think with such a simple premise as well there’s room to play as actors. There’s a lot you can do to make these relationships interesting, complex, messy and flawed. It’s a movie with a lot of heart.
The situation these two are put in is ludicrous, outrageous and heightened for the sake of creating a spectacle of a movie, and yet you invest in them as a couple in a very real way, hopefully.
Was Emily’s role originally conceived as British?
Jason: Yes. It was written for Emily.
Had you known each other socially?
Emily: We worked together (before).
Jason: We had done two movies together, The Muppets and Gulliver’s Travels, and we also were very good friends. I’m also good friends with (her husband) John (Krasinski).
What I thought was most important was in the in-between scenes, [that] it looks like they’re best friends. I know that we can do the acting scenes, because we’re good at what we do, but when they’re walking around I wanted it to look like they were best friends.
That’s why I wrote this for Emily, because I knew we could look convincingly like best friends on screen.
Is it hard to get a movie like this made?
Jason: We have Judd (Apatow) behind us and we have a good track record. And we also make our movies relatively cheap. I don’t demand a giant fee. Nick doesn’t demand a giant fee.
Emily: Everything goes on the screen, which I think is great.
Jason: I remember when Judd first pitched Sarah Marshall to the studio, he said ‘I can give you a Ben Stiller movie for a quarter of the price.’ And we still stand behind that idea. There’s no reason to get greedy about it.
We’re so lucky.We’re all doing well financially. There’s no reason to cut off your nose to spite your face just to prove that you’re worth it.
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