Twentysomething and Pregnant

06/04/2014 4:00 AM |

You decided against making Max (Jake Lacy), the guy who gets Donna pregnant, a douchebag. Why?
I agree that Max isn’t a douchebag, but we also didn’t want to make him a doormat. We wanted to give him the complexity of somebody who is free, charming, funny, seemingly opposite to Donna’s—not that Donna’s very hip. We really made a point that the movie would seem timeless, including Donna’s wardrobe. We’re not putting her in skinny jeans or anything. What makes them opposite isn’t just Max’s preppy exterior; it’s that Donna doesn’t think she deserves such a hunky guy because she’s going through something pretty big right now: that post-breakup depression and feeling that you’re not worth anything. I think her self-esteem was pretty low before she took the stage, before the opening credits, and it was definitely whittled down to almost nothing when her boyfriend brutally dumps her. So there’s a lot going on as to why they wouldn’t be the couple that gets together at the end. We didn’t want to rely on the tropes of “the guy is a douche and then she changes him” or he sees something in her and he wants to be a better man. He’s respectful. He’s in awe of this funny, different woman that actually makes him laugh so much and makes him feel like he can make jokes, too. And Jake Lacy does such a wonderful job because he’s such a fine comedic talent and can really hold his own across from Jenny. They can zing off of each other in this way that’s really charming and also full of chemistry.

You worked with a lot of well-known actors in this film—David Cross, Richard Kind, Polly Draper, Gaby Hoffmann—but also a very well-known organization: Planned Parenthood. Can you talk about what its role in this was? It seems more nuanced than “this is just the place that she goes.”
We not only wanted to shoot in a Planned Parenthood, but we also wanted their input: we wanted to get it right. I don’t know how to do that unless you go straight to the source. There are other women’s health centers that could’ve given us that really important information, but I chose Planned Parenthood because I’m a member, so I get emails from them every day. And they were wonderful. When they read the script, they were onboard immediately because there’s a lot of scatological and self-depreciating humor—you never know how people are going to react. But they really did end up falling in love with Donna and the ideas we had behind why we wanted to make this movie, so it was a perfect marriage. I really am grateful to them, not just for helping with the movie, but also just for existing!

Why did you choose Paul Simon’s “Obvious Child” for the title, and how do you feel it fits into the movie itself?
No one likes this answer! It’s not very deep. I grew up listening to Paul Simon in the car with my parents, both Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints. Sitting in the back seat, staring out the window, listening to music—I would go off into my own world, and that’s where I felt inspired as a little girl to make movies. I feel so bad for kids now who expect a television show to be playing. But then you have to put that music away for a long time because it’s too much and you’ve played it to excess. And then I revisited it in my 20s, dancing around my house to that song, and I thought it would be a wonderful scene to show a one-night stand: when you get a little drunk, dance around, and that’s sort of a new kind of foreplay. Not feeding each other grapes or whatever they do in 80s movies—like in 9 ½ Weeks where they feed each other fruit by the fridge? If it were my fridge, I’d end up feeding somebody expired Dijon mustard. I like having a song as a fun, fresh way to do that typical sex/foreplay scene, and that song was just one of those songs that had a rhythmic, bombastic, sexual feeling anyway: a little playful, a little sad. It’s got all the things that I like! In terms of using it for the title, it allows the viewer to interpret it however they want, and feel however they want.

What are you working on next?
Well, we have the big premiere, which is very exciting, and the film’s going to play nationwide, and then it’s going to Europe. But I’m going back to Greenpoint to write a new movie about a family going through a divorce with Elizabeth Holm. But it’s a comedy, and it’ll have a role for Jenny. That’s my summer plan!