On Monday night, Chris and I had the chance to attend a special screening of Joe Swanberg’s new film Drinking Buddies over at the Nitehawk in Brooklyn. I had the chance to see the film at South by Southwest earlier this year and really loved it; you can read my review here. While at the event, Chris and I got to interview both Joe Swanberg and Olivia Wilde, giving us insights into the creative process of making a film without a script as well as learning about their favorite beers, upcoming projects and the status of Tron 3.
Below are both of our interviews for Olivia Wilde. You can read our interview with Joe Swanberg here.
Chris McKittrick: How familiar were you with your co-star Jake Johnson before filming Drinking Buddies?
Olivia Wilde: We kind of got lucky. We hadn’t spent any time together. We met in Kansas at a charity event called The Big Slick and we met in the Royals’ dugout over beer, appropriately. I said, “Are you doing this movie, Drinking Buddies?” and he said, “Yeah,” and I said, “You know there’s no script. Are you scared?” and he said, “Yeah.” And we made a pact then and there to just have each other’s backs and to have fun with it. We got lucky because we really got along and we were able to have that intimacy that works well for the film. The cool thing about Joe’s process is if we hadn’t had chemistry we still would have made the movie but just change the storyline to fit that.
CM: How comfortable were you with improv before you started filming?
OW: Pretty comfortable. Improv is a part of every actor’s training and it’s the most fun part. I had done a little bit of it here and there but never professionally at all. While we were shooting in Chicago I did an improv set at Second City which was amazing because that’s the temple of improv in this country. It was really wonderful, and I’ve done a lot more since. I had never done it long-form in a film before.
CM: What was it like portraying a character in such a male-dominated industry?
OW: Well I’m in a male-dominated industry, so it wasn’t too much of a stretch. I think Kate is a woman who really holds her own. She’s not intimidated by men and she’s not challenged by them. I don’t even think it bothers her that there aren’t many other women at the brewery, but I certainly learned from the real women who worked at the real Revolution brewery what it was like to operate as the only woman around.
CM: If a gentleman wanted to be your Drinking Buddy, what drink should he take you out for?
OW: Good beer! He’s got to know his beer. I mean, he’s going to have to come with me and my fiancé, but that’s even better. He’ll enjoy it that much more.
And here’s Alex’s interview with Olivia Wilde:
Alex DiGiovanna: I overheard before that you’re a little bit of a beer snob now, what are your favorite beers?
OW: I like Daisy Cutter, it’s a really nice flavorful aromatic beer from Three Floyds brewery, I like all the beers from Revolution of Chicago, I like Brooklyn IPA so those are probably my three go-tos.
AD: I’m assuming this is the most improv you’ve ever done in a film, what was it like basically working without a script and having to do it all for the entire film? I know there was an outline for the scenes.
OW: Yeah there was a rough outline we never saw. Joe had it, but we really just had to be open minded and trust each other and I think it made for really organic moments and it made us very present. You know, if you have no script we were all just listening very carefully to see if there was somewhere we wanted to take the scene and the freedom and choices of any kind, it was a really fertile, creative working environment. Everyone was just firing on all cylinders.
AD: Ever since Tron you’ve been churning out a lot of really big films, a few independents here and there like Butter, why did you decide to go in a different direction and work with a director that really only festival-goers know?
OW: Because of the quality of his work and clearly he likes complex strong female characters. I love how he and Greta Gerwig had worked together on Hannah Takes the Stairs, I loved how Joe’s process was so trusting of the actors, so I felt very lucky to be invited to be a part of it.
AD: And last quick question, any updates on Tron 3? Have your seen a script?
OW: Not that I know of, no I haven’t seen a script.
Drinking Buddies is now available on VOD and will be in select theaters starting this Friday, August 23.