Since 2005, director Joe Swanberg has shot over a dozen feature-length DIY films. He helped kick off the term "mumblecore" in 2005 with his debut, "Kissing on the Mouth," and he's known for micro-budgeted indies like "Hannah Takes The Stairs" (which helped launch Greta Gerwig's career), "Nights & Weekends" and "Alexander The Last." But after making about fourteen features (plus shorts) in about seven years, Swanberg's finally trying his hand at something different: a sort-of Hollywood film called "Drinking Buddies," starring the biggest names that have ever been in any of his films: Anna Kendrick, Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson ("New Girl"), Ron Livingston and director Ti West.
But if Swanberg has "gone Hollywood," that seems like a relative term. Premiering at SXSW 2013 in March, SXSW Magazine has a profile on the movie and Swanberg, which reveals that the movie is set within the world of craft beer brewing — evidently Swanberg is an amateur brewmaster — and follows two people trying to find balance as they become more than friends. And while Swanberg was working with a crew of 40-50 people and 200 extras (his crews used to average five people total) and the film was packaged by CAA, the filmmaker apparently took the same approach as he has in the past, meaning that essentially there was no script and most of the film was improvised.
Shot by "Beasts Of The Southern Wild" cinematographer Ben Richardson, even if the end result still feels like a Joe Swanberg movie, at least we'll know it should be a pretty gorgeous one to look at. SXSW has provided a first-look image of the film, and it features Wilde and Johnson looking, well, rather hungover, which makes sense given its title and milieu. "Drinking Buddies" premieres at the SXSW Film Festival, which kicks off March 8th.