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Meet the 2015 Sundance Filmmakers #15: Leslye Headland Uses Her Own Heartbreak for ‘Sleeping with Other People’

Meet the 2015 Sundance Filmmakers #15: Leslye Headland Uses Her Own Heartbreak for 'Sleeping with Other People'

Leslye Headland was last at Sundance for the premiere of her 2012 film “Bachelorette,” with Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan and Rebel Wilson. Since then she has developed some projects for television and wrote the script for the Kevin Hart film, “About Last Night.”

Headlan’s latest film, “Sleeping with Other People,” revisits similar themes of modern relationships. Years after impulsively losing their virginity to each other in college, Lainey (Alison Brie) and Jake (Jason Sudeikis) meet at a support group in New York (“What’s a nice girl like you doing at a sex addicts meeting?”). A spark resurfaces, but they’ve walked this road before. Abject failures in romance who lead lives of serial infidelity and self-sabotage, they agree to a platonic friendship to mutually support their recovery—and what’s more supportive than teaching your friend proper self-stimulation? Can love bloom while you’re sleeping with other people?

What it’s about: characters or less?
A charming womanizer and remorseful serial cheater help each other change their destructive dating patterns, forming an intimate friendship.

What it’s really about:
How my heart was irreparably broken. It’s a really funny movie about very lonely people.

Biggest challenge:
My own vulnerability. Watching my own past heartache day after day. That and shooting the film in less than a month.

Any films inspire you?
“Punch Drunk Love,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “The Apartment,” “Jaws,” “The Graduate,” “Living Out Loud,” “Fatal Attraction,” “Shampoo,” “When Harry Met Sally.”

Cameras used: Arri Alexa.

Did you crowdfund?
Jessica Elbaum at Gloria Sanchez secured financing from Sidney Kimmel Entertainment who provided funding. SKE believed in this project ever since it was an idea scribbled on a cocktail napkin, and I worked with Jessica on “Bachelorette.” She’s responsible for this film and my career coming to fruition. She’s a passionate advocate for female writers and directors.

Hopes for Sundance audience take-away:
When it comes to dating, you’re not as crazy as you think you are.

What’s next?
I’m collaborating with NBC, Universal Television and producers David Bernad and Ruben Fleischer along with Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan Joanna Coles on a single-camera half-hour comedy about a failed political blogger who becomes the new sex editor at a prestigious women’s magazine.

Indiewire invited Sundance Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2014 festival. For profiles go HERE. Indiewire invited Sundance Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2015 festival. For profiles go HERE.

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