Working with your spouse can be challenging whatever your profession, but when your job requires that you wear a prosthetic penis, things could get that much more complicated. But that wasn’t the case for Naomi and Adam Scott, who produced Patrick Brice’s recently released sex comedy “The Overnight” through their production company.
In the film, Adam plays Alex, who, along with his wife (played by Taylor Schilling), moves to L.A. from Seattle with their young son and is looking to make new friends. Things get weird when they meet up with a charismatic stranger (Jason Schwartzman) at the local playground and he brings them home to meet his beautiful wife (Judith Godrèche). As the two couples become intimate, Alex’s hang-up about his small penis becomes a major plot point (thus, the prosthetic penis).
Indiewire recently chatted with the producing power couple about working together and how they can relate to the film.
Congratulations on “The Overnight.” I understand it’s the first feature through your production company. Can you tell me a little bit about how you got involved with the project?
Naomi Scott (NS): Well, we have been friends with Mark Duplass for a number of years; our kids go to the same school, and we lived in the same neighborhood. So we had the opportunity of talking with him regularly about doing something together. And we had just finished our series for [Cartoon Network’s] Adult Swim, “The Greatest Event in Television History” and we were looking for a feature to develop. [Mark] thought of us, thankfully, when Patrick Brice had written the script–they had worked on the idea together–he thought it would be a great first project for us. And Mark being such a collaborator, he said, “You guys should be in it and you guys should produce it, and here’s Patrick,” and we met, and it was kind of a love connection. We all got along really well. And I think the script we both read around the same time. We thought it was so funny, and kind of struck a chord with Adam and me as parents, navigating this world of meeting other parents, and just thought it would make a really interesting movie.
Adam Scott (AS): Yeah. We thought it was a really funny script, but also really insightful and moving. We were excited by it right away.
What’s your goal with your production company?
AS: We have similar tastes, and we just wanna make stuff that we would wanna watch. We love comedy, obviously, but we also wanna…I think “The Overnight” is a good harbinger of things to come. It has a lot of funny stuff in it, but there’s a very kind of grounded truth to it as well. All of my favorite comedy has always been of the grounded variety. Even “MacGruber.” I think that MacGruber is a really grounded character. So there’s at least one foot on the ground. That’s where I think all the really funny stuff comes from.
I know this film was quite low-budget. Are you thinking for future films staying in that budget range?
AS: No, we’re interested in everything.
NS: Nothing’s really ready to announce, but our next feature is probably a bigger budget–but still manageable. We’re a small company. It’s really just Adam and me and a couple others. We have a deal with Universal–it’s on the TV side of things–we’re quite busy as well. We also have two people we answer to, ages six and eight, so we are balancing everything. [laughs.] We’re not in any hurry to build up tremendously. We like the idea of being able to have a life. Certainly for “The Overnight,” it was a quick shoot, but we feel it when we’re away from our kids and normal life for too long. So we’re balancing it.
Naomi, I know on “The Overnight,” you played a number of roles–obviously not on screen…
NS: Thank God.
You worked as first AD, costume designer, locations manager, and, is this title actually correct–in New York Magazine they said you were the “prosthetics assistant.” Is that the case? Were you credited as “prosthetics assistant?”
NS: I was never on a call sheet as that, and I will say that I did assist with prosthetics for Adam, but not Jason. He was on his own. [laughs.] But I was game, and Adam was game, for me to help out. Because truthfully, Elle Favorule, who was our head makeup/art department, she was the one who needed–literally–a hand.
And has this been an issue with friends and family pulling you aside and saying, really, is this a problem for you? Can people separate the real life from the film?
AS: What problem is that? The small penis? [laughs.] No, you know, I think the prosthetics have been such a conversation piece press-wise that I think everybody kind of knows it’s not mine.
You don’t need to walk around with a shirt that says “I do not have a small penis.”
AS: Exactly, exactly. I think that the cool thing about what Patrick wrote is it’s mostly a self-image problem than a real…it’s more about how [Alex] feels about himself, and he kind of pushes through it. And by the end of the movie, we have someone who’s hopefully a little more confident in their own skin.
What are the pros and cons of working with your real-life partner?
NS: We sometimes just have to remind ourselves to not talk about work–which gets harder and harder to do. Going back to “let’s just have a minute to decompress,” especially in times like now, when we’re just doing interviews and a lot of press together. It hasn’t posed a major problem in the relationship. It’s just thinking of ways to act like a normal couple who don’t work together.
AS: I think we’re really lucky that we work really well together. We didn’t totally know how well we would work together. We made our show, “The Greatest Event in Television History,” and it just clicked. It just worked. So it’s been great. We’ve been really lucky.
What would you say was the biggest challenge in terms of producing “The Overnight?” How long did it take from the time you signed on, to, let’s say, the time it premiered at Sundance?
NS: I think we signed on in late summer 2013, and then we brought it to Sundance in January 2015. So about a year and a half. Pretty fast, yeah. In terms of what was the biggest struggle…the day we wrapped was just really the most exhausting and fulfilling thing. I just happily made it through the other side of production with such a short shoot. So I think that was the biggest thing. Just wrapping our heads around getting it done. And I think because did “Greatest Event,” we had to shoot those things in a handful of days–less than a week. So it was really…that was our challenge; that was our test ground for if we could do it. And we work pretty fast, so I’m happy that we were able to finish that shoot real quick. On time.
What advice would you give to producers trying to shoot something at a similar budget, similar time frame? What did you learn through the process?
AS: I guess that you just try to keep the numbers low as far as crew members, shooting days, try to find a script that has just a few characters in it. All those elements were really lined up for us on this. If you look at “The One I Love,” that’s another good example that’s just, like, four speaking parts in that movie. This one has six. You can tell endless stories–fascinating stories–you can tell with all those elements at play. And you can make a movie for, you know, a song, if you do it right and…I mean, we made this one in 12 days. So I think you can, if you really come at it from the right place, achieve a lot with a small amount of money and people.
NS: It doesn’t hurt to have a really good script.
Watch the trailer for “The Overnight” below:
READ MORE: Patrick Brice on Harnessing Real-Life Paranoia to Create ‘The Overnight’ and ‘Creep’