The old writing maxim to “write what you know” has worked for me – up to a point. While there’s nothing specific in the film “The Overnight” that was drawn from my personal experience, it was largely inspired by my experience being a transplant to L.A. I originally grew up in a really small town in Northern California. I moved out when I was 17 and moved to San Francisco where I lived for about eight years before moving to Los Angeles. I was familiar with L.A. and I always had a good time when I came to visit, but living there is a whole different experience. There’s a lot of wonderful things to do in terms of food or going to see movies or music, and even some very specific and great versions of nature.
I live in Silver Lake [Los Angeles] where there are lots of artists and filmmakers living. But there are also a lot of people living there who you’re not really quite sure what they do for a living or how they’re able to afford these giant houses or their fancy outfits. Even if you end up talking to them, they’re not completely clear about what they do or how they’re able to lead these lives. I think that was the jumping-off point for Jason Schwartzman’s character Kurt in “The Overnight.”
When I was living in San Francisco, I was a personal assistant for the last three years I was living there. I worked amongst a lot of extremely wealthy people who could do whatever they wanted with their lives. I felt like there was a lot of humor and goofiness to be mined from someone living that experience. I thought having these transplants to LA would be an interesting lens to view that through.
I didn’t want to do a parody of L.A. because that’s already been done. Also, if you make a movie like that, it can quickly be dated. With a movie like “LA Story,” which is great, it feels so embedded in 1991 when it was made. I wanted to avoid specific cultural indicators. I wanted Kurt and Charlotte’s general weirdness to just exist in that L.A. space.
So while the characters are definitely not based on me or my friends or family, I feel like I can relate to all of them. I think by the end of the movie they all, hopefully, become sympathetic characters or characters that you feel like you somewhat have an understanding of their experience or where they’re coming from. If I had to pick one I could relate to most, it would probably Adam Scott’s character Alex because there’s a similar dynamic in my personal relationship where my wife definitely has her shit together more than I do. I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this if it wasn’t for her. That’s for damn sure. Filmmaking is inherently a ridiculous, crazy pursuit and it’s such a crapshoot when it comes to deciding to do this for a living and to have a partner that is supporting you in – that is a necessity for me.
On “Creep,” there were no autobiographical elements to the story at all besides trying to draw in times in my life where I’ve put myself in a position where I could be harmed or where I found myself in a position because of choices I’ve made that were more dangerous or potentially sinister than I thought it would end up being. That’s explored to an extent in “The Overnight” as well. With “Creep,” I thought it was a cool jumping-off point for a movie.
Both “Creep” and “The Overnight” definitely deal with some of the same things. Both films are about trust. Both films are about the potential pitfalls of inviting new people into your life. Being on my own since I was 17, I left high school early, I dropped out in my junior year and went to go start junior college, basically, in San Francisco. Being on my own in that way, I ended up finding myself in a lot of situations where I was really having to navigate stuff that I was unprepared for, whether it was knowing I could trust someone or not in a situation. At this point in my life, I’m pretty good at following my intuition when it comes to meeting other people and setting up boundaries and knowing how much I’m going to give myself to this new person entering my life in a given situation. I think both of these films reflect that slight paranoia about that. With “Creep” being maybe the worst-case scenario and “The Overnight” having a more optimistic outcome.
Watch the trailers for “The Overnight” and “Creep” below:
Patrick Brice, whose first two feature films premiere this month, was born and raised in GrassValley, CA. In 2000 he took the G.E.D. and left high school his junior year. He went on to graduate from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) School of Film & Video in 2011. His thesis film “Maurice” premiered at Rotterdam and went on to win the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Documentary at the Florida Film Festival. “Creep,” his first feature film as director/writer/actor (co-starring Mark Duplass), was acquired by Blumhouse Productions and premiered at SXSW 2014 before being picked up for distribution by TWC-RADIUS. His second feature “The Overnight” premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. He lives and works in Los Angeles.