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Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister-Jones on Moving From Microbudgets to 'Lola Versus'

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire June 11, 2012 at 12:47PM

The last time Indiewire caught up with Daryl Wein, he was about to unspool a very tumultuous period in his relationship with actress Zoe Lister-Jones via his mico-budget romantic dramedy "Breaking Upwards," which they both wrote. Unlike the couple in "Breaking Upwards," Wein and Lister-Jones are still very much an item (they just bought an apartment together in Brooklyn) and have continued to collaborate together, leading to their second film together, the romantic comedy "Lola Versus" starring Greta Gerwig.
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Zoe Lister-Jones and Daryl Wein on the set of "Lola Versus"
Fox Searchlight Zoe Lister-Jones and Daryl Wein on the set of "Lola Versus"

The last time Indiewire caught up with Daryl Wein, he was about to unspool a very tumultuous period in his relationship with actress Zoe Lister-Jones via his micobudget romantic dramedy "Breaking Upwards," which they both wrote. Unlike the couple in "Breaking Upwards," Wein and Lister-Jones are still very much an item (they just bought an apartment together in Brooklyn) and have continued to collaborate together, leading to their second film together, the romantic comedy "Lola Versus" starring Greta Gerwig.

Their second feature find the duo working with Fox Searchlight (they signed a three-film deal with the studio) to tell the tale of Lola (Gerwig), a woman nearing 30 who gets unceremoniously dumped by her fiance. Lister-Jones co-stars as Lola's best friend Alice, but Wein stays behind the camera this time around.

Indiewire sat down with the couple in Manhattan to discuss their good fortune, the similarities between their two films and what they have in the works.

Did you make "Breaking Upwards" as a kind of calling card?

Lister-Jones: We were sort of coming up with all these other D.I.Y. filmmakers, and I think "Breaking Upwards," in some ways, was a response to that movement because I think, for us, we wanted to represent our generation in a way that also had production value. And I think we wanted to challenge ourselves; even on a microbudget, work with SAG actors and lights and a D.P. and a script that was really, you know, honed.

Wein: Yeah, to have a structured screenplay; which we also worked really hard on for "Lola Versus."

Compare the two experiences for me -- making "Breaking Upwards" vs. your first studio picture.

Wein: [With "Breaking Upwards"] there was so much of Zoe and I wearing all these different hats and making decisions of our own in our living room. And, all of a sudden we had, you know, three producers and Fox Searchlight, so we were definitely developing and discussing the ideas more openly with a team. Which is great in that it challenges you to continue to make the best movie you can possibly make. Oftentimes when it’s just us, we get so tunnel-vision and so in our own worlds: like we’re in a vacuum and it’s really nice to sometimes have outside perspectives come in. And you can only ask your friends and parents to read your scripts so many times [laughs].

They’re not going to say anything too harsh.

"Lola Versus"
Fox Searchlight "Lola Versus"
Wein: Right. And it’s really nice to have veteran producers and distributors who’ve made tons of movies before and have real insight into how screenplays are structured, tell us what they think is interesting and smart as well.

Lister-Jones: A real asset was that they’re well versed in broadening the appeal while still protecting a singular vision. Especially Fox Searchlight, I think that’s sort of what makes them such a cool studio; is that they’re very filmmaker driven but their films have a pretty wide audience. So I think that was really cool for us because I think that’s also the sort of wheelhouse that we’re interested in -- in making commercially minded films that are still really independent in spirit.

This article is related to: Interviews, Lola Versus, Daryl Wein, Zoe Lister Jones







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