Born and raised in Grass Valley, California, Patrick Brice is a writer and director who gained traction with his 2011 documentary short Maurice. His first feature film, Creep, which he also starred in alongside Mark Duplass, was released in 2014. Brice’s most recent film, The Overnight, premiered at Sundance 2015, where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize.
Born in Paris, Judith Godrèche is an actor who has been a presence in French cinema since her first role at age 13 in L’Éte prochain. She is known internationally for a huge array of films, including L’auberge espagnole, The Disenchanted, The Man in the Iron Mask, and Ridicule.
A comedy written & directed by Patrick Brice and produced by Mark Duplass, The Overnight stars Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman and Judith Godrèche. The film centers on family “playdate” between two couples and their children, which devolves into an absurd and hilarious escapade as the night grows later.
A director, producer, actor and screenwriter, Mark Duplass is known for The League, The Lazarus Effect and The One I Love. He and his brother, Jay Duplass, make and support many films through their production company, Duplass Brothers Productions, including The Puffy Chair, Skeleton Twins and Safety Not Guaranteed.
Starring Judith Godrèche alongside Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling and Jason Schwartzman, The Overnight is writer-director Patrick Brice’s second feature film. Godrèche was enlisted with the help of the film’s producer, Mark Duplass, who also starred in, co-wrote and produced Brice’s 2014 feature debut, Creep. Premiering at Sundance 2015, The Overnight came away with a nomination for the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize. The film, set in the Silver Lake neighborhood of LA, is a comedic escapade between two married couples on what began as an innocent parent-child sleepover planned in the local park, and escalates into a nearly erotic all-nighter.
Brice and Godrèche sit down and discuss filming The Overnight in just 11 days, writing a script about sex that never happens and their preferred directorial styles.
Judith Godrèche: You don’t have kids, right?
Patrick Brice: No, not yet.
JG: But you’re married.
JG: You wrote two scenes in the film in which kids walk in on adults having sex. Do you have a fear that this is going to happen when you have a child? Because this is not your experience, right?
PB: Right. This is the psychoanalyst in you coming out! I mean, obviously it’s what kids do in the movie, and so maybe it is projecting the future a little bit. Also, it was a way to break the tension.
JG: But it also has do with this theme [in the film]—when something is about to happen between adults, there is a young person who just puts an end to it.
PB: Right, and this is just the most blatant version of that happening. It’s funny because it actually speaks to another facet of the movie, which is that it’s a movie about sex but no one… cums.
JG: Yeah, exactly.
PB: It’s kind of inevitable that it ends up in this middle space. As a parent, was there anything in the film that you responded to when you first read this script? Did this seem like a foreign version of parenting to you, or maybe a particularly American version?
JG: Well, I really loved the idea that there’s a magical dad who comes up with a way of putting kids to sleep because my kids would just never go to bed! It took them a long time to fall asleep. So, I found this idea that a guy would play piano or create ambience with lights kind of amazing. I also think it’s great—the implication of dads in the film. It’s not the mom putting the kids to bed. It’s the dad, Jason [Schwartzman].
“It’s a movie about sex
but no one… cums.”
— Patrick Brice
PB: Post-feminist daddy-duty. Did you used to play music for your kids before you put them to bed?
JG: No. I sung, but mostly I told stories—forever and ever until I had no more ideas because I would invent them. I would invent a character, and every night I had to come up with another story for this character. I told stories from my childhood a lot, but then I would run out.
When I read the script, I had no idea who you were. It was sent to me by Mark Duplass, who I knew. I knew his work and his taste for tasty things and his talent for discovering other talents. So when I read the script, I was trying to imagine who could have written it! And when I met you, for some reason it seemed completely natural that it was you.
But also, do you realize that you are a very quiet, more cerebral person? You are more reserved. You’re not a goofy guy—or is that because I’ve never seen you drunk? Do you feel people are surprised that this is your movie? Have you met anyone after they’ve seen your movie, and they’re like, “Oh, you directed this?” Because the film is funny and crazy, and you don’t come off as a crazy person.
PB: No, and it’s funny that you say that because I’ve become more self-conscious about how I talk about the movie, especially now since it’s come out. I know that I tend to go to more of the serious, self-analytical places. My favorite part about film school was the theory. I loved talking about the meaning of cinema, and related to a movie like this, that seems very left field. When you first read this script and were responding to the funny stuff, what did you expect?
JG: I expected this person to be kind of like Mark. I mean, not exactly Mark but someone who wasn’t going to be either goofy or heavy because I didn’t think the script was goofy or heavy. But it was still crazy in a way. The script has its own wildness. And it’s also so well-written that I knew the person was going to be someone classy. You come across as someone very reserved and very serious.
PB: Well, I think I was also nervous when I met you! You were the first actress I’d ever met with about a project. So that experience was me not wanting to seem like an idiot, obviously. Those kinds of meetings feel like a blind date, you know? You put on a version of yourself, and I always tend to go with the more serious version of myself.