In the new comedy The Overnight — about two married couples who spend an unexpectedly wild evening together — there’s a scene in which one of the husbands, Kurt (Jason Schwartzman), encourages the insecure Alex (Adam Scott) not to be ashamed of his physical shortcomings. Far from sober at this point, Alex strips naked and dances triumphantly around the pool with the also-nude Kurt.
A funny scene for the audience, to be sure, but more than a little nerve-wracking for the actors.
“I was really nervous,” Scott admits. “Every movie has that one scene that everybody is dreading, and that was the one for this movie. We were really freaked out. The day comes, and we put on these prosthetic penises. There was a weird psychological barrier because they’re fake — you sort of feel protected in a weird way. It looks real. It’s all I have on. For all intents and purposes, everybody’s seeing what I look like naked, but it felt like a piece of clothing. ... It ended up being easier than we all thought.”
So easy, in fact, Scott and Schwartzman got used to the feeling pretty quickly: “We both felt a lot more comfortable than we should have. After awhile we were hanging out on set in them.”
There are plenty of other crazy moments in The Overnight, which opens Friday. Alex and Emily (Taylor Schilling of Orange Is the New Black) are new to Los Angeles, hoping they can make friends (especially Alex, a stay-at-home dad). When he takes their young son to the park, Alex meets Kurt, who’s married to Charlotte (French actress Judith Godrèche). Kurt invites Alex and Emily over for dinner, which includes a meal, yes, but also plenty of booze and pot, skinny dipping and an increasingly unnerving swingers vibe.
But there’s a hidden serious note in the movie that touches on the real difficulties of making friends when you’re an adult and keeping a marriage thriving when you’ve been together for years.
“If you’re a grown-up, if you have a family with kids, your roots are deeper every day,” says Scott, who’s married to producer/writer Naomi Scott; they have two children. “You sort of become more comfortable of how you fit in the world, but people also start getting stagnant in their lives. Sometimes that’s a good thing — these characters are craving reinvention.”
A veteran of such films as Friends With Kids, Hot Tub Time Machine 2, Step Brothers and The Guilt Trip, Scott also has been a part of the TV ensemble comedies Parks and Recreation — “she’s so much fun,” he says of star Amy Poehler — and the short-lived but hilarious Party Down.
Both series had excellent ensemble casts — although Scott says you never know how things will go until everyone starts working together.
“We had a good feeling with The Overnight,” he says. “We knew each other’s work. ... Until you’re saying the dialogue you don’t really know how it’ll go, but we were lucky to get this great cast. Everybody was really game. There wasn’t much money to make the movie, no trailers, no privacy, just a group of people who were really into it.”
Scott doesn’t seem to have a real preference for movies or TV: “I love TV because it’s fast, and it’s nice to be working near home, but I love making movies.” He has just finished shooting the film My Blind Brother in Cleveland (it co-stars Parks and Recreation alums Jenny Slate and Nick Kroll as well as Zoe Kazan).
And he wouldn’t rule out a dramatic role some day.
“I take it project by project,” he says. “I love comedy, but I’m not actively seeking out any particular genre. I’ve directed a little bit. I want to do more of that. ... I would love to direct a movie, but I haven’t found the material yet that speaks to me.”