During the Tribeca Film Festival, I had the absolute pleasure of speaking with Director Sam Boyd and actors Michael Angarano, Patrick Gibson, and Jay Ellis at the world premiere red carpet of “In a Relationship”.
Me: I heard that this is your second time at Tribeca with your second movie. Congratulations on that. Besides this short, what drew you to this character of Matt?
Patrick Gibson: I think it was kind of interesting reading a character who could be really caricature and sort of out there and like, the wacky and nerdy friend guy. But, actually it felt really truthful and I was like, “Yeah that was me as a kid.” I was not cool or able to talk to girls.
Me: Hey, same here!
Patrick Gibson: So yeah! I was like, “Hey, sign me up. I got this.” So yeah, I think it was that. It felt really human.
Me: There is this hilarious scene in the film where Matt is doing this magic trick to Willa. Did you know how to do that magic trick or was that all in the film?
Patrick Gibson: I am a magic nerd unfortunately, yeah. That’s all me so yeah. I think I did a trick for Sam [Boyd] one time. Interestingly, Dree [Hemingway] didn’t know we were going to do that and I did it once for her and her reaction was like, “Oh wow. How did you do that?”
Patrick Gibson: Like, she did not give a shit. So we did it again and the second reaction is her pretending that she loves my magic trick but really she didn’t. But thank you for remembering my magic trick. I appreciate that. At least you liked it.
Me: Ha ha. You’re welcome. So since this is a story set in LA, how was your experience filming in LA?
Patrick Gibson: It was amazing. Because I’m not from there it was good to be there and kind of absorb the atmosphere of the place. It is different from Ireland which is where I’m from so getting to hang with these guys and seeing where their life is like… It was really good. And it’s very beautiful there.
Me: This is a romantic comedy that explores two different sides to what it feels like to be in a relationship. I’m not really experienced with either one so what would you say is your best advice to anybody who will eventually end up in a relationship, whether they know it or not?
Patrick Gibson: I think maybe, and it’s kind of a takeaway from the character of Matt as well, don’t try to be something you’re not for somebody if that’s gonna to make them like you because if you’re going to be together for long enough they’re going to get to know you anyway. I don’t know. Do you and if somebody doesn’t like that, then move on to the next one I guess. Ha ha.
Me: Okay, final question. So, with every single moment you filmed on set what was the funniest moment you had?
Patrick Gibson: That’s tough. Because I think the funniest one I probably shouldn’t say because it might get me in trouble. Um, so we shot a scene that is up in the beginning of the movie where we’re all playing younger versions of ourselves and it was our last day of shooting. We were all way too excited like giddy school kids. It’s hard to pinpoint but the whole thing felt like, truly ridiculous that we were able to have that much fun making a movie. I think if you look close you can kind of see like, “Oh, they’re not definitely not pretending to take a piss and laugh.”
Me: This is a character that is very impulsive and doesn’t make the best decisions. How did it feel to take on this role?
Michael Angarano: You know, for me, I think, more than even being impulsive, more than even being a little selfish, he’s really a guy who is confused, a little lost, not really sure where he’s at or what he wants, just knows he’s not there yet. So that’s sort of the core of Owen and every other bad decision and questionable thought or action is sort of stemmed from an insecurity; and really I think he’s somebody who has been in a relationship for five years and he doesn’t know if it’s the relationship he wants to be in for the rest of his life. On top of that, he’s not quite where he wants to be yet as an individual… as like, a human so he knows he has some growing to do and um… I think the movie, even though it’s called ‘In a Relationship’, is more on the individuals questioning the value of a relationship in their lives. Y’know it’s so much less about relationships than it is about people figuring out what they want out of life.
Me: During research for the film, I saw that you’ve worked with director Sam Boyd several times before. What made you want to work with him again on this project?
Michael Angarano: I’ve known Sam for ten years now and we’ve sort of grown together in a way and I think I always knew the movie Sam wanted to make and I thought his short film called, ‘In a Relationship’ that he made before this was great. And he had a specific voice that represented what it is to be in your twenties and you really can’t fake that voice. And so often you read things that are written by 50-year-old men and women about young people and you can’t. You just can’t do it. And so Sam wanted to make a movie that was the more unconventional romantic comedy. The one where maybe the couple doesn’t end up together in the end and maybe there isn’t a grand romantic gesture move where the guy tries to get the girl back or the girl tries to get the guy back. It’s much more about people not really being sure of themselves and questioning what they want and what they need or what they think they need and what they really want. It’s more about people being lost a little bit and finding themselves through other people.
Me: Okay, final question. Throughout the duration of filming, what was the most fun moment you had on set?
Michael Angarano: Really, truly it was one of the great filming experiences because of the fact that, with such a young cast, and Sam is young and y’know… It’s really a privilege that I got to call it work because it was constantly fun.
Me: First off, congratulations on the movie. One of the best things that I loved while watching it was how you have these two separate couples that are going through a process of a breakup, potentially, and then there’s this other couple that don’t know wether to put on labels or not. How was like to write those different relationships?
Sam Boyd: It was fun. It was cool. The reason I did it was because I thought it was an interesting way to have them kind of act like, as a point counterpoint where on the one hand you’re looking at what it’s like when you first meet somebody and how fun that can be, and on the other hand you’re looking at how stale things can get after a little bit even if you still love a person. I wanted the movie to feel like a compendium of ideas and observations and details about being a young person in a relationship in 2018. So, part of that was being able to plug anything into that. A lot of situations and a lot of little things fall into one of those two categories and so I made it so I was able to broaden the canvas and broaden the scope of the story. And it was also fun because it started as a short film and when I made the short film, I had only been in a short-term-fling kind of thing when I made the short which was a couple of years ago. And in the time it took to make the feature, which takes a few years, I started dating someone and we moved in together and I live with her now and we’re totally in love and deeply committed. So it was fun to go from writing a short where it was a lot of guesswork. I still had these two types of couples in the short. Everything about the fling couple in the short I knew like the back of my hand, but everything about the long-term couple was guesswork. It was me kind of going, “Oh, what can these people be fighting about? What would they be interested in? Or, what can be going on between them?” It was me kind of speculating because I’ve never been in that situation. So in the time [it took] to make the feature, I was able to really fill in those gaps. I think the feature is a lot more richer because it’s not me just guessing, it’s me knowing what it feels like to be in both situations.
Me: So since you made the short in 2015 and it’s 2018 now, how was the writing process between, well, throughout those years?
Sam Boyd: It was good. For me I treated the script like an ever-evolving thing. So a lot of times with a script you’ll kind of finish the story and be like, “Okay the script is done. I’m not going to work on it anymore because that’s the script.” But this was a movie where I always wanted to keep adding to it and always be changing it and bringing new ideas in as actors became to get involved and people helped me make it. Bringing their experience in it too helped build it out and helped enrich it. So that was like, I think, beyond the initial writing process, that is where it became alive once we were all kind of making it. We were able to kind of like, have it be more collaborative than it had been when I was just trying to write it and get it made.
Me: How was it working with Emma Roberts in that one scene that you two shared?
Jay Ellis: Emma was great! We had a couple of scenes together. We had a lot of fun a lot of laughs. Um, she’s an absolute sweetheart and a true professional. I remember there is this one scene in the movie where I’m above her as we’re getting ready to have sex and I start doing this thing like, I’m doing the cat cow like, I’m doing yoga and she improvised in the middle of it. I thought it was Emma commenting but she was actually in character cause she just turns on like–
–THAT! She was like, in the pocket and in character. She was just dope and super smart and like, a joy to work with.
“Long-term couple Owen and Hallie are breaking up (or maybe not?). Just as their relationship reaches a turning point, Matt and Willa embark on a romance of their own. A funny, deeply felt chronicle of one summer in the lives of two couples.” Read our review of the film here!
‘In a Relationship’ will release this year through Vertical Entertainment.