Adam Scott is one of those actors who you see everywhere, but never get enough of. Whether he’s brooding in The Vicious Kind, mocking Will Ferrell in Step Brothers, or winning our hearts in Parks and Recreation, Adam Scott is always on point with an incredible range not often seen in Hollywood. With his new indie sex comedy, The Overnight, he deals with self-esteem, tackles male nudity with co-star Jason Schwartzman, and comments on the fluidity of sexuality—all while making you laugh.
The movie is funny, awkward, tender, and utterly without judgement. To strictly focus on the nudity would be doing The Overnight a disservice, since it’s the ingenious and unexpected way writer/director Patrick Brice unfolds the story that is so compelling. And at the heart of it all is the expertly chosen cast: Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling (Orange is the New Black), Jason Schwartzman, and Judith Godrèche. Like Peter Travers of Rolling Stone promises in his review, “See The Overnight for the pleasure of their company. You won't be disappointed.”
Scott was in San Diego this week promoting The Overnight at the W Hotel and I had exactly 15 minutes to ask him everything on my mind. While we didn’t cover everything, what we did talk about more than made up for it. Scott jumped from topic-to-topic, chatting openly about overcoming judgement, how the prosthetic penises were picked, nude beaches, disastrous preschool camping trips, and the “doozy of a story” on the next U Talkin’ U2 To Me? podcast (plus album recommendations).
It should go without saying, but be warned, because colorful language is used.
Photo Credit: The Orchard
MP: I really loved The Overnight. I went in without having read any interviews so it would be fresh, and I really loved how fluid sexuality is portrayed. There wasn’t any judgement between the characters. Was that present in the script or did it come through more in the performances?
AS: It was definitely there. It’s one of the things I found so interesting about the script and also a little intimidating, honestly. But you’re right, there was no judgement about Kurt [Schwartzman's character], for instance. I judged Kurt when I read it, but the script really wasn’t judging him. It was just kind of like, this is the kind of guy he is and I happened to get kind of creeped out by that kind of guy—the guys that are a little too generous with the compliments and kind of always touching you and super nice.
But then Jason playing him, without any judgement, made him so […] lovely and it solved the problem I had, which was, why would these people stay? Immediately Jason and Judith [Godrèche], [who] are so charming, and it’s like, “Well, yeah of course. I would definitely stay. I wouldn’t want to leave this place.” So, that was all there.
Photo Credit: The Orchard
MP: You’ve done most of the press touring with Schwartzman; is it strange or boring to continually talk about prosthetic penises now by yourself?
AS: Yeah, it’s strange either way. The two of us have been—solid for the last week—but since January when it premiered at Sundance, we have spent so much time talking about our d*cks. It is crazy.
MP: I was hoping that a company would have already put into production a reproduction of the prosthetics in the film…
AS: Like a Schwartzman dong. Any day now.
MP: You and your wife produced the film with your Gettin' Rad Productions company and you had to have had input in the prosthetic selection process. How did that work?
AS: I remember very specifically the email chain; it was Naomi, me, Patrick the director and Mark Duplass. [The prosthetic company] would send us photos like, “Here’s a big one and here’s a little one.” And they would hold an iPhone up next to it for scale. The first one had like, “Here’s the small one,” and Mark and I were kind of like, “Umm…really? So, that’s small? Is that what you…? Okay. Yeah, we kind of think that maybe that should be smaller. Cause…um…” So, we were all sort of questioning what we thought of as small or big and its funny, I think Naomi recently found the email chain. But yeah, it was a bunch of pictures of these […] half-finished prosthetic d*cks, so they’re like white or they're not fully shaped yet, so it was really weird.
Photo Credit: The Orchard
MP: Was it fun on-set while wearing them?
AS: Yeah, it felt like wearing just a really interesting pair of shorts.
MP: Or like a penis-inspired pair of Speedos.
AS: Now there’s the product we can sell—just a Speedo with a d*ck on it.
MP: Could you get arrested if you aren’t technically naked?
AS: Depends where you are!
MP: There’s a nude beach, Black’s Beach, in San Diego though, so you could go there.
AS: There is? That’s where Jason and I should go to promote this movie. I feel like we’d drum up some business out there. [But] on set it was fine. We were all nervous about it, but it ended up being fine, ‘cause you know, you’re not actually naked. You’ve got a fake d*ck on, so while it’s bizarre and it looks like two naked guys, we’re not naked.
MP: The film does a really great job of portraying that awkward reality for an adult with kids, being in a new place and trying to make friends. It’s really relatable, even for someone who doesn’t have children. Have you ever had any awkward moments in a similar situation?
AS: We’ve had awkward moments with other parents for sure. We were on a camping trip once with our kid's preschool class and […] it was around the campfire and the kids are asleep and we’re all just making s’mores and politely chatting before we all go to bed. And one of the dads was like, there to party and he got so f*cked up and started insulting the women and kind of bullying on this one other dad. It was crazy. But in retrospect, hilarious. It’s like, don’t you know that we’re all going to see each other Monday morning? At preschool? What are you gonna say to everybody?
MP: Maybe he was hoping he would black out and not remember.
AS: No, he remembered. You could tell on Monday morning that he remembered, and he was not psyched that that was what he had done. My god. So you get all kinds and that’s basically where we meet people now, it’s either through work or through our kids. ‘Cause that’s all we do.
MP: And then after the kids grow up, I imagine that would be a whole new phase in an adult’s life where you won’t have that parental connection anymore. That could be the sequel—what happens to the characters when the kids leave the house.
AS: Oh my god. So depressing. I just last night went to go see Inside Out in Toronto, by myself, away from my daughter and my family, and it was not a good idea—have you seen that movie?
MP: No, not yet. I heard there’s a particularly heartbreaking scene.
AS: The whole movie! I started losing it like, two minutes into the movie. It’s crazy how heartbreaking [it is].
MP: I cry during commercials so…
AS: You are going to cry the entire time. It’s beautiful. I mean, it’s a great movie.
MP: Okay, so go, but don’t wear eyeliner.
AS: Do not wear eyeliner. ‘Cause I wore a ton of eyeliner last night; it was a huge mistake.
MP: You have been in so many smaller independent projects, like The Vicious Kind, as well as huge blockbuster hits like Step Brothers—and then of course, Parks and Recreation—is it important for you to have one foot in both worlds or has it just turned out that way?
AS: I guess I don’t consciously try; there’s no big strategy to it. I just sort of find stuff that I think I could be good in or that interests me and it happens to be both. I love small movies too, but I also can’t wait to see Jurassic World, so my tastes are kind of wide ranging. And I like doing both things. I just did a studio movie this spring [Black Mass] and it was super fun and I got to shoot a gun and run around, and then immediately after I went and did a little intimate thing with Nick Kroll and Jenny Slate [My Blind Brother] that couldn’t be smaller. I love both.
MP: Now that you’ve worked with Jason Schwartzman, you think you may pop up in a Wes Anderson movie soon?
AS: I don’t know. It’s so great now that finally the Academy is recognizing Wes Anderson and that the mainstream is recognizing his movies. ‘Cause I remember The Darjeeling Limited and going to see it and no one was there.
MP: When is the next U Talkin’ U2 to Me? episode going to air?
AD: Soon. I have not been in town for more than a couple days at a time in a while and when I’m in town I can’t—with a clear conscious—tell my kids that I need to leave the house to go record with my dumb friend Scott [Aukerman]. So when I’m done promoting the movie I’m going to have a break and we’re going to find time. ‘Cause we went to see [U2] together, Scott and I, and we have a doozy of a story to tell, but we can’t tell it 'till we’re recording the new episode.
MP: Where would you suggest I start with U2? Because I’ve never really branched out farther than Joshua Tree.
AS: Really!? You’ve only heard part of Joshua Tree?
MP: I’ve listened to that one, I just haven’t listened to any others, including the free record on my iPhone.
AS: Okay…are you one of those people that got pissed off?
MP: No! But I was going to mention that.
AS: I just think there are things to get mad [about], like Ferguson and what happened in South Carolina. Those are things that you should get mad about. Someone trying to give you something? Who cares? If I was—I don’t know, what’s a band that annoys me?—I like The Eagles now, but when I was in my 20’s I remember I was like, “F*ck The Eagles!” For whatever reason I was just angry about The Eagles.
MP: It was Charles Dickens for me.
AS: Charles Dickens?!
MP: I don’t know why. I was 15.
AS: Sure, okay, of course. You have to pick some sort of fight [laughs]. So, if The Eagles forced me to take their new album—I even think then I probably would’ve just been like, “Oh, no I don’t want [it].” I don’t know if it would’ve made me mad. People, they’re acting like their civil rights have been infringed. I just thought it was ridiculous. The self-importance that people have because they have a Twitter account is crazy.
But I would say War is a good place to start, and side two of Joshua Tree—pay particular attention to that—and then Achtung Baby, you gotta! That is a great album. And then […] their new album is great. But also, Atomic Bomb. But, first half of All That You Can’t Leave Behind.
MP: I’m impressed you could list off recommendations so quickly! If I was asked to do this for someone I’m obsessed with, like Nick Cave, it would take me much longer.
AS: Oh really? […] He’s amazing. What about REM? Do you know REM? You gotta listen to them. I think we might do an REM podcast, but I don’t know if I want to because if people came on and joked about REM, it would hurt my feelings.
Sadly, it was at this point that our rambling chat was cut short so that the next journalist could come in and ask him about prosthetics all over again. If there’s one thing that shines through from our meeting though, it’s how seamlessly Scott transitions from jokes—like wearing a prosthetic penis to a nude beach—to infinitely more serious issues—like confronting one’s own insecurities about male closeness. It’s this dynamic that shines through in his work and is why his character in The Overnight is so effective and endearing. As viewers, we get to go through the awkward journey of self-discovery with these characters and hopefully, by the end, we all come out feeling a little bit more comfortable with who we are.
The Overnight was released in the USA June 19, but check your local theaters to see if it's hit your city yet.
Photo Credit: The Orchard