Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson Take the 'Training Wheels' Off in 'Drinking Buddies' (Video)
The actors, starring in Joe Swanberg's latest, describe working without a script as "organized chaos" and say the only requirement for being cast was to love beer.
If there was one common trait among the cast and crew of Joe Swanberg's Drinking Buddies, it had to be a love of beer.
Asked to name her drink of choice, Olivia Wilde says, "Unfortunately, I like beer."
"Unfortunately," the Irish-American actress says, because "you can only drink a certain amount of beer before you float to the ceiling."
Wilde stars in Drinking Buddies as the lone lady working in a Chicago brewery alongside Jake Johnson and real-life beau Jason Sudeikis. While Wilde spends her days as a marketer and event planner, Johnson brews. Together, they drink (and they flirt).
The duo, alongside co-stars Ron Livingston and Anna Kendrick, quickly built an endearing chemistry both onscreen and off, bringing mumblecore vet Swanberg's ideas to life without any semblance of a script and leaving the filmmaker to shape the story in postproduction.
"It's taking off the training wheels," Wilde tells The Hollywood Reporter. "We've come to describe it as organized chaos because Joe had an outline, we didn't know anything beyond his description of that outline -- I never even got it on paper. He described it to me over the phone, I wrote it on a napkin.
"But then, we dove into it -- and with an open mind -- and we shot probably enough for seven movies and Joe wrote the movie in post by editing it down and carving out the story."
For both Wilde and Johnson, the finished product came as a pleasant surprise.
"I think it's a really nice movie," says Johnson. "But I also think, on a movie like this, the director really has to know what he wants, and I think you need a certain cast. If one person isn't playing for the whole team, if they're trying to make this be the star performance and their own moment, it doesn't work, because we're writing it as we go."
While casting his film, Swanberg met with his actors via Skype for a chat -- not a formal audition. Johnson believes that the main requirement for being cast was "that we understood beer and loved it," but Swanberg says he was actually looking a bit deeper.
"I just knew I needed to find actors that had a rich life outside of the movies," Swanberg tells THR, noting that all four of his main actors are politically engaged and have rich family lives. "The kind of improv that I do where I'm asking them to contribute a lot and be really conversational, I knew I needed to cast people who could hold up their end of the conversation and have a lot of experience to draw from."
And after 18 days of filming in Chicago, the cast and crew were presented with a craft beer -- brewed by Swanberg, Wilde and Johnson -- to bring home to their families. (Or enjoy on their own.)
Drinking Buddies, which premiered at SXSW earlier this year, is now available on iTunes and VOD. It opens theatrically in New York on Aug. 23 and in Los Angeles on Aug. 30.
For more from the actors, watch the video above. For THR's complete interview with Swanberg, click over to the next page.
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