'For a Good Time, Call…': On Writing What You Know and Not Copying Judd Apatow (Video)
Seth Rogen’s wife Lauren Anne Miller makes her screenwriting and starring debut as a phone sex operator in the female friendship comedy.
“We took the old writer trick, which is write what you know, and what we knew was female friendship,” Lauren Anne Miller says of her screenwriting debut, For a Good Time, Call… The writer and actress penned the script alongside college roommate and best friend Katie Anne Naylon, who spent time moonlighting as a phone sex operator out of her freshman dorm at Florida State. (“The number was 1-866-FSU-TITS,” says Miller.)
“We were very different people,” Miller says of first meeting Naylon. “I’m sort of this rule follower and she’s more of a rule breaker -- or rule bender, if you will.”
The duo is, more or less, embodied on stage by Miller, playing Lauren Powell, and Ari Graynor as Katie Steele. And while the dirty talk (hilariously) takes center stage throughout the film, its purpose is to carry the girls from frenemies to gal pals.
“The comedy always needed to support the sweetness of the friendship between Lauren and Katie,” says director Jamie Travis. “I loved that it was a female friendship comedy. It immediately kind of harkened back to the great female friendship comedies of the ‘80s with Bette Midler and Shelley Long and Goldie Hawn, all my heroes, and I felt like those stories aren’t being told anymore.”
In The Hollywood Reporter’s review of the film, critic John DeFore describes it as “a feel-good raunch-com whose dirty-talk plot comes from a convincingly female perspective instead of feeling like cut-and-paste Apatow.”
“This is a movie made by women, for women, about women, and it’s not just about getting the guy,” says Miller. “I’m excited that we’re in this moment where there is a lot of excitement about movies like this and if we get a comparison to Bridesmaids, I will take it. I will run with it and I will be thrilled with it.”
Asked whether there was ever any pressure to separate themselves from Bridesmades, which has become the go-to comparison for any and all female comedies, Graynor notes that the script was written three years prior to the Kristen Wiig vehicle’s release.
“When you get into comparisons in any way of, ‘we want it to be like this’ or ‘we don’t want it to be like this,’ it takes away from the authenticity of what you’re trying to say and what you’re trying to make,” says Graynor, who also served as executive producer on the film.
For a Good Time, Call… opened at Sundance earlier this year. It opens in select theaters nationwide on Aug. 31.