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For Justin Long’s latest role, the actor drew inspiration from his director — but not in the way you might imagine.
In For a Good Time, Call…, co-starring Lauren Anne Miller and Ari Graynor, Long plays the gay best friend, Jesse, to both Miller and Graynor’s characters, bringing them together as roommates to end a longstanding, but silly, feud. And while the character was not originally written to reflect director Jamie Travis’ personality, Long injected the role with humorous reflections of the first-time helmer.
Travis recalls first meeting Long via telephone, when the actor proclaimed that he liked Travis’ voice. “Then we were having dinner and he was recording me on his iPhone reading lines from the script,” Travis tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Which, of course, I was at first uncomfortable with because the last thing I want is for him to do a caricature of me.”
Adds Miller, who co-wrote the screenplay: “We really wanted Jesse to be grounded, and especially Jamie, it was really important to him not to create a gay stereotype in our movie and to keep it someone who would be relatable and who would feel very real.”
The film’s costume designer had fun playing up the parallels between the duo, selecting Long’s costumes to reflect Travis’ real-life wardrobe. “It was all very meta,” jokes Miller.
But that’s not to say Jesse is a direct reflection of Travis.
“It really was a starting point for him,” says the director. “He injected a kind of comedy that doesn’t exist elsewhere in the film. He’s so unique as a character, and I see a little bit of me in there.”
For more about Long’s role in the Sundance hit, watch the video above. For a Good Time, Call… hits theaters Aug. 31.
Email: Sophie.Schillaci@thr.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci
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