Last night, Examiner.com was on the scene for a special Brooklyn screening of Magnolia Pictures’ "Drinking Buddies" at Nitehawk Cinema. From the film: Olivia Wilde and director Joe Swanberg were joined by additional celebrity guests AndrewAndrew, Hale Appleman, Will Bates, Anna Boden, David Call, Rebecca Dayan, Heidi Ewing, Alex Karpovsky, Maya Kazan, Zachary Levi, Thomas Matthews, Matt McGorry, Keith Poulson, Ry Russo-Young, Kate Lyn Shiel, Whit Stillman, Craig Zobel and Eric West.
The 90 minute film, which is now available on demand and in itunes, hits theaters this Friday, August 23. Prior to the screening guests were served Revolution beer (the same brewery where the film was shot) and Kings County Whiskey. Once in the theater, the drinking continued and everyone was treated to the "Greatest Sandwich Ever," inspired by a scene in the film.
Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson) work together at a craft brewery. They have one of those friendships that feels like it could be something more. But Kate is with Chris (Ron Livingston), and Luke is with Jill (Anna Kendrick). And Jill wants to know if Luke is ready to talk about marriage. The answer to that question becomes crystal clear when Luke and Kate unexpectedly find themselves alone for a weekend.
Q: First off, what's your favorite beer?
Wilde: I really love a beer called Daisy Cutter from Three Floyds Brewery in Indiana and it was one of the breweries where we trained during beer boot camp for "Drinking Buddies."
Q: How did you get attached to the project?
Wilde: I knew of Joe Swanberg's work, I was a fan. I heard that he was gearing up to make another one and there was all sorts of excitement about that, who he would cast cause everybody knows his process is incredibly gratifying and unique and I threw my hat in the ring and it turned out they were interested and so Joe and I Skyped and there we have it.
Q: I know that there was a lot of improvisation, how did you handle that? Was it difficult?
Wilde: It's not difficult, it just takes great partners. We had no script, we improvised every scene, every line, and it was fun because we had such a great group of people. You know, amazing cast, amazing director, and it meant that so much of the writing in the film was done in editing.
Q: What's coming up in the future for you?
Wilde: I have a few movies coming out this fall. There's one called "Rush," which comes out in September. Ron Howard directed it. One called "Her" by Spike Jonze. One called "Third Person" by Paul Haggis. And... maybe a few more!
Director Joe Swanberg
Q: First off, what would you say your favorite beer is?
Swanberg: My favorite beer... if you took me to a desert island and I could only bring one beer is Three Floyd's Zombie Dust. To me, that's like the epitome of... they're a brewery outside of Chicago, in Indiana. I don't think they have made it to New York yet.
Q: How did you come up with the basic concept for "Drinking Buddies"?
Swanberg: I wanted to do something set in the world of craft beering, and I'm a home brewer and a huge beer fan, so that was an early inspiration. And then also Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice was a big influence, Paul Mazursky's movie. And I wanted to take the romantic comedy formula and make something more interesting, you know, something that was more rooted in reality and complicated the picture a little bit.
Q: With this movie you've put together an exceptional cast with Olivia, Jake, Anna, and Ron. Can you tell me what it was like working with them?
Swanberg: It was amazing. You know, I was fans of all their work before so it was fun to work with people who I already admired and knew I liked their stuff. And then they're all so smart and funny and fun to work with that it made the shooting a total pleasure. I mean I really woke up so happy every morning and so excited to come to set every day.
Q: Olivia's here tonight as well, what makes her perfect as Kate?
Swanberg: She's perfect for improv because she's so smart and because she has such a rich life outside of the film industry that she just has so much to draw upon. And then I feel like she's perfect for Kate because she understood the dual natures of sort of being one of the guys but then also getting all of the attention from the guys, how to navigate that. And also, she was unafraid to sort of show an uglier, more complicated selfish side. She's brave in that sense.
Q: How much of the film is in the brewery?
Swanberg: It's quite a bit. It's sort of the central backdrop but you know, it's more a relationship movie than a beer movie but they worked there and it's sort of a recurring place.
Q: What was it like filming in a brewery?
Swanberg: It was great. From a very selfish level, it was great for me to just get to know the brewers better and to sort of learn more about the brewing process and sort of what goes into it. And also I think it's a beautiful setting for a movie like, you know, big stainless steel tanks, sort of a big warehouse kind of atmosphere. I think it looks really nice on camera.
Q: You don't just direct. You write, you act, you edit, you've even done cinematography. Which would you say is your favorite part of the filmmaking process?
Swanberg: Definitely directing. That's what I feel in love with and that's still the thing that I get the most pleasure out of. Though acting is a close second. I mean I really... I've enjoyed doing more acting lately and hopefully it's something I could keep doing as part of it.
Q: Anything coming up in the future?
Swanberg: Well I'm editing a movie now called Happy Christmas that I shot in December. It's got... Anna Kendrick stars in it, Melanie Lynskey, Mark Webber, and Lena Dunham are in it. So I'm in post on that. And then I... I acted in a film called You're Next which comes out this weekend a horror film. So I can't wait to drag my friends out to see that.
Original Penguin and SVEDKA Vodka sponsored the Los Angeles premiere of the film on Thursday, August 15. Director Joe Swanberg was wearing an Original Penguin suit and tie. Following the screening, guests walked across the street to Umami Burger for SVEDKA specialty themed cocktails including Up All Night and Just Friends. They snacked on Umami burgers and Revolution beer which was the brewery where they filmed the movie. From the film: Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Ron Livingston, Jason Sudeikis, Ti West, director Joe Swanberg and producers Alicia Van Couvering and Andrea Roa all attended.
Additional reporting by Joshua Kaye