UTG INTERVIEW: Patrick Brice Discusses His New Film, ‘The Overnight’

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It’s hard to throw a stone in the world of modern indie movies without hitting some up and coming filmmaker who one or more publications has dubbed the latest ‘visionary’ storyteller. Everyone has someone they’re rooting for in the race to see who graduates from one-time genius to career-long writer/director who influences countless future storytellers, and for me there is no one with more promise or talent working right now than Patrick Brice. He’s delivered two incredibly different and immensely entertaining films over the last year, each pushing genre boundaries in ways rarely, if ever seen before. Like Mark Duplass and Kevin Smith in years prior, Brice could easily become the next indie film everyman, and earlier this month he chose to speak with us about The Overnight, as well as his plans for the future.

At the time of this post we have yet to run our review of The Overnight, but suffice to say it’s destined to be the most talked about sex comedy of 2015. The film follows a couple new to Los Angeles who, following a chance encounter with new neighbors at a local park, embark on a seemingly innocent get-together only to later realize they’ve stumbled upon the strangest and wildest night of their lives. You can view the trailer below, followed by our conversation with Brice. The Overnight is in theaters now.

UTG: Hello, Patrick. Thank you for taking time to speak with us. How are you this afternoon?

PB: I’m great! Thank you for asking.

UTG: I had the opportunity to watch The Overnight yesterday, and it was eye-opening to say the least. I pride myself on being someone who claims to have seen it all, but you caught me off guard a time or two.

PB: Oh good. You’re part of the demographic I’m worried about the most.

UTG: Why is that? Do you think the reveals are not big enough or something like that? What makes you worried?

PB: I don’t know, really. It’s a pretty inclusive movie, despite the fact so much crazy or potentially discomforting stuff happens in it. I just think that if you’re watching it and you’re looking to poke holes or disprove something it might not be as fun of an experience. My goal was just to make things as entertaining as possible, and of course to keep things moving.

UTG: I think you pulled it off. Things move very fast throughout, and the story never seems to plateau. The third act is the craziest of the bunch. Watching a screener at home this week my fiancée and I were constantly looking at one another in disbelief.

PB: Oh, man. That is so great to hear. It has been interesting to watch the way people react based on the situation they’re in when they see it.

UTG: It’s funny you mention that because I remember wondering what it must have been like to see this film play out in front of a sold-out crowd. I was uncomfortable watching it with the person I’m most myself around, so I can’t imagine how it plays in a room of strangers.

PB: It runs the gamut. It’s funny, really, because I never thought I would make movies that were contingent on receiving an audible response from the audience to determine whether or not it was a good feature. We never expected the film to be the crowd-pleaser it has become. It’s always fun to hear people–for lack of a better description–discover the film at the same time.

UTG: Let me back up for a second. I saw your short doc, Maurice, years ago and I am thrilled to see you working more today. When I realized you were the same man who made that film things started to make a bit more sense.

PB: [Laughs] Yeah, I can see that.

UTG: So you went from that, to Creep, and then you made The Overnight? I know most audiences are seeing Overnight first, but I’m pretty sure it’s not your first feature.

PB: Exactly. Creep premiered at SXSW last year, but it’s not on VOD until a few days after The Overnight hits theaters. That is just how things worked out. It was never planned for the film to roll out the way they have, but it’s all good.

UTG: So where does the initial inspiration for The Overnight come from?

PB: It was drawing on a few different things. One was thinking about this sub-genre of film where stories play out over one night or twenty-four hours. The idea of making something that fit those story constraints really appealed to me. Also, I am a transplant to Los Angeles myself, and I know about how the perceptions of this town can sometimes turn out to be real, so I wanted to make a film about that. I also wanted a film about sex and intimacy that I could relate to more than how most comedic films approach those topics. I was able to try some things thematically and tonally I don’t think we’ve seen before. Male body issues, for example, is something a lot of films shy away from. My hope is that we are able to convey an idea of self-acceptance that viewers will pick up on while also having a fun, laugh-filled time.

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UTG: I assume most people will go in expecting a straight-up comedic romp, but you do make an effort to bring real emotional weight to the story.

PB: Exactly. Normally, films like this are made with people making marks on a checklist of thematic must-haves, and we didn’t want to do that. I knew we were treading on familiar ground, but it was exciting to try and meet the challenge of upping the ante every step of the way.

UTG: Is there anything in this story that would make you uncomfortable in real life? I know some people may be made to feel uneasy during the sequences dealing with emotion just as easily as others will feel themselves becoming uncomfortable when the more shocking comedic elements hit, so I’m curious which unsettles you?

PB: For me, what’s funny is the sort of slow discovery of the characters, what they’re about, and what their intentions are for the night.

UTG: Without giving too much away, you certainly leave the door open for a sequel or two to be created. Do you have a desire to pursue that if the film is well-received?

PB: I mean, yeah, I’m completely open to it. I especially love the idea of seeing where Jason Schwartzman’s character goes from the point where we leave him.

UTG: There is a lot left unsaid when the story ends.

PB: I wanted there to be an ambiguity to everything. That last scene may feel a little unfulfilling for people who want everything wrapped up nice and tight, but I wanted it to feel as awkward and true to the story as possible. It plays out the way I would expect it to in real life.

UTG: In real life things don’t end with big punchlines.

PB: Exactly.

UTG: We only have time for one more question, so let’s take it back to the beginning. Do you have any interest in further pursuing the world of documentary filmmaking?

PB: One of the things that is really exciting about making movies is that you’re allowed to be into everything. I am very much interested in the possibility of making more docs, and if I do it will probably be something along the lines of Maurice.

UTG: Great. Well, thank you very much for your time.

PB: No problem, man. Thank you. Have a good day.


The Overnight is now playing in theaters nationwide. Brice’s other recent film, Creep, is available on iTunes. This weekend, avoid big budget blockbusters and support Patrick Brice’s unique cinematic vision.

Interview written and conducted by James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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