It’s officially Rom-Com Season! YOUR PLACE OR MINE is the directorial debut of Producer/Writer and now Director Aline Brosh McKenna. The Film coming soon to Netflix, centers on two long-time best friends Debbie (Reese Witherspoon) and Peter (Ashton Kutcher) who live on different coasts, swapping houses for a week, only to realize exactly what’s missing in each of their lives.
So wonderful getting a chance to join a global press conference with the Cast and Creators of YOUR PLACE OR MINE. Joining us were:
Brosh McKenna who wrote the Screenplay for THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, walks us through the inspiration behind the story and how it’s very personal to her.
Brosh McKenna: “I was taken with the story, as it’s based on personal experience. I wanted to do Romantic-Comedy for people who’ve been through something in their lives and accumulated some life experience. If felt very personal to me through the process and it was an idea I had for a long time and when it came to fruition, it felt very personal. And I like to work with unknowns. I’m looking to discover people as you can see from the Cast. Just kidding.”.
Witherspoon’s character Debbie loves books and dreams of becoming an Editor and comments whether the role was tailored to her since she has attachments to the literary world, namely Reese’s Book Club.
Witherspoon: “I never read a book, it’s not on brand at all. I was like, will people know that I like to read and Aline’s like, ‘I think you can do this. I think you can make them believe!’”.
“Aline also sent me 25 books, which I never read. I called her and told her I had three children. But they did look very good on the set.”.
Kutcher talks about taking the role of Peter, who though is a bit of a man-child, is a grown-up.
Kutcher: “I’ve played grown-ups before. But it was very much about the hair. Aline felt he had a particular hairstyle he absolutely had to have and she used the word ‘grown-up’ a lot. ‘I want you to have grown-up hair’. And I was like, this hair is old, it’s 45-years-old. It’s the same age as me! But it was juxtaposition to the allover the place of Debbie. That was fun to play, this person who had this meticulous everything needed to be in its place. The other great thing, I’m not a big Fiction reader, but this character is a novelist, well read in fiction. So I ended-up diving-in. Aline sent me, I think ten books to read prior to the Film. ‘You need to read all of these, without cards in them specifically, what Peter got from them as a Writer. My fave was “Where Breath Becomes Air” and that was devastatingly-wonderful. High Fidelity was very good. I read every single one of them.”.
“The one about the kids catching on fire all the time – Nothing to see Here – that one was fantastic. I actually fell in love with reading Fiction again from this experience. That was fun and refreshing.”.
Witherspoon tells us that she actually didn’t know Kutcher very well until only a little before filming. Much of their scenes are done via split-screen.
Witherspoon: “It was a month before shooting and I had a bit of a panic attack because we didn’t know each other. I think we had fully met once at a party and I thought he was quirky. I don’t know this guy and we’re supposed to be best friends for 20 years, so we started sending each other videos every day.”.
Kutcher: “Every day we’d send videos. How’s your day? What’s going on? What are you afraid of? I you had pancakes, would it be syrup? Who’s your best friend and why?”.
Witherspoon: “It was actually kind of fun. Our kids would get in the videos, our dogs, he met my dog on video!”.
Kutcher: “By the time we shooting it, we were used to communicating this way, so it felt really natural to communicate that way.”.
Witherspoon: “We should put together a compilation of all these videos.”.
Kutcher: “When we’re in a scene together, we’re very improvy but given the way this was done, one side of coverage was done before the other person began to shoot their side of coverage. We were acting against a video and choices they had made. You couldn’t’ make a choice that would dictate the choice they had already made. None of that affecting the other the way the person reacts to the thing you said.”.
Williams talks about his experience having used to be an English Teacher, but playing a Literary Editor here.
Williams: “I am an avid reader and used to read a lot of Fiction, but became obsessed with Non-Fiction for the last 10-15 years, but am returning to that. I love books. Books changed my life, particularly in high school. During this process, Aline got me a vintage signed copy of one of my favourite books, Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon. Books are a transformative mark in my life at a fork in the road where my life could have gone very differently.”.
He comments whether or not he had to soften his character at all to help make Peter more of a contender to win Debbie’s heart.
Williams: “I don’t think so, because I think early on, I realize it’s not really about Theo, it’s about what’s true for Debbie and that’s one of the lessons – she surrounds herself with people who want what’s best for her to pull her forward.”.
Zhao talks about her character Minka who doesn’t read books, but reads people. Though she’s Debbie’s guide to New York City in the Movie, she confesses in real life she relies on Google Maps.
Zhao: “I fell in love with Minka as soon as I read the Script. Aline had made such a surprising loveable weirdo on page. Sophie De Rakoff (Costume Designer, LEGALLY BLONDE) brought all these amazing clothes and boom, character was there. I love Minka because though you don’t know what she does, there’s a very calculated mystique about her. She’s not a sinister person, she’s actually very positive. And I think the ultimate hypewoman and wingwoman that you need in this life. I love that she’s full of contradictions.”.
Kimmel plays Witherspoon’s son Jack in a breakout role and reveals that his role actually wasn’t a huge stretch, considering how similar his character was to him in real life – especially his love for Hockey. His character spends a lot of time with Kutcher’s Peter who looks after him while Debbie swaps places with Peter.
Kimmel: “It was always a part of the Script. I had started learning how to skate actually on Hockey skates. I never got to play actual games, but I always skated in the summer. I had some lessons leading up to the shoot but it was not super-new.”.
Kutcher: “He’s downplaying it. He goes and looks like he’s been playing full scale Hockey his whole life!”.
Kimmel: “When we were reading sides over in first audition, I looked up to my mom and said ‘This is literally me!’. We had the same issues, qualities and allergies even. And it was easy to be natural in the audition, which is crazy.”.
Netflix Canada release YOUR PLACE OR MINE February 10, 2023.
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