Monday, January 21, 2013


An interview with FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL ... stars, Ari Graynor and Lauren Miller

For a good time, check out FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL ... starring Ari Graynor and Lauren Miller. For an even better time, spend any amount of time with these two ladies in person. I cannot remember the last interview I went to where there was so much laughter to sift through when it came time to transcribe it.

FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL ... (directed by Toronto’s own, Jamie Travis) tells the story of two unlikely and reluctant friends who are forced by circumstance to live together, and who find harmony in their lives by launching a successful phone sex line. The premise is based, and loosely I must add, on Miller’s experience with her college roommate, and co-writer of this screenplay, Katie Anne Naylon. The twosome were frightened to tackle their first feature initially but their history together got them through it.

“Obviously starting out to write any script, no matter how many scripts you’ve written before, is daunting,” Miller recounts, when we meet at Trump Hotel in Toronto. “You’re like, I need to come up with what? And it’s a hundred and how many pages? It’s daunting no matter what, but to have your friend with you, especially one who is as funny and creative as Katie, it’s easier.”

Miller will also admit to one other factor that made the writing process somewhat simpler. “Also, we cheated. We wrote a story loosely based on ourselves. I don’t know if that’s officially cheating but it certainly made things easier.”

Miller and Graynor prepare to take a call
Graynor, along with other high profile personalities like Seth Rogen, Kevin Smith and Justin Long, came to be in the movie after Miller and Naylon wrote her what they call a “love letter to get all these talented people to come play with us.” After playing memorable supporting parts in films like NICK & NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST and CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER, this was a chance for Graynor to take the lead, and one that spearheads women on screen at that.

“First and foremost, the biggest goal we had when it came to making this was to tell an honest, truthful, loving account of female friendship, that wasn’t competitive, that wasn’t based in jealousy, that wasn’t one girl and her sassy best friend on the search for the guy next door,” Graynor explains of one of the bigger draws for her in the script. Then of course, there is also the phone sex.

Graynor and Miller with director, Travis
“With the phone sex element, we allowed it to get a little fantastical because we wanted it to be funny first and not sexually titillating,” Graynor describes of how the film handles its raunchier elements, of which there are many. Miller continues the point, “The movie is obviously not a documentary about phone sex. It was about pushing the world that we were creating. For example, if we were going to have an accountant, what would an account in this world do or say?”

By the way, the answer to that question is call in his secretary to come clean up for him after he’s finished his call to the girls. Yes, they went there. Miller speaks on the film’s defense, “There were some things that pushed too far and that’s why you show your movie to friends and you have screenings. The movie does ride a fine line but I don’t think we ever cross it.”

Graynor and Miller with co-star, Long
FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL ...  also shows the more intimate, more personal side to phone sex. “It shows the two sides of phone sex really well,” Graynor states proudly.  “There is an element of it that you can see as a way to hide, it’s a way to create a fantasy. Certainly for movie Katie, and for real Katie, when she did phone sex in college, it’s a place to find a sense of confidence, which was not found at all in real life. And yet, it’s also a way to be intimate in this world of online porn and webcams.”

These are the things you can explore when you’re making a movie independently, without having to answer to anyone other than yourself. To some extent, you can tell the two are still somewhat surprised they made it through. “We fully recognize that this doesn’t happen,” Miller describes of her exaltation. “Making an independent movie is about dreaming big and not taking no for an answer. We just kept pushing and pushing and got really lucky.”

And Miller and Graynor, yet again
Graynor takes it even further and suggests that this movie needed to be made independently to be done right. “There was a lot of fat that we had to trim simply because we didn’t have the time or money to shoot everything. It’s actually one of those by-product gifts of independent filmmaking. You do it the way you want to, and this actually leads to, in many ways, a smarter movie.”

Miller agrees and concludes, “It’s just craziness. I’m still pinching myself every day.”

I’m about to ask where she’s pinching herself but then I remember, I’m not on the phone.


movies said...

entertaining chick flick.

Black Sheep said...

A different kind of chick flick too, if we must call it that. In this picture, the women are not simply catty with each other but rather form a real relationship. Strange that this type of representation is still a rarity in film.