When Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Brad Hall sent their eldest son off to college, they were devastated. “We waited by the phone for him to call,” says Hall, the former Saturday Night Live writer. “We counted down the days to parents’ weekend.” Their therapy turned out to be writing and filming a short film — about a woman who’s devastated by her eldest son leaving for college and tries to fill that void by obsessively planning a trip to Paris.
Picture Paris, a short screening next week at the Tribeca Film Festival, begins as an affectionate love-letter to The City of Light, but it quickly turns sour. “There’s nothing that Paris could’ve done to fill the hole that she’s got,” says Hall, who also directed the film. “When you romanticize something so extraordinarily in the hopes that it will divert you from agony, you’re destined for a letdown.”
Watch a clip from Picture Paris below:
For the couple, however, shooting in Paris was an adventure. “It really did feel like going back to our theater days, and you figure out ways to get the shot by hook or by crook,” says Louis-Dreyfus. “That shot when [my character] Ellen is on the Bateaux-Mouches going down the Seine, we didn’t have a permit to shoot, so Brad and I pretended to be renewing our wedding vows. He would kiss me and say something nice and it looked like we were actually shooting that. Then he would slip out and we would get these lonely shots.”
Will the comic couple make another movie? Perhaps a feature? Well, they do have another son with collegiate ambitions… “He’s not [allowed to go] to college, I can tell you that right now,” jokes Louis-Dreyfus.
The Tribeca Film Festival runs in New York from April 18-29.