It’s the second to last day of filming Ass Backwards and co-writer and star Casey Wilson (Happy Endings) is thrilled that the end is in sight. Wilson and her longtime friend and co-writer June Diane Raphael (New Girl) are finishing up shooting on their long-in-the-works “balls-out” independent movie about lifelong best friends who decide to go back to their childhood hometown to enter a beauty pageant against their mean girl nemesis (Alicia Silverstone). But the real comedy comes from the road trip, which features Chloe (Wilson) and Kate (Raphael) making their way through everything from a strip club to a brief stop in a lesbian commune.
“It’s definitely a real love story between friends, and this crazy, insane co-dependent friendship,” Raphael told EW on set last July about the female buddy comedy. “Based on our own lives in New York City many, many years ago. It’s just about that crazy time when you’re not yet married, not a child anymore…it’s a weird zone.” Inspired by movies such as Thelma & Louise as well as Dumb & Dumber, “It’s been a labor of love,” Wilson said.
The love is clear when the two discuss the film, and especially how the movie portrays female friendships. “I think the part of it that is real [outside their characters’ craziness] is our friendship. If something isn’t exactly where you want it to be in your life, a girlfriend will sometimes build you up in the wrong way without meaning to,” Raphael explained. “‘It’s not that he’s not calling because he doesn’t like you. It’s that he likes you so much!'” For example, today’s scene features Wilson (now with blonde hair!) on a bus, pining after an old high school crush she’s been obsessed with for years, holding homemade scrapbook pages with his real hair on them. There’s no backing down from that.
When asked to describe the movie, the two often go back to one scene that takes place at a lesbian commune. It’s clear they’re lovingly obsessed with it. “We actually read about this place,” Wilson explained. “It’s called Sister Spirit. It’s a real place!” “And we do some things to the women there that could definitely be considered inappropriate,” Raphael adds.
The ladies certainly took advantage of the leeway independent filming has given them. “We’ve written for studios before [the two co-wrote Bride Wars] and I think this is more just what we would do if given free reign,” Raphael said. “Because the only restrictions we had have been financial. Creatively, it has been exactly what we want to do. If it succeeds or fails, we will definitely stand behind [it]. This is our voice.”
“We open on a shot of our asses,” Wilson said with a laugh. “There is no going back from that.”
Ass Backwards, directed by Chris Nelson, premieres at the Sundance Film Festival Jan. 21.