Poorly kept secret: parents use their young children to make their own adult friends. It’s not a trick, but simple laziness—an inevitable byproduct of exhausted parents whose dwindling grown-up social interaction is spent at their kids’ playdates. That’s the starting point for The Overnight, the Sundance film that stars Taylor Schilling and Adam Scott as new L.A. transplants from Seattle who jump at the chance to bond with the seemingly cool parents of a boy their son met at the playground.
“We’re both sort of starved for new friends and not really finding a social circle in L.A. yet,” says Scott, who plays the stay-at-home dad to Schilling’s tech executive. “And then we meet Jason Schwartzman’s character in a park, and our kids start playing. He’s like a Silver Lake hipster dad and they invite us over for pizza that night so the kids can play. He and and his wife (Judith Godreche) are kind of glamorous and smart and worldly and we immediately have an easy rapport with them. But then the night gets increasingly strange, and these people end up breaking our relationship wide open—and we can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. We have to reassess everything about our marriage because of what these two other people are kind of provoking us to do.”
“They elicit a response in both Adam’s and my character that starts to unearth parts of themselves that they’ve never explored or acknowledged,” adds Schilling, cryptically.
The two actors, stars from Parks & Recreation and Orange is the New Black, are cagey about what exactly that provocation might be, but writer/director Patrick Brice (Creep) has cited comic influences that include Booty Call, Wet Hot American Summer, and After Hours, so it sounds like fun. “It reminded me a bit of Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice,” says Scott, hinting at weightier, possibly sexual, issues. Though he does mention that classic 1969 swingers drama only after initially citing The Phantom Menace as a reference point. (“Taylor is Anakin. I am Boba Fett, and Jason Schwartzman, of course is Jar Jar Binks.”)
The film, produced by Scott’s wife, Naomi, and executive produced by Mark Duplass, premieres in Park City on Friday, Jan. 23.