Are you slightly exhausted by the summer action-film grind? Same. Check out The Intervention — in theaters this weekend — for a nice bit of counter-programming.
Starring Melanie Lynskey, Natasha Lyonne, Jason Ritter, Colbie Smulders, Ben Schwartz, Vincent Piazza, Alia Shawkat, and writer/director Clea DuVall, this indie comedy gives us four couples holed up in a beautiful house for the weekend when one couple discovers that the whole trip is really an intervention regarding their troubled marriage. The film was a huge hit when it debuted last January at Sundance, getting nominated for the Grand Jury Prize and winning best individual performance for Melanie Lynskey. We caught up with Duvall to talk Sundance, fast shooting schedules, and the genius of Melanie Lynskey.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: People have been freaking out about this movie since January!
CLEA DUVALL: It’s been a really fun year, sharing the movie with people and going to different festivals. I’m just so grateful — I still can’t believe it. It still feels so surreal.
Where did this idea come from? Because it’s a hilarious set-up for a film.
I was at a time in my life when I was a person who always thought I knew what was best for everyone else. I then had this lightning bolt of self realization, or self awareness, where I realized that there was a lot of things in my life I wasn’t looking at. I was using other people as a distraction from my own problems. That set me down this path looking at things that I had been avoiding and doing work I had been unwilling to do in the past. It really helped me get to a better place in my life. And because humor is my best friend, I had this idea of: what if a person who thought they knew what was best, what if they actually did try to put one of their plans into action? What a disaster that could be! No one really knows what’s going on in anyone else’s life.
I do think, in these longtime friend groups, people do sort of get opinions on everyone else’s relationships. Oh yeah….you get in the car after a night out and you’re like, so what’s going on with them? She seemed weird right? [Laughs] It’s hard to not do that sometimes.
How long was your shoot?
It was just 18 days in Savannah. The DP and I were living in the house [where it’s shot] — which is so gorgeous — and everyone ate all their meals together and hung out because there was nowhere else to go. It was great.
Melanie Lynskey won an award at Sundace — and the two of you are great friends, right?
Yes. I wrote it for Melanie. We met when we were 21 years old — Melanie is one of the funniest people I know. Writing her character made me laugh and it inspired me. When we heard the film got into Sundance we both cried.