Gillian Jacobs, Vanessa Bayer, Phoebe Robinson on Netflix's Ibiza and fake bird poop
In Netflix’s Ibiza, directed by Alex Richanbach (Throwing Shade), three best friends — played by dynamo comediennes Gillian Jacobs (Love), Vanessa Bayer (Saturday Night Live), and Phoebe Robinson (2 Dope Queens) — travel to Spain and take a detour to the titular island for a weekend of club-hopping that’s both wildly unpredictable (spoiler alert: pills!) and surprisingly sweet.
And though jet-setting to Ibiza — a decision fueled by a love-at-first-sight romance between Jacobs’ overworked Harper and a DJ named Leo (Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden) — leads to literal highs and catastrophic lows, the three women manage to carry each other through the whirlwind weekend.
Below, Jacobs, Bayer, and Robinson discuss making the film, avoiding Game of Thrones spoilers around the man who played Robb Stark, and how they recommend preparing for a viewing.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I want to start by saying this seems like the ideal movie to make: You travel to Europe, film at the beach, and spend a good amount of screen time dancing in clubs. Did that have anything to do with why you signed on?
GILLIAN JACOBS: Yeah, I found it to be just a really fun movie that made me feel good reading it. It’s an adventure about friends, has great romance, and is about three female friends who aren’t fighting each other or fighting over a guy. I just loved that.
PHOEBE ROBINSON: Honestly, I just wanted to work with Vanessa and Gillian, with two women in a movie that’s written by a woman.
VANESSA BAYER: I would just say the movie seemed like it was celebrating three women, and I just knew that we would have so much fun, and we did have so much fun. And so I was right.
How similar are these characters to yourselves? Do you align with them in friend groups at all?
ROBINSON: I feel like all of our characters represent us in different ways. I’ve never been to a club — oh, no, I’ve been to one club, one time in my life — so the whole partying and having to yell and scream, it was like, “I don’t scream, this is as loud as I get.”
BAYER: Also, when we were cast, [screenwriter] Lauren Kahn adjusted some stuff around our real personalities.
JACOBS: Like Phoebe, I don’t go to clubs. I’ve been to a few in my life, but I definitely require friends to go on an adventure like this. [My character] has way more fun that I’d ever let myself have in real life. I feel like she’s very close to me, but this is an adventure I’d probably never let myself go on. I need to be cast in a film to have an experience like this.
BAYER: Yeah, I’ve also only ever been to two clubs in my life — and not really willingly — but I would say that my character takes more risks than I do. For example, I would never get sunburnt in real life.
JACOBS: Yeah, I think the three of us really just enjoyed room service and, like, watching something on our laptops.
What were you watching?
ROBINSON: Okay, so I was watching Game of Thrones from the beginning for the first time, which is kind of funny because Richard Madden is in this movie.
BAYER: We kept being like, “Phoebe, finish season 3 of Game of Thrones before Richard Madden gets here!” And she was like, “No, I’ll get to it.” And she even said to him, “I know someone dies in the Red Wedding, but I don’t know who.” And he was like, “… cool!”
ROBINSON: And I was like, “Why is he so weird? All right, I won’t talk Game of Thrones with you!”
BAYER: It was also funny because I remember I accidentally told you, Gillian, that he was … I don’t want to give any spoilers away, but I had kind of told Gillian what happened to his character. And I felt really bad.
JACOBS: Well, it’s okay, Vanessa, because I can’t remember what you said. [Laughs] Or what happened.
BAYER: Have you directly told Richard Madden that you don’t know yet?
JACOBS: Actually, I still have not watched Game of Thrones, so I tried to not bring it up because I didn’t want to be like … I don’t know, I feel like my lack of TV knowledge embarrasses me. Once, when I was shooting Girls and Adam Driver was shooting Star Wars at the same time, I asked him if there was a lot of “walkies” in the movie, so I just shouldn’t talk to people about their projects.
Then again, it’s like, has Richard Madden seen Community? It goes both ways.
JACOBS: Right! I don’t think he’s ever seen me in a single frame of anything, so we’re on an even playing field.
So to bring it back to the film, tell me about filming so many club scenes.
BAYER: They were very sweaty. Wouldn’t you guys say they were so full of sweat?
ROBINSON: Yes. What’s funny is, it would be, like, 3 in the morning, and you’re hearing playback, and it’s the same song for the 10th time, and you still have to rally and stay pumped up, and I never do that. I’m the kind of person who’s like, “It’s 8:45? Let me call a Lyft home.” It was fun to force myself to stay out, but afterwards, I was still like, “I don’t understand why anyone stays out.”
JACOBS: Also, when you’re dancing on screen, they always turn the music off in the club, so you have to dance to no music, and I can barely dance when there is music. It’s just hard not to feel so self-conscious. I thought all the guys committed so hard to the club scene that I drew a lot of inspiration from them. Like, Auggie Prew [who plays Miles] was so sick, like the sickest he’s ever been, but he was dancing his heart out in every take. So if he’s giving it his all, what excuse do I have?
BAYER: Gillian, I thought you were giving him a compliment. Like, you’re so sick. Like you were impressed.
JACOBS: No, he was ill. He was ailing.
Your characters also go through some difficult moments, including hangovers and getting bird poop on her face in the case of Vanessa’s character, and even getting chased around by a woman with a knife. What was toughest out of all of those stunts?
JACOBS: I did not envy Vanessa with the fake bird doo-doo on her face.
BAYER: That was a test. I mean, obviously it wasn’t real, not to break the fourth wall or anything, but it was very disgusting, and they’d be like, “Does this look gross enough?” It really got in your mouth, and even acting like it was in my mouth was very nauseating. But I guess I’m a great actor.
ROBINSON: I will say, in the past friends have gotten me to try to smoke pot, and I’m never good at it, I don’t inhale properly, and I’m frankly surprised I’m still alive. But in the movie they had to be like, “Smoke this,” and it was so hard. I don’t know how to smoke a joint, but I figure there aren’t going to be any joint truthers out there who will watch this and freak out.
BAYER: Also, the woman with the knife was such a great actress. She was actually really scary. I remember it was actually really terrifying when we were running from her.
JACOBS: Yes, the three of us would jump in that cab and we would for real start screaming at the guy who was driving the cab to go faster. She was incredible.
Obviously this film is on Netflix, so people will be streaming it instead of heading to the theater. What would you recommend viewers do to prepare, or rather to pack, for Ibiza?
ROBINSON: My go-to is pants off, lights off, and rosé.
BAYER: I want to add to that a bowl of maybe popcorn or puppy chow. And I put M&Ms in my popcorn. That’s something someone taught me at a movie screening once, and it changed my life.
JACOBS: Weeeell, I think you could also gear up by perhaps watching the episode of Love featuring Vanessa and myself before you watch Ibiza if you want to see a preview of our onscreen chemistry. [Laughs] And I feel like hopefully groups of friends will get together to watch. Make a night of it! Watch with all your friends.
And finally, Ibiza is definitely on many people’s vacation bucket lists. What’s on yours?
ROBINSON: Oh, I think I’m gonna go to Copenhagen for my birthday this year.
ROBINSON: I’m dragging my boyfriend with me, and he’s like, “We don’t have to do this,” but I’m like, “We kind of do.”
JACOBS: I never go on vacation, so my bucket list would just be to take a vacation, any vacation.
BAYER: My bucket list would be, hmm, well, maybe to get Gillian on vacation! I feel like going on vacation with Gillian would be very fun, and we would stay in the shade because we are both very good about not getting any sun. It was really funny seeing the two of us in Europe, like, so many hats and so much sunscreen on our persons at all times. You know, I would love to be near a beach, but also be in a room with, like, a great TV.
Ibiza debuts Friday on Netflix.