Because sometimes a couple needs to branch out.

Everyone has used their downtime during the COVID-19 pandemic differently. Maggie Gyllenhaal, for one, directed her first film — for which she asked her hubby to get, uh, very close to a tree.

The 2020 short film, titled Penelope, was part of Netflix's anthology Homemade, which featured a number of directors (including The Young Pope's Paolo Sorrentino) creating work while in self-isolation. Gyllenhaal's stars her husband, Peter Sarsgaard, as a lonely man listening to reports of a pandemic even deadlier than our own. At a low point in the throes of his loneliness, he decides to have sex with a tree.

"I do make love to a tree," Sarsgaard said on Tuesday's Late Night with Seth Meyers. "It builds up to it in a very natural way. It totally makes sense… You feel for both of us."

Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard
Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard
| Credit: Monica Schipper/Getty Images

Because Penelope was shot on the couple's own property in Vermont, the Dopesick actor has seen more of the woody perennial in question since then — and things have gotten a little awkward.

"I've been back up there doing my little chores and all of that," Sarsgaard said. "Every time I walk past this tree, it's like I can't look at the tree, the tree can't really look at me."

"Do you think Maggie ever, like, looks out the window and sees you looking at the tree and thinks, 'What have I done?'" Meyers joked.

"Maybe," Sarsgaard replied, chuckling, and then moved on to discuss Gyllenhaal's feature directorial debut, The Lost Daughter, in which he also appears, saying, "I really love being directed by my wife."

Congrats, Peter, on turning over a new leaf.

You can find Homemade on Netflix and watch the clip above.

The Lost Daughter hits theaters Dec. 17 before arriving on Netflix.

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