Chatting with Topher Grace and Demetri Martin

    Photo from Relativity Media

    North by Northwestern sat down in a roundtable with Topher Grace and Demetri Martin to discuss their upcoming film, Take Me Home Tonight.

    Tell us a little bit about the filming process, the ensemble.

    TG: I really, really wanted to work with my peer group. You read those books about Saturday Night Live where someone’s in a bar and [John] Belushi’s hanging out and Bill Murray comes and joins and Gilda Radnor shows up. I feel like I got that on this. I really feel like there are five 20 million dollar actors in the year 2019 in this movie and I’d be sitting there at this IHOP and see Demetri and Dan [Fogler] and then Anna Faris comes over and it was the same feeling, I thought.

    [to Grace] You’ve said that you kind of hatched this idea… What’s the genesis of this idea?

    TG: I was in love with all of John Hughes’s film. They were everything. You think about some of those films, even Ferris Bueller which is more kind of comedy has drama and even The Breakfast Club which is more drama has all this great comedy. I missed those kind of films. There’s nothing for this generation that’s looked 20 years back the way there was Dazed and Confused or the way there was American Graffiti. We want it to be like we took a time machine back to the 80s and set up our film equipment and cast it and filmed it. And it was tough because there are a lot of easy jokes but we wanted to land on a deeper level the way those films have.

    Matt [Grace’s character], he’s going through this typical mid-20s crisis. Did you take any of your experiences from your 20s, incorporate that? Also, do you think this will resonate better with people now because the economy’s in a slump?

    TG: I had a lot of friends at the time we started thinking about the film who had graduated college, who didn’t know what they wanted to do. We thought that was a perfect place to put that kind of character.

    DM: For a lot of us, you come out of high school, people tell you you can do anything. You go to your graduation and there’s a speech. “This is the beginning. This is not an end, but it’s the beginning, it’s the commencement.”

    TG: In college, they’re like, “This is the end, actually. Hope you enjoyed your stay.”

    [To Martin] What’s it like transitioning from sketch comedies and standup to movies with such a big cast and so many other comedic minds?

    DM: It’s a cool experience for me and certainly a bonus. I went to law school years ago. I thought I was going to be a lawyer. Long story short, I got into this stuff because I just wanted to do standup. I like jokes and as a kid I liked watching standup. As far as I knew, the way to do comedy was to write it and then go up and tell it. You tell your ideas.

    Eventually I got good enough at it, or comfortable enough at it, that I could improvise on stage and stuff. But along the way I decided I’d love to act because there’s certain kinds of bits that are funny but more as a scene. And you can see how it’s collaborative in a way that standup often isn’t because you’re just alone on stage.

    TG: So don’t go to law school kids!


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