Prosthetic Penises Are Just the Tip of the Wonderful Uncomfortableness in 'The Overnight'
By John Boone
Photo: The Orchard
“It feels like something I haven’t seen before.”
That’s how writer-director Patrick Brice described to ETonline his film The Overnight. Adam Scott and Taylor Schilling star as Alex and Emily, a couple new to L.A. who gets invited to a dinner party and nothing goes as planned. It’s not only hilarious — with a cast that also includes Jason Schwartzman, how could it not be? — but it’s one of the first movies in years that's consistently shocked us until the end credits rolled.
“I’d never really seen comedies dealing with sex that take the approach that we’re taking with this film,” Brice continued. “There’s a bashfulness in the approach to the actual sex in most sex comedies. Most sex comedies don’t actually end up dealing with the sex itself. It, for the most part, exists for the excuse of gags.”
While there are plenty of, as Brice describes them, “big, silly, almost Farrelly brothers-esque gags,” there are also grounded moments between the couples (Alex and Emily as the 'straight men,' Schwartzman’s Kurt and his onscreen wife, Judith Godréche, as the would-be provocateurs) that make the movie a truly human experience.
That said, the sex is what you’ll hear most about with The Overnight. There's a drug-induced dance party that turns into skinny dipping that turns into a casual viewing of breast pump porn that turns into...well, finding out if there's a money shot or not is half the fun. It also includes more male nudity than you’ve ever seen in a quote respectable movie theater.
“I never really had any worries about pushing things too far,” Brice shrugged at our inquiry, before immediately turning on a dime. “Well, yeah, I guess I did.”
The first time Kurt is exposed isn’t in the flesh. It’s through a painting — one in a series he calls “Portals — and it’s of his butthole.
“That was amazing!” Schwartzman exclaimed about the paintings, custom made for the movie. “I like that they’re looming. That room, for my character, is where he comes to relax and feel at home, so I liked being surrounded by them. In a way, it is very comforting to him.”
Reminder: He’s talking about a room full of paintings of anuses.
Scott, who was also a producer on The Overnight, told us that an artist had been commissioned to do the work, but dropped out at the last minute. “Our production designer, Theresa [Guleserian], painted all of those paintings, every single one of them, the night before we shot that scene,” he told us.
“That’s a real burst,” Schwartzman added. “I couldn’t paint that many buttholes in two days. And they’re really good, by the way!”
The actors say they improvised much of that scene, which may explain why it was one of the harder scenes to shoot. “There was a lot of laughter,” Schwartzman says. “I don’t know how much of that laughter is because what we were doing was good, how much of that laughter was happening because it was bad, or how much of that laughter was happening because it was four in the morning.”
Eventually, both Scott and Schwartzman disrobe, Schwartzman earlier on in the movie and remaining au natural long enough to cement his “goddamn horse c*ck,” as Alex describes it, in your brain forever; Scott later on, in a scene that finds Kurt encouraging Alex to come to terms with his smaller-than-average penis through the art of dance.
Both actors are quick to point out that the penises you see are prosthetics.
“Jason and I both ended up being far more comfortable than we thought we would,” Scott recalled. “We were both really freaked out about that scene [...] But there’s some weird psychological barrier between you and this prosthetic penis you’re wearing. You have it on and it’s all you have on and it looks real, so for all intents and purpose, everybody on the set is seeing what you look like naked, but you’re not actually naked. For whatever reason, it’s not that bad.”
Schwartzman, on the other hand, actually preferred the prosthetic to more conservative alternatives. “I think that that prosthetic was a great middle ground,” he said. “If I was just in a bathing suit, I would have felt way more nervous. [...] Because you see lots of people in bathing suits in movies. I probably would have been like, ‘Ehh, I don’t know if I’m in physically shape to just be prancing around in a bathing suit.’”
“On the flip side, if I was completely naked, it just would have been a whole nother layer or strangeness and it probably would have made it really, really, really--,” he paused to think. “It would have changed the feeling on set. People would have been more cautious around me and I would have had to be more cautious around them. You can’t just go walking around naked in front of people. It can be rude.”
In the end, “Because I wasn’t naked, there was no awkwardness around me. I didn’t feel weird that I was exposed in any way,” Schwartzman laughed. “I always said to people, ‘This is not just my penis. This is your penis too. This is our penis.’ I said, mi penis es su penis.”
The Overnight is in theaters Friday.
Speaking of Taylor Schilling, find out why she has never watched Orange Is the New Black before: