Dave Franco on Working With Wife Alison Brie in 'The Little Hours': 'It Was Terrifying'
By Rande Iaboni
Being a newlywed can be hard enough, but when you combine that with filming a movie together, it could be a disaster. Thankfully, that was not the case for Dave Franco and Alison Brie.
The couple, who have been married since March of this year, star together in The Little Hours, a raunchy comedy about three sexually frustrated nuns (Brie, Aubrey Plaza and Kate Micucci) whose lives are turned upside down after an attractive male servant (Franco) arrives at their medieval convent.
The film, which was shot entirely in Italy, did not have an actual script during production.
“It felt exciting to me,” Brie said during a Q&A for the film following a New York screening. “It felt like what I would imagine '70s filmmaking to be: experimental filmmaking.”
It was made all the more exciting by the inclusion of her longtime friend, Plaza, and husband, Franco.
“We knew so many people doing the movie,” the Glow star gushed. “And Dave [Franco], it was nice to have my person with me!”
“I enjoyed it,” Franco chimed in. “It was terrifying, though, because there was no script. We were going off of a 28-page outline.”
Even more challenging for Franco was the fact that his character spends a large portion of the film impersonating a deaf-mute.
“That was the thing I was most nervous about going into this,” the actor said. “I was scared that in every scene I would be sitting there blank-faced, not doing anything. I don’t know if I succeeded, but hopefully you could read my face and understand what was going on.”
The process became incredibly collaborative, with each cast member having input in their own dialogue.
“Two days before we started shooting, once everyone was in Italy, we did a pow-wow around a table and would just go through the outline scene by scene and essentially pitch the dialogue,” Brie revealed.
“You just give yourself over to the process and realize it is actually really liberating,” Franco said. “I was surrounded by some of the funniest people working today and they make me look a lot better than I am.”
With such a large female cast, audiences may think there was a strong sense of empowerment on set.
Not so, said Brie. "The outfits are so strange, it didn’t feel empowering for women," she noted. "Dressing as nuns all the time is so depressing.”
“All of our periods synced up though!” joked Plaza, who also doubled as a producer on the film, a first for the actress.
“It was a blast, it was all a blast for me,” the actress reflected.
The Parks and Recreation star is also dating the film’s writer-director, Jeff Baena. Plaza has appeared in all three of Baena’s films, and when asked what it was like working together, Plaza simply replied, “It’s great.”
The Gunpowder & Sky-released film has been met with mostly positive buzz since its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, with the exception of The Catholic League, which labeled the film “pure trash.”
That particular criticism did not impact Brie’s opinion on the finished product.
“When we were making it I had no idea what would happen, I was like, ‘This is a really cool experience and it doesn’t matter how it turns out.’ But then I saw it and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe this is it.’ It was a brain orgy!”
The Little Hours, which also stars notable comedic actors Molly Shannon, John C. Reilly, Fred Armisen and Nick Offerman, is currently playing in theaters in limited release.