We were lucky enough to catch a screening of the film Obvious Child and interview the film’s director, Gillian Robespierre, and star of the film, Jenny Slate.
Now playing in Select Theaters. Everywhere June 27.
Usvsfilm: So what would you say the movie is about?
Jenny: The movie is a romantic comedy with a modern story and a really interesting character study of this woman named Donna.
Gillian: Who happens to be a stand-up comedian who lives in Brooklyn and discovers she’s pregnant.
Usvsfilm: So what was it like adapting the short film to a feature length, were there some obvious things you wanted to expand on right away? Or was it all like one big challenge?
Gillian: Writing something, you know adapting something from a short that already has a beginning, middle and end is always a challenge. But what was really nice was we always wanted to insert so many things in the short and we never had the chance because we wanted to tell this story and we had to get in and out in about 20 minutes. So it was a real nice challenge to have this time with Donna and put her through a whole bunch of things we really wanted to put her through in the short, but we just didn’t have the time. We got to expand on her family, have her stalk a little bit. So it was a pleasure, it was a great opportunity.
Usvsfilm: Did you learn anything specific in the feature length version?
Jenny: I think I just learned how to deal with self doubt and I learned how to focus and those are two skills that I will take with me forever and hopefully get even better at.
Gillian: Yeah it was a great learning experience and I’m constantly learning. I love it and everyday throughout this whole process we’re just figuring out how to make movies and make them better and better.
Usvsfilm: For you Jenny, what’s it like to transition from being a standup comedian to an actress? I think it was Mitch Hedberg that made a joke that once you get good enough at being a comedian they want you to do other things, Can you speak to that?
Jenny: Well I still do both luckily. I do both stand-up and acting still and have done them from the beginning and I did stand-up as a way to try and get into acting. So for me it feels like it was all part of a plan, even though there is no plan, now it seems like there was. So it feels fine.
Usvsfilm: Do you two see Obvious Child as being an explicitly feminist film?
Gillian: Explicitly feminist? No, I think we made this for many reasons and I think theres a feminist tone to it, but it’s for everybody. I also think if everyone thinks about it they are feminists.
Jenny: Yeah I agree.
Usvsfilm: So what would your reaction be to people who would give it that label after seeing it?
Jenny: Well just even if it were to be labeled as a feminist film and I’m not exactly sure what that means. That would be fine, we’re feminists, but the point to take away would be that the film is for everybody and that feminism is about equality. Not about taking gender sides. It’s a film for all people who want to see a story about one human.
Usvsfilm: Awesome well thank you for sitting down with me and it was a pleasure talking to you.