Interview – Night Owls stars Adam Pally and Rosa Salazar and director Charles Hood

film_page_heroI was feeling a little bit nervous about meeting the actors for Night Owls that sunny Texas afternoon at South by South West. Mostly because at the Q&A after the premiere the night before, both actors mercilessly layed into one guy who made an off the cuff comment about not seeing much online about the film. I’m not sure that in my fragile jet lagged state, I could handle being picked on!

That audience member is correct, there has not been much information about Night Owls, there’s no trailer out there and they released the poster the day of the premiere.   I personally was attracted to the film because of the cast. Adam Pally who you will most likely recognise from his parts in The Mindy Project, Happy Endings and Iron Man 3. Rosa Salazar, who apart from starring in the new Insurgent and forthcoming Maze Runners films, had a recurring guest spot in Parenthood and is a College Humor regular (check out her Stoner Beyonce video). The film is sweet and understated, a perfectly tuned, dare I say it, romantic comedy and was one of my personal highlights of SXSW.

Thankfully Adam and Rosa were both awesome, and the only time I almost got picked on was when I admitted I hadn’t seen Iron Man 3, but thankfully my strong hi-five saved me! Like a pair of enthusiastic children they spent the entire interview riffing with each other. Topics included Adam’s 90’s dream boy haircut which he joked was for a Spanish language Jim Belushi biopic called Senor Destiny, Rosa’s pending success as a Young Adult franchise superstar, how Adam’s favourite movie is (probably not) Tower Heist and Rosa’s bad joke involving frogs and condoms (I don’t have to print that for you to guess how that one goes). And yeah, Adam also busted out a rather wonderful lip sync of Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball, which sadly I only have an audio recording of. The two actors were joined by the film’s director and co-writer Charles Hood, who sits between them like a slightly bewildered parent. I was excited to talk to the three, particularly as I was some of the first (if not the first) UK press to talk to them about the film.

Adam Pally- (on Rosa) She’s a crazy big action star and I got her to myself for three weeks to do scenes, hang out and pick her brain.

So are you now going to move into action movies?

Adam – Oh no, jews can’t do that. They asked me to be in Hunger Games as a money lender

Rosa Salazar – He was in Iron Man 3! When I saw that, which was before we did Search Party which is how we met, I yelled out in the theatre “that’s my friend” and like kinda angry too and I almost got kicked out of the theatre. You were like one of the best parts of Iron Man!

With you both being in Search Party, is that how you both were in Night Owls

Adam – Yeah we met on the set of that and we clicked, it’s very rare to meet someone that without even speaking you know what their deal is. When the script came along, I read it and I couldn’t think of anybody else. As I was reading it, I was thinking this is Rosa. And we were lucky because I said to Charles, if we don’t do it now, we’re not going to get her. And now we can’t get her for the next movie! I don’t know about Night Owls 2, but the next movie Charles and I do, we literally can’t get Rosa! It was just total, Rosa used the word kismet.

Night Owls, takes place over one night, Kevin (Pally) has a one night stand Madeline (Salazar) who he’s horrified to learn is his boss’ jilted ex-mistress. When Madeline takes a bottle of sleeping pills, Kevin is forced to keep her awake… over the course of the night, they hang out, talk and learn more about each other and begin to fall for each other. The film plays out mostly between the two characters, and the onscreen chemistry between Adam and Rosa is so apparent and what makes the movie really special.

The two of you worked so well together, with the film being for the most part the two of you. If that relationship didn’t work, the movie wouldn’t work

Adam – We were cognitive to that, and I don’t think I could have done it with anybody else

Rosa- I could’ve done it with a couple of more people.

I always say that this is my dream come true, because I was a fan of Adam’s for so long watching him do improv in New York before I even saw him do anything on television, I was like “who is that guy”, he’s amazing, he’s a star”. When I got to do Search Party and I met him in the hair and makeup trailer, I was like “this guy gets me”.

Adam – We just spoke the same comedic language. She’s a really talented dramatic actress and that helped me learn how to do that.

Adam, being known more for comedy, this is a little bit of a different role for you

Adam – Yeah, it’s a lot different in a lot of ways. I really wanted to play a romantic lead and this gave me the opportunity to do that. But I don’t think I would have been able to do that without Charles and Rosa.

Rosa – You killed it, I’m so excited for people to see this movie cause Adam is getting to show his ability. It’s sort of like he hasn’t had the chance cause he’s too funny, to do something dramatic. In this movie he has the harder job, playing this straight laced nerd. Being someone who knows his five year plan, being someone who’s so put together. The straight guy who’s very square and vanilla and who almost has a hard time expressing himself. And that’s not Adam, you can’t get him to shut up.

FullSizeRender (2)Is there a release plan for the film?

Rosa – We have a real cheap movie, if you want to buy it!

Adam – We’re looking for all sorts of formats to do it on. Also for this movie, for us we are open to finding non traditional ways to get it out there cause it is the type of movie that plays really well in a theatre, but also plays really well on a Saturday night with a bottle of wine on your couch. So I think we’re kinda looking for the best way to fit it for us, with people who don’t want to necessarily change what we do.

Rosa – This movie is very important to me cause I used to love the middle ground movie. Right now there’s these big blockbusters and there’s these tiny tiny movies, and there is no more middle ground movie. There is no The Paper with Michael Keaton or all of the Michael Douglas movies that he made in the 80’s and 90’s. This is giving new birth to that, and that is really important to me.

Adam – When I first read it, one of the first movies it reminded me of was this really small movie that came out 15 years ago with Robert Downey Jr, Rachel Weiss and Heather Graham called Two Girls and a Guy. It’s basically Robert Downey Jr comes back to his New York apartment and both girls that he has been seeing are there and for the whole night they hash it out, and it’s all shot in the apartment, the camera whips around this soho apartment and it’s Downey and Rachel Weiss so the acting is out of this world and it is totally intense the whole time and engaging and funny. That’s what this reminded me of a lot, I even showed the script to Downey and he was like “you should do this if no one is offering you anything else”, and I was like “Thanks RDJ, you’re really a father figure”.

Rosa – This movie really reminds me of Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight. And I just love that format where it’s like two people actually talking to each other instead of these tricks and gimmics, that are fun. But it’s the human condition that you’re like more interested in, and I feel like there are only a few movies out there that are actually doing that. Short Term 12 was another one, people are actually doing movies which matter, with people talking to each other, which is about humans. And this movie really matters to me because of that, it’s just a two people incident which happens somewhere in the world.

night-owls-posterIn one scene, Madeline, attempts to wow Kevin with her violin skills.  Rosa, was that really you playing the violin?

Rosa – Yes, but then I biffed it

Charles Hood- it wasn’t in the script at all, but then I asked Rosa cause I was trying to include things like that. When I met Rosa for the first time I asked her “do you play any instruments?” So she played the violin, so I thought we should put a scene is, cause it’d be fun.

Rosa – I picked the wrong piece, here’s what happened, I was first violin at Levine School of Music in Washington D.C, and I was also in orchestra at my school. I did a piece in middle school Allegro in D for Strings by Vivaldi, I was so obsessed with this piece and I got to be first violin and play the solo which is what I’m playing in the movie. But that part is so high and it doesn’t sound good without the orchestra, so I picked that piece cause I remembered that, and it’s so high pitched and so like not right for that moment, but it somehow just worked.

Charles – It’s kinda plays for comedy

Adam – My favourite part of that violin scene is just this really small honest exchange, where it’s the two characters that are kind of missing each other, where she pulls out the violin and she’s like “you know what this is? I think it’s a tiny guitar” and I very honestly respond with “I think it’s a violin” and you’re like “I know it’s a violin”, that’s one of my favourite parts of the movie cause it’s just these two characters who are missing each other and it shows that.

The film was shot over 17 days in an Air BNB house in Topanga Canyon, which the set dresser filled with furniture borrowed from cast and crew’s houses. This included a treadmill, which Kevin uses to comedic effect in an attempt to keep Madeline awake.  Rosa, in the Q&A last night, you mentioned the treadmill was yours. Did you buy it for training for Maze Runners?

Rosa – No I bought it cause I bought a house and I was like, I gotta fill this house with stuff. Then I did and I was like “there’s too much stuff in this house”. So now I have this treadmill, for sale, and every time I walk by it I’m like “that’s our treadmill”. For Maze Runners, I like ran four miles around the reservoir every day, I completely changed my diet, I swam a mile every morning, I had a trainer who was honestly very scarey, I didn’t love it, but she got me into the best shape of my life. And then I got to Albuquerque where the rest of the cast was and she was telling me the entire time during our training that they were training just as hard, cause I complained a lot. And then I got there and they weren’t, the rest of the cast were like “no we’ve just been eating a lot and just like chilling and playing Mario Kart”. So I completely stopped all my training and I did that!

Was last night the first time you saw the movie?

Adam – It was the first time I saw it, these guys had seen it in LA and I couldn’t make it.

Rosa – And I sounded so funny, cause I was like “our movie’s so good”

Adam – I was nervous and she was like “you’re gonna love it” and she was not lying, I really loved it, and it’s hard to love something you’re in, but I think this is a movie that I’ll have no problem being proud of that I was in it.

The reception was so good for the screening, there was a real excitement about the film in the audience afterwards. I hope it comes to England. 

Adam – I promise I will bring it to England!

I hope so, we’re holding you to it Adam!

To keep in the loop about all things Night Owls follow the Twitter.

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