Screenwriter and director On Time Loop Romance

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Director Max Barbakow with his cast and crew on the set of Palm Springs.

Director Max Barbakow with his cast and crew on the set of Palm Springs.
Photo: Jessica Perez / Hulu

The story of how the new romantic science fiction comedy Palm Springs became pretty typical … until it wasn’t. Filmmakers Max Barbakow Andy Siara met at the American Film Institute, became friends, made some short films, and decided to try a feature film. This is the typical part. Their script was later noticed by none other than modern comic book icons. the isolated island and the resulting feature was purchased by Hulu for approximately $ 17.5 million. It’s less typical, to say the least.

“They’re the lonely island,” director Max Barbakow told io9 by phone. “They just did [the film] funnier way and brought a new perspective. Siara, who wrote the film, added, “The film would not exist or be anywhere without what it is. “

It’s probably safe to say The Lonely Island (the comedy team made up of Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, responsible for SNL short films like “Lazy Sunday”, “Dick in a Box”, and movies Hot rod and Pop star, just to start) would never have heard of Palm Springs if not for the time that Barbakow and Siara devoted to it, which started in 2015. This is when the pair went to Palm Springs to spend a few days relaxing and talking about what could be their first feature film. At that time, they literally had no idea that they were about to experience their first film.

Barbakow with co-star JK Simmons.

Barbakow with co-star JK Simmons.
Photo: Christopher Willard / Hulu
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“It was from this weekend that we settled on the seed of this character, Nyles, who was born from this conversation between Max and myself by talking about our shame, our hope, our love and our deepest fears, “said Siara. “Then we knew we wanted to set it up in Palm Springs, so it evolved organically from that point into what eventually became a wedding time loop romcom. But at the beginning, when we started talking about it, it was none of that. It was a lost character who ended up in the desert. “

« Andy [also] got married in Palm Springs and is very inspired by my experience as a very, very lonely and loving person when they got married, ”added Barbakow.

And so for the next four years, Barbakow and Siara were talking about their weird filming in Palm Springs and Siara was writing when he wasn’t writing about the Spectacle AMC Lodge 49. Along the way, the couple realized that if they were making a film in a time loop, they had to stand out from other films of the popular genre.

“Once we settled in, should we do one thing in a time loop, my thought process was” Okay, in groundhog day, he understands it and is gifted the next day. What if we have a character who has gone through everything that character has gone through, who understands what he thinks is the meaning of life, and then you’re still stuck there? Said Siara.

“I consider that it is essentially the continuation of a film which does not exist”, he added. “There could be a” Palm Springs One “where Nyles is stuck but we don’t need to make this film because I think the audience is smart. “

Writer Andy Siara on set with Samberg.

Writer Andy Siara on set with Samberg.
Photo: Christopher Willard / Hulu

Armed with their script, Barbakow and Siara roamed the Hollywood battlefield. They have a manager. The manager got them an agent, and that agent got an idea.

« [We got] that agent, Houston Costa, at the UTA who threw him into the mast and handed it over to The Lonely Island agents who shared it with these guys, “said Siara. “Andy read it, it hit him and he brought me with Max to meet.” After just one meeting, Lonely Island decided they wanted to be part of the film with Samberg in the lead role.

“It was amazing to be able to adapt it to Andy,” said Barbakow. ” From the start, [we all saw the movie] like not your large traditional comedy, Lonely Island, but something that works more on pathos and sadness and strikes a more solemn chord. And Andy was ready to try something new. “

According to the couple, Lonely Island also helped make the film funnier, concentrated the third act and pushed them to make the film even more nerd.

Samberg behind the scenes.

Samberg behind the scenes.
Photo: Christopher Willard / Hulu

“When the guys from Lonely Island arrived, they actually encouraged me to deepen the science of it all,” said Siara. “I immersed myself in string theory and watched many YouTube videos and discovered a few favorites on the Cauchy horizon and spoke to physicists. So, you know, if it could happen, I tried to at least rationalize or explain a way to make it happen and explain a way out. “

What happened next Palm Springs is even more incredible than an infinite time loop. The film premiered at Sundance in early 2020, was recovered by Hulu for the most money ever paid for a Sundance film (69 cents) and now comes out at a time when, like the characters in the film, most of us are forced to endure the same day over and over again.

“I would have loved to play in theaters, but it won’t be possible,” said Barbakow. “I am grateful that we have a movie to release right now and I also understand that there are more serious and more serious things going on in the world with racial injustice and police brutality and lust as well. So I’m glad we can spread it and give people a chance to laugh if they feel like it. “

Palm Springs is now streaming on Hulu.


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