He doesn’t write a full script. He doesn’t write dialog. And he doesn’t care if it turns out exactly how it is on the page. Writer/director Joe Swanberg’s take on screenwriting will blow your mind.
“I’m a pretty collaborative person,” says Swanberg. He finds mixing a documentary style of filmmaking with actors’ improv creates the perfect mix of real life interactions, the kind he hopes all his films share. “The natural rhythms of the scenes are really to the credit of the actors. I’m a pretty hands off director. I make sure that I cast really great people and then I let them be great.”
Drinking Buddies is the story of a small Chicago brewery that employs a hot handful of 20-somethings who seem to have more trouble with their love lives than they do brewing beer.
Olivia Wilde plays Kate, a guys’ gal who can’t seem to find the right boyfriend. Jake Johnson of New Girl fame plays Luke, a fun-loving guy in a relationship that can’t quite get to the next level. Anna Kendrick plays his semi-uptight girlfriend, and Ron Livingston plays Chris, a love interest – or not – for Kate.
The foursome quickly becomes friends and while everything seems kosher on the surface, after a while, it’s clear that one of these pair-ups isn’t meant to last.
So, how does a complicated love drama like this get made without a script? Swanberg sits down with ScreenwritingU to reveal his secret. “I wrote about a 45 page script that was pretty detailed in terms of the plot and the characters, but the dialog is all improvised…” he says. And he likes it that way. Drinking Buddies releases into theaters August 30.
Photo credit: Magnolia Pictures