I asked readers for what they thought I should ask today, and @bekagan wanted to know about your own experiences and lessons from long-distance relationships.
FJ: I think they’re really difficult. As actors we’re all sort of like gypsies really. We’re all in different places at different times and it’s really hard to stay in a relationship when you’re constantly moving.
AY: One of the things specifically that happens with Anna and Jacob is they tend to idealize their honeymoon period and feel like because things change so dramatically, the rest of their relationship they have to try to get back to that emotion. [Instead of] acknowledging the evolution and process of their relationship, they’re trying to relive a moment and therefore suffering because that moment just doesn’t exist anymore. It’s changed. It’s something else. And I think people tend to do that whether it’s a long-distance relationship or a regular relationship. I think that we tend to idealize that honeymoon period because it’s that most exciting period but things will end if you can’t continue to change and appreciate the changes as opposed to comparing them.
Tell me about the challenge of using improv to create these characters while still making them different from yourselves.
FJ: You start with the page, really. It depends how someone’s responding to the situation and you create the character from then on. So with Anna she knows she’s obsessive about Jacob and she pursues the relationship from the very beginning. And that was sort of my starting point in a way, this very forward woman. And you look at her background and her family, she’s from a very secure family and she’s got very loving parents. I think that gives her a lot of confidence in the world to go out there and get what she wants. And then you just keep building on that, and also her being a writer and that obviously affects the way she interacts. I think she’s someone who loves words and seems to speak a lot more than Jacob does. I think the best way to describe it is finding clues in the script and then you create the character from that.
Anton, was that a challenge for you? As you build the rapport together, I can see how it would be easy to slip into feeling like Anton and Felicity are getting to know each other, not Jacob and Anna.
AY: What you do in a rehearsal period is you work out who these people are and where their relationship is—specific moments. You do all the homework so you never leave the framework of who this human being is and, furthermore, the framework of the situation that they’re in. Because if you are ever unsure of where the person’s at, it’s going to become you speaking. Whereas you always want to keep it as that human being. And Jacob and I are very different. It’s still the challenge of making sure that you are always within that place. It’s the challenge but it’s also what’s so exciting about it is that you get to live this person’s world so intensely.
What would the movie have been like if there was a comma after “Like” and an exclamation point after “Crazy”?
AY: (in Valley Girl voice) “Like, Crazy!”
FJ: [Laughs.] It would be like a high school movie instead. (obnoxious high school voice). “Like, crazy.”
AY: It would then become ironic, which I think Drake actually is not [ironic] at all. He’s very emotionally connected. He doesn’t treat these people with irony or their relationship with irony.
FJ: No, he doesn’t want the audience to stand outside [of their relationship]. He wants you to be involved.
Anton, what would you say to someone who sees “Like Crazy” and says, “Oh, poor guy, having to juggle two beautiful women.”?
AY: I’m sure they’re right to some degree! I think it’s hard if you’ve never been through that to understand it. But most people do get it. We tend as a culture to believe there’s one right person for you at all times, but there isn’t. Everything is a kind of process and a process of understanding, and I think to that person I say, “[Bleep] you.”
AY: No, I can understand that point, though. But to be honest—
FJ: But different people bring different things out of you.
AY: Exactly. And in that place—
FJ: And that’s the whole point of the film. It’s not trying to be too black and white.
AY: It’s not. It’s gray. And that’s the thing is he loves Sam but it’s not the same as with Anna. And so he can’t tell Sam he loves her because he knows there’s a different kind of love reserved for someone else. It’s an emotionally taxing situation.