Before seeing director Joe Swanberg’s appealing new Chicago-made film, “Happy Christmas,” at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, I talked to some of the stars on the red carpet. Here’s what they had to say (along with a few quotes offered during a post-movie Q&A).
“[‘Drinking Buddies’ shot] in August and the second one [‘Happy Christmas’] was in December, so I got the worst of the weather. I got the most brutal Chicago weather.” – “Happy Christmas” star Anna Kendrick
“It was more challenging playing the character in ‘Drinking Buddies,’ but to just be constantly throwing out the ugliest, most selfish parts of yourself was easy but made me feel really vulnerable. After each take I would be like, ‘Oof, Anna; gross. Super gross.’ ” –Kendrick
“I think I should have a big bit of tape over my mouth all the time.” –Kendrick on her tendency to say things she wishes she hadn’t.
“Speaking of dialogue being improvised, I was very surprised that the scene where Melanie and I literally talk about our sexual fantasies was cut. So you can never accuse [Swanberg] of being anything but above board. But I was a little bit sad.” –Kendrick
“There were so many good places to eat. Every night we were going somewhere that was just delicious—like world-class, amazing, amazing food. And great beer.” —”Happy Christmas” co-star Melanie Lynskey on filming in Chicago
“I don’t tend to do big exteriors where I’m showing the Sears Tower, Millennium Park, or things like that so there’s a Chicago vibe that’s present in the movies that I feel like if you live there, you recognize it.” —”Happy Christmas” director Joe Swanberg on his style of Chicago filmmaking
“It’s coming out of a lot of conversations that my wife and I were having about being artists and being parents and what that means in terms of making money, sharing responsibility, not having any money for child care and how that impacts what you have time to make. It’s a very personal movie. It’s very revealing.” —Swanberg on what he’s revealing of himself with “Happy Christmas”
“I love Chicago. I made a movie there, one of my first films, called ‘Whiteboyz.’ We shot in the Cabrini Green projects when I was 18 years old. It was nice to go back. I grew up in Minneapolis, so I’m a big fan of the Midwest.” —”Happy Christmas” co-star Mark Webber on making “Happy Christmas” in Chicago
“I probably in my real life have never thought a gig is a gig is a gig is a gig. For me it’s always been a really amazing opportunity to be able to be in a film. I really cherish it and am honored every time, each and every time I’m asked to be in a movie or to make a film. It’s something that’s very special to me.” –Webber on when he stopped thinking a gig is a gig is a gig is a gig, as his character says in “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”
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