Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie star as two romantic failures whose years of serial infidelity and self-sabotage have led them to swear that their relationship will remain strictly platonic. But can love still bloom while you’re sleeping with other people? Writer/director Leslye Headland (Bachelorette) chats about the sexy romantic comedy, which co-stars Amanda Peet, Adam Scott, and Natasha Lyonne.
How did you decide SLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE would be your writing/directing follow-up to BACHELORETTE?
SLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE came to me while I was on vacation in San Francisco. I went there to write, and these characters and their stories just poured out of me. I knew it was the next project for me because it was extremely personal. I wanted to challenge myself not only to write about my past heartache, but to try and revitalize the romantic comedy for a modern generation.
SLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE isn’t your typical romantic comedy is it?
It really isn’t. People trash talk the Rom Com, but it’s one of the oldest cinematic genres with stellar origins like TWENTIETH CENTURY or TROUBLE IN PARADISE. I think as audiences lost their innocence the genre lost its suspense. To create suspense you need obstacles. It’s really about giving characters in a Rom-Com true obstacles that very few people ever overcome: their own behaviour and their past.
How did Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie become involved with the film?
Jason Sudeikis was an easy cast. I went up to him at a party and said “I have a part for you.” That same week we met up and talked for hours. When Jason talks to you, it’s like you’re the only person who ever existed. He’s a major charmer, and that’s Jake to a tee. He was made for the part. A total leading man.
Alison Brie’s character, Lainey, was harder to cast because I felt like we were casting me. I was so close to the character. But when Allie auditioned, this vulnerability poured out of her and I knew we had found Lainey. She’s an incredible actress, we all just fell in love with her.
Tell us about Jason and Alison’s characters Jake and Lainey.
The Jake and Lainey we meet at the beginning of the story, during their days at Columbia, are so different than the people they become. They lost their virginity to each other, and then ten years later, we dive into these characters of these complex adults, really seeing how sex and intimacy have materialized for them on their separate paths. Lainey is a serial cheater who can’t get over one man. He’s a drug to her. He’s everything to her and she can’t let it go. Jake has evolved from a late bloomer to a charming womanizer. He can get anyone to sleep with him, but he’s completely terrified of getting his heart broken. He never sleeps with a woman he would care about losing.