AP: Lynn, how do you create an atmosphere for your cast to feel comfortable improvising?
Shelton: Alcohol. A little bit of heroin. I want to create an experience. It's really even more important to me than making a movie that's going to be fantastic, which is really important to me. But even more than that is to create an experience that everyone on set would want to repeat. If I could make the best movie in the world but it meant everybody having a miserable time, I wouldn't do that. I just wouldn't. I don't have it in me. Life's too damn short and moviemaking is hard. ... And then making sure everyone's well fed. Really, that's a big deal. Independent filmmakers who are working with no budget, spend all of your money on food.
AP: If you're pulling from your own experiences in these improvisations, do these characters feel closer to the bone?
Blunt: Mark put it quite well. He said, "Iris is a far less evolved version of Emily." In a way, I know what he means. In improv, you're bringing such a personal flair to everything because you're writing it, it's you. You're bringing so much of your own nuance to it. I think the way Iris is and how she's kind of stuck and directionless is very reminiscent of how I was probably six years ago — or maybe more.
DeWitt: It's funny, when I'm doing it, I feel like it's so far away from me.
Blunt: You are much warmer than (your character) Hanna.
DeWitt: Thank God. You get these things, the given circumstances of the film. But I did get a text from a friend who was at the screening last night and he was like, "Watching the film made me realize how much I miss seeing you. I want to hang out." I took it as such a compliment because I was like: Oh, there's some me in the film.
Jake Coyle can be reached on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jake_coyle