Interview: Talking ALL NIGHTER with Emile Hirsch, Analeigh Tipton, and Director Gavin Wiesen
A few weeks ago we spoke to Emile Hirsch, Analeigh Tiption and Director Gavin Wiesel about their upcoming project All Nighter.
All Nighter follows Martin, a struggling LA musician nervously meeting his girlfriend Ginnie’s intimidating father, Mr. Gallo, for the first time. Gallo is a tough-minded, no-nonsense international businessman who never has enough time for Ginnie. At dinner together, Gallo is resolutely unimpressed by Martin, Martin grows increasingly uncomfortable, and the meal is a disaster.
Six months later, Martin’s broken-hearted over being dumped by Ginnie, who has “moved on”, when Gallo shows up at his door looking for his daughter. Her cellphone is off and she has not responded to any texts or emails. Although it’s the last thing he wants to do, Martin is “persuaded” by Gallo to take him to where Martin believes Ginnie is living. Ginnie isn’t there either, and Martin and Mr. Gallo are forced to spend the rest of the day and night together, searching for her all over town.
As they attempt to solve the puzzle of what is going on in Ginnie’s life, they encounter her crazy friends and get into increasingly desperate jams of their own making. Some property is destroyed, some laws are broken, but an uneasy friendship between Martin and Gallo is born…. as they discover that they, rather than Ginnie, are the ones who are truly lost.
Here is what they had to say about All Nighter.
Gavin this film was written by your college roommate, was it based on actual events?
Gavin Wiesen: It was written by my roommate but it wasn’t inspired by any actual events that I know of. I know he kind of based it on a friend of his that I don’t know but I think it was an amalgam of a few people that he knew and that was a character type that he put together to create Martin and he just found amusing.
Did you have any input in the writing this time around?
Gavin Wiesen: Seth (the writer) and I worked together to develop the material and he would do passes based on my notes. So it was really us putting our heads together so it felt I was creatively involved from the ground floor but he was the writer and I wasn’t.
You had a great cast to work with was it amazing assembling them?
Gavin Wiesen: It was a dream come true, it’s when you have a wish list and you get your wish list, it was really special. Emile was the first person on board and he’s been one of my favorite actors since he started working. I couldn’t have imagined a better person to play Martin and on top of it I do love trying to cut against the grain. The fact that Emile normally doesn’t play characters like this but I knew from having seen everything that he’s done that he really could and that made it even more exciting. The fact that Analeigh was available to come do this very pivotal and crucial but essential supporting role just kind of rounded it out in a way I couldn’t have imagined.
Emile Hirsch: I actually got involved in a strange way because I was at my friends apartment looking after his dog which is this little Chihuahua thing and he came back and had just read the script and people were auditioning around town. He told me to read the script because the character is kind of similar to me or at least what my friends limited conception of me is. I read it and thought there’s a fun, neurotic element to it and that was how I got involved. But I got involved literally through my buddy Ashton Holmes who is a really good actor who said I should really do this. There were always different iterations on how to make the film depending on the actor. With new actors there was also different takes on what city to make it in. Each city would influence the way the movie would turn out in the end. There was New Orleans, New York, San Francisco and Atlanta. There were all these cities so I was happy it ended up being with J.K. in LA.
Was the reason the film took place in LA due to J.K. Simmons?
Gavin Wiesen: It wasn’t so much his insisting but it was his ideal place to make it for a million reasons for him and the further we went down the road into getting into production, it was my true wish to do it in LA.
Emile Hirsch: It’s the anti- LA LA Land
Gavin Wiesen: We were able to make it the way we wanted to especially when Emile and J.K. came on board.
How was it working with J.K.?
Analeigh Tipton: It’s always great to work with actors that really elevate your performance and just to learn from someone that has been doing this for so long is epic and quite an honor to observe. He was also very intimidating to work with as Emile can attest he was incredibly prepared. There was some sort of pressure because we can all get lazy but it was nice to work with someone that was prepared which allowed everyone to do their job.
Emile Hirsch: With J.K., one of the things I would wonder about is trying to figure out what J.K.’s process was because it’s kind of mysterious. I couldn’t tell if he was his character or if he was acting and I couldn’t tell if he was prepared or if he had a photographic memory. Because I could never see him acting it was really hard to tell what his process was because every now and then he would look at the material and look at it once and put it down and I would wonder if he just learned that whole scene right then? Or was he rehearsing it before when no one was around. It was really hards to tell, he’s kind of like a magician where you’re trying to figure out his trick a little bit.
When Gavin would yell cut was he a different guy?
Emile Hirsch: In a way but I feel he’s committed enough to his role where it’s hard to tell and if you were to ask I don’t think he would tell you. It was also an exciting time to work with J.K. for all of us because he had literally just won the Oscar a week or two before we started shooting. I was a little bit intimidated because the movie he won the Oscar for he’s slapping the shit out of Miles Teller and yelling in his face so I thought oh boy I’m going to get my ass handed to me if I’m going out with his daughter in the movie, I’m not just a drummer in his class. It was fun because in a way we were able to cut loose a little bit because the material was lighter and it was comedic. We were all able to joke around and laugh and J.K. as intense as he is, he’s also really really funny and we would just be joking around all the time. That odd couple banter that we just naturally had sort of made it’s way into a lot of the scenes of the movie. The way we were in the movie is sort of how we were. We got along really well.
Gavin were you also a bit intimidated to work with J.K.?
Gavin Wiesen: I was nervous directing all three of them.
Emile Hirsch: You didn’t want to get clubbed with an Oscar.
Gavin Wiesen: What I think was interesting about J.K. is that he won an Oscar for ‘Whiplash’ were he’s the most intimidating version of himself and there was some of that in this role where he is meant to be very intimidating to Martin at first. J.K.’s warmth came through to me in a surprising way that he modulated and allowed this sort of shine through as the story progressed in ways that I don’t think were necessarily on the page and it deepened the connection with Emile’s character Martin. So I think as we all got used to J.K. it became a lot less intimidating, not never intimidating, still intimidating but it was a lesson.
Was the banjo scenes written in for Emile or was that a talent he was already bringing to the screen?
Gavin Wiesen: So that was already in the script and Emile learned to play banjo in four weeks.
Emile Hirsch: I had a ridiculous banjo coach who was this rock and roll dude that’s in a band. He would come over to my place and was more devoted to me learning the banjo then I even was. He was the most serious banjo teacher, he said this music is our art, it’s our lifeline man. It was like that, I got the full Charles Mason on it. One of the best parts about the movie for me was getting to write my own songs and go record them with my banjo teacher. We laid down 12 tracks, 12 original songs that are collecting dust somewhere.
So are you going to put them out?
Emile Hirsch: I don’t know, maybe we will just put them on the internet. I don’t know if I’ll charge people.
Analeigh Tipton: You should you were really good
Emile Hirsch: I had a lot of fun with it.
All NIghter is in theaters March 24th