It stars Erinn Hayes, who played Kevin James’ wife (Donna) on the hit series Kevin Can Wait, along with Riley Smith (Frequency, True Blood), Micah Hauptman (Everest), Christina Scherer (The Intern) and Kirk Baltz—best known as the cop who lost his ear in Reservoir Dogs.
The film is not about the president, but a darkly funny look at five interrelated characters who are hitting bottom in their lives and can no longer outrun the secrets that have sustained them—think Todd Solondz meets Aaron Sorkin. The presidential subplot is a comment on how we tend to look outward to be rescued instead of taking responsibility for our actions.
Buzzfeed sat down with writer/director Alan Watt and producer David Streit to discuss the film.
BF: Congratulations on all of the accolades. Are you surprised by the reaction?
DS: Sort of. This was a passion project from the beginning and we frankly had very few expectations.
BF: The press has called it “visionary, defying categorization, a cult hit.” Where did the idea come from?
AW: I kind of wrote the first draft in a frenzy back when I was working as a comic. This was a while ago. It took a long time to raise the money.
DS: Yes, we had years of preproduction. What a gift.
AW: . . . and at the time I was fascinated by these comics who were so . . . sort of damaged, and yet, very articulate, self-aware, and highly functioning. I thought at the time that I was writing about their lives and not my own. Denial’s a funny thing. I actually thought I was basically okay, even though I was going five days at a stretch with no sleep and suffering from crippling anxiety and depression.
BF: The film is dark, no question, but it’s ultimately redemptive, albeit ironically.
AW: I was just trying to capture the madness of that time, the death rattle of one’s youth where you hear the bell tolling and must make a choice between taking responsibility or losing yourself to some existential abyss.
BF: Is there a reason the story takes place in one night?
AW: Not consciously, but I wanted to show the loneliness and isolation where you start to lose touch with reality. The whole thing is a fever dream with the suggestion that this might even all just be happening in their minds.
BF: The film looks great, definitely not like a low-budget indie.
AW: You can thank David for that. He’s been making films for years and taught at the American Film Institute where he recruited the best of their recent graduates for our crew.
BF: The film is shot almost entirely in interiors, yet it feels cinematic, not like a filmed play.
AW: Right, we played with the time line a lot. As the night unravels so do their memories so you don’t feel like you’re watching a conventional narrative. It hopefully feels like a puzzle revealing itself with a lot of subliminal sound design.
DS: Listen closely and you’ll hear a lot of weird stuff like crashing waves and seagulls in the urban loft.
BF: Where can people find the film?
DS: It’s on most of the video-on-demand platforms. Just go to interiornightthefilm.com to watch it.