While divorce may not be something typically associated with comedy, that didn’t stop writer/director Stu Zicherman from creating the movie A.C.O.D., detailing the after effects of divorce on a grown man – played by none other than Adam Scott. Together, these two brought laughs into the life of a man who years later discovers his childhood “therapist” was only using him for research, writing a book that predicted his future outcome. Scott’s character brags how he’d defied every one of the author’s predictions, becoming independent and successful, but starts to realize that might only be on the outside.
I recently had the opportunity to partake in a roundtable interview with both Stu Zicherman and Adam Scott, who were in New York promoting their new film. Read on to hear about their own experiences with the newly coined situation, how Stu got such a dynamite cast together, and the comedy that was achieved out of a more serious scenario. Enjoy!
During the credits of A.C.O.D., there’s a montage of people talking about their experiences similar to ones in the film, and we asked Stu if they were anyone special:
Stu Zicherman: That’s the crew. When we were making the movie, the crew kept coming up and telling me stories about how they’d come from divorced families, so the last day I brought a camera and just shot them all. I slapped it together when I got back from Atlanta, and I thought it was a nice little piece for the movie. It’s a little more serious than I wanted it to be, but, I don’t know, I think it was fine.
Referencing Adam’s scenes with the hilarious Jane Lynch, we asked the actor how hard it was to keep a straight face, and if there are any outtakes of him breaking character:
Adam Scott: There has to be, right? [To Stu]
Stu Zicherman: Yeah, but I think I did a lot of the laughing. As a first time director, you sometimes become a fan, and are watching, as a fan. I feel like I ruined a few takes, just from laughing.
Adam Scott: It got to the point where if I didn’t hear Stu laughing, I thought there was something wrong. We do it on Parks And Recreation all the time – if people behind the monitors are laughing, they always apologize, but it’s like, “No, no, no, keep it up! It’s actually nice.”
Stu Zicherman: Adam, Jane, Catherine, Richard, Amy – it’s a murderer’s row of people who are incredibly professional and have worked with other very funny people before. What was unique about this is that Adam had worked with a lot of the cast already, he’d worked with Jane, Richard, Amy – they seem less surprised when others make them laugh than I was.
Noting how close knit the cast was on A.C.O.D., we asked Stu what it was like being an “outsider” of sorts:
Stu Zicherman: Oh I’m still the outsider. [Laughs] No, it’s amazing. When you’re a fan of certain actors, and you watch them do certain things, then you want them in your movie, and you get them in your movie, asking them to do things that are slightly different than what they’ve been doing – for Jane and Amy especially, we were asking them to play parts that were a bit of a departure from what they’re used to playing. I remember the first day with Jane, it was a little intimidating. I really wanted that character to be grounded, and I kept going back to her saying, “She’s desperate!” We had almost no rehearsal time.
You don’t feel like an outsider for long, because everyone is so collaborative..
Mentioning the cast, we asked Stu if he was conscious of the cast he was putting together in terms of their recent collaborations:
Stu Zicherman: One of the great things about doing an independent movie is that actors seem keen to do things they don’t normally do. I think Amy liked playing the bad guy, and that’s why even though she loves Adam, I don’t think she would have taken the role had it not been a departure. Jessica [Alba] was another example. She hadn’t really done anything like this, and she really wanted to. Even someone like Richard Jenkins – I loved the idea of him playing this part because of what he did in Flirting With Disaster. People are always excited to try things and do things they haven’t been doing.