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Exclusive Interview With Adam Pally And Rosa Salazar On Night Owls

One of the films of SXSW 2015 that's getting praised by nearly everyone who's seen it is Charles Hood's Night Owls. Telling the story of a drunken one night stand that takes a turn for the darker when one character takes a bottle of pills, Night Owls finds a way to be one of the most hilarious films of the festival. Much of that humor is thanks to the excellent chemistry between the two leads as they beat each other up and banter back and forth.
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You spent the first, what, quarter of the movie kind of strung out. Is that something that appealed to you about the script or was it more of a con? 

Salazar: I didn’t really look at it either way. I didn’t say, “Oh this is great!” or “This is horrible.” I was sort of like, “This is necessary for the story.” The only part that was a little bit tricky was getting less messed up throughout the movie and sort of getting sober from a really drugged out level.

Pally: We would always monitor that. We didn’t shoot in order so it was always like, “How fucked up am I?” or “What’s my scale?” But I think it worked out in a nice logical order.

Your character is all over the place, kind of batty for most of the movie. How’d you do that without falling into slapstick territory? 

Salazar: I thought we did.

Pally: Yeah, I mean a part of it we liked initially was that it was slapsticky in a real way. I mean, she beat the shit out of me, and then I hurt her. That was part of what was fun about the movie. There are scenes that are slapstick, but when they’re played that way and shot that way, it feels serious.

Salazar: I fell down on the treadmill. That was pretty slapsticky.

Pally: I get sprayed in the face with mace and crawl on the ground. We were both up for that shit. It’s fun, we love doing that stuff.

Salazar: I don’t know how to do it the right way, but we did it the right way, and as long as you do it the right way, it doesn’t come off cheeky.

Pally: I have two videos on my phone that I’ll look at sometimes if I’m bored. It’s Rosa practicing falling on the treadmill. And each time it’s this weird slump down, roll off, smacks her head and then she pops up and says, “Like that? Was that right?” I have like two or three of them which means she practiced like four or five times.

Salazar: I think that those parts have to be played very specifically and then the narrative parts have to have their own sort of attention.

Pally: I’ve been calling her Charlize Chaplin.

Salazar: I don’t think you’ve ever called me that.

Pally: No never once.

Put that straight on the IMDB profile.

Pally: Oh good, good.

Who got hurt more during the filming?

Pally: Oh, I broke Rosa’s rib.

Salazar: But I got to beat the shit out of you for it. So I felt good about it. I was like, “This is a good trade off.”

Pally: It was. I had to be very stoic about it, but a lot of times it hurt. She pulled my hair out. Like out of my scalp.

Salazar: He put me in a sink.

Pally: Yeah I washed her like a baby. So we beat the shit out of each other. But it was fun. I think if it would’ve been another actor, where we didn’t trust each other or have that kind of instant easiness, they wouldn’t have let me pick them up and put them in a sink. Or I wouldn’t have let them throw nine phones at me.

Salazar: The part for the girl required an actress who had no pride.

Pally: And I thought when I read it, Rosa!

Salazar: Okay so going back to your question of was that a good thing or a bad thing, being strung out. To me, one of the funniest moments is when he goes into the bathroom and first discovers me and he’s really trying to get me to move and do all this stuff. I thought that was brilliant. I thought that was so fun. But I don’t think many actresses would’ve been down for “You’re going to wear a hoodie and your panties. And you’re also going to be really drugged up.”

Pally: And that was like the first day. We knew each other well.

Salazar: Not that well.

Pally: Not that well. And I walked in and saw her like that, it reminded me that this is a different kind of film. When you see a girl who is really in trouble you’re like, “Oh, I need to not be flippant about this movie.”

Salazar: Take something seriously for once in your measly life.

Pally: Still never done that. But I think I faked it good enough.

Salazar: This is his biggest regret ever.

I already asked Adam, but what’s your method for staying awake at night when you’re falling asleep?

Pally: You’re so good at it.

Salazar: I just practiced doing that kind of stuff as a kid all the time. I was that kid who was always practicing crying or falling asleep or being angry or being excited. I was that weirdo in my room making faces.

Pally: It amazes me how awake you were all the time. I think there was a ton of behind-the-set pictures of me passed out on the couch and you behind me like (makes a face to imitate Salazar) and the time is like 5:00 a.m. When people should be dying.

Salazar: And then it flips when they’re like “Action” and he’s very awake and I’m like (fakes being passed out).

Pally: It was interesting. It was fun.

Salazar: I’m sort of narcoleptic. I could fall asleep right now, at this table. I can fall asleep on a dime. They’d have me lay down and I’d just drift off naturally. There’s no set technique. Every movie is different. Every movie requires you to change to that technique. For this one it was just trying to be as free and as natural as possible.

Anything cool coming up?

Pally: Rosa’s an action movie star. She’s got a ton of cool shit. I don’t. Rosa does.

Salazar: I just sent that clip of myself falling down on the treadmill from Adam’s phone to J.J. and–

Pally: And then she got cast in all the young adult films. Rosa’s in Insurgent and Divergent and Malergent and Preferbent and Hunger Games 

Salazar: And you’re in Happy Endings!

Pally: And I’m hoping for a Happy Endings reunion still.

Salazar: No, Adam just finished Mindy and I think took all of the fans with him. But back to me… I go straight from here to New York for the Insurgent premiere, March 16, that’s true. And then I have Maze Runner coming out in September. Maze Runner 2. So yeah, I’ll be shooting the third Divergent and the third Maze Runner this year.

Pally: I’m thinking about investing in a bunch of real estate in South Florida. I would love to talk to you about it. It’s pretty simple. I talk to you, you talk to three other people.

Salazar: I have a similar project I’m working on, but it’s with knives.

Pally: It’s a pyramid knife scheme?

Salazar: Adam is writing his own shoes. Adam just did an indie with Thomas Middleditch and Nick Kroll and all of these amazing people.

Pally: I have what we call an under-the-radar career. I’m going to blow up at 49.

Salazar: Want to trade?

Pally: Uh, no.

Salazar: I was in a harness for two weeks straight.

Pally: I’ve seen you with the bruises on your arms. No way.

Salazar: Maze Runner killed me.

Pally: But no, we’re good.

Salazar: That was the question? Are you good?

That concludes the interview, but we’d like to thank Adam and Rosa for taking time to talk. Be sure to see Night Owls when you get the chance! 

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