Exclusive Interview With Jason Schwartzman On The Overnight And 7 Chinese Brothers

Jason Schwartzman

Jason Schwartzman had two movies at SXSW 2015: The Overnight and 7 Chinese Brothers. In The Overnight, he stars alongside Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling, and Judith Godrèche for Patrick Brice’s tale of a wild dinner party for parents in their thirties. In 7 Chinese Brothers, he plays a loveable loser for director Bob Byington. Schwartzman shines in both of the roles, turning in a pair of diverse and memorable performances.

While at the festival, we had a chance to sit down and chat with Jason about his new films. During our interview, we spoke about what draws him to a movie, the on-screen nudity in The Overnight, finding humor for a character, and much more.

Check out the full interview below, and enjoy!

What’s it like having two movies here at SXSW?

Schwartzman: It’s crazy. I’ve never even really had one movie here, so to have two movies here, it’s wild. It’s cool because I feel very comfortable here in Austin. I love it. Maybe it’s because we shot the movie here, I just feel very at home here. I know there’s an LA film festival, but it’s sort of like that. Other film festivals I feel like I’m going to a film festival. This feels like we’re showing two movies that I got to work on to people who are nice.

Which one do you want to talk about first?

Schwartzman: Either one!

Let’s start with The Overnight, though I guess this is a general question. When you get a script, what are the first things you’re looking for?

Schwartzman: I just read the script first. Like, what is this thing? What is the story and what is the movie? I’m not looking at the character. Of course you can’t help but think, “I could play this person.” But yeah, maybe it’s because I’m interested in the whole thing.

So then it’s what is this movie and what could this movie be? And who’s doing it and where are they doing it and when are they doing it? Sort of thinking about what the experience is going to be. That’s a big part of it for me. By the way, I’m not the level of actor who gets any movie they want. There’s a lot of disappointment. Maybe five people aren’t disappointed ever.

If even that.

Schwartzman: Yeah, if even. So when there are these experiences where someone is offering you a part in a movie, and you love the movie, it’s such a cool thing. I remember reading the script for The Overnight and thinking that I couldn’t believe how lucky… It was just so cool that there was a role in this for me. I just love the movie.

There’s just so much I’ve never done before. I’ve never done a sexual… Even though it’s not a sex comedy, there are those sexual overtones and undertones and tones. Middle tones. All kinds of tones. So it was that, but there was also these really big comedic moments or hopefully big comedic moments. And shocking moments. And then interwoven are these sensitive moments. These people all really sharing things about themselves. It was unusual.

When I read it, I loved the script. Then I found out they’re shooting it in 12 days. Two days and ten nights. That immediately is an exciting concept to me because I’ve never shot a movie so quickly. That’s what I mean by the experience. It’s like, oh wow, ten days, what’s this going to be like? Things like that. It’s a new experience.

Let’s talk about prosthetics. 

Schwartzman: Yeah, let’s talk about them.

How were those scenes?

Schwartzman: It was fun. I’m a pretty modest person, but I was more scared to take off my shirt than to be fully naked with a prosthetic penis on. I don’t know why. There’s something about taking your shirt off… Most people if they take their shirt off in a movie they’d be working out, I got this movie so close to when we were starting. I guess I’m saying that like I didn’t have time to get in shape. Even if I had time I wouldn’t have. I think there’s something about being so blunt and having this prosthetic on. It’s just cutting straight to the core of it. I felt so comfy.

I hardly had any clothes on. I never put my robe on. I just loved walking around naked all the time. That prosthetic, you’re just like, “Fuck it.” It was the best. I’d ask people to touch it. I wanted everyone on the crew to touch it. I didn’t want there to be this weird thing about this penis. I wanted it to be everyone’s penis. It’s a strange material. It’s like a tempur-pedic kind of material. You could squeeze it and it would slowly come back to it’s shape. Tempur-penis.

Oh man tempur-penis. Trademark that.

Schwartzman: Yeah, right!

It was comfortable though?

Schwartzman: It was not comfortable physically. The inside of it was a squishy, kind of breast-cutlet material. It was okay. It wasn’t the most comfortable, but you get used to it.

The whole cast in this movie, the four main people–

Schwartzman: It’s insane.

How was it working with the others?

Schwartzman: Well that’s the other thing. I’m a huge Adam Scott fan, so when they said he was doing it I was like, “Oh wow.” Taylor I just met on this movie, Judith as well, but I love them. There’s something about working twelve days in this one location with delirious hours. You really get to know people. I love Taylor so much, she’s a really good friend of mine now.

I’ve heard plenty of people say Adam Scott’s the best straight man working right now.

Schwartzman: He might be. He really is. His range is insane. He can do anything you ask. And he’s a very together person. He’s not sloppy.