At the start of “The Overnight,” you can literally see Adam and Naomi Scott’s production company Gettin’ Rad come roaring out the gate by way of their logo. But to hear it from the married couple, not a lot of thought went into making such an initial impression.
“We had come up with a name, but we needed a logo,” says Adam, who stars in “The Overnight” in addition to producing it. “I think we just said “Well, how about a tiger wearing sunglasses?”
“My brother drew it,” adds Naomi, who as it seems in all matters Gettin’ Rad, would take such madness and give it a professional polish.
Perfectly absurd and lovingly crafted, the arresting image may not say much to those who don’t share the Scotts’ non-sequitur sense of humor, yet says everything you need to know about their mischievous company. Having the distinction of being introduced first to the public when Conan O’Brien mercilessly mocked their name Gettin’ Rad, the company has leveraged the rise of Adam as a comic force, after stints on “Parks and Rec” and “Party Down,” and Naomi’s feel for the zeitgeist as a former producer on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” to do something different, making their first foray into feature territory with “The Overnight” after successfully turning the stupid into the sublime with “The Greatest Event in Television History,” an Adult Swim production that saw Adam and frequent Spike Jonze collaborator Lance Bangs painstakingly recreate the opening sequences of ‘80s shows such as “Hart to Hart,”“Bosom Buddies” and “Simon and Simon” with a coterie of famous co-stars.
As silly an endeavor as it may have been, it set Gettin’ Rad up to make some serious waves as a multi-platform company, able to upset the apple cart on a variety of mediums, whether it’s web shorts, TV shows or feature-length films. “The Overnight” is a case in point, featuring Scott and “Orange is the New Black” star Taylor Schilling as a recently relocated couple whose evening out with an enigmatic couple (Jason Schwartzman and Judith Godreche) they met at the park becomes a night none of them will ever forget. Not only does it push the envelope with its humor, liberal in its use of full-frontal male nudity and anus-inspired artwork, but “The Overnight” raises provocative questions about keeping passion alive in a long-term relationship, with writer/director Patrick Brice unafraid of arriving at difficult conclusions.
It speaks volumes about the goals of Gettin’ Rad that Adam picked a project for the company’s first in which he plays someone who’s lack of personal endowment is a plot point (and an impressively poignant one at that). But poised for big things, it was my good fortune to sit down with the Scotts to talk about wearing so many hats on the first feature they’ve produced together, how their own comic sensibilities needed to align before starting a company and joining forces with Mark Duplass to produce “The Overnight.”
How did the idea of forming this company come about?
Adam Scott: We had always wanted to start something together, but when I started at “Parks and Rec,” we figured that was a good time to start doing it.
Naomi Scott: We had a deal with NBC, so we started to do development stuff. It might have been not the best timing, because Adam was new on the show, and we have two little kids, but we started that process and realized we really liked working together. We hadn’t honed in on what kind of stuff we wanted to do yet, either, which I think gave us an opportunity to start figuring out what kind of material [we wanted to produce]. We’ve been together for a long time, so part of that is our tastes now have blended. They were pretty similar to start with, but now the things that make me laugh, make him laugh and vice versa.
Were features always the goal of the company or did “The Overnight” just come and just blow you away?
Naomi Scott: We had hoped to do them. Producing was where I was most comfortable and we just also realized that if we really wanted to see one another, working together made sense. There was a good chance it could have gone terribly, too. TV was like the most comfortable place to start, but we had hoped features would be on the agenda too. It was a timing thing. Mark Duplass and Adam and I had worked together once before on something for Funny or Die that Adam directed, so we wanted to find something else and vice versa. [Mark’s] the one that actually brought us the script and said, “You guys should produce this and Adam should be naked in it.”
It was interesting to see “The Overnight” in the context of Adam’s career since it feels like a bit of a culmination of everything that’s come before, whether it’s the absurdist humor of “Step Brothers” or the dramatic investigation of relationships like “Tell Me You Love Me.” Was it actually a consideration in picking this as your first feature as a production company to get something that would have that range?
Adam Scott: I don’t think I was really thinking in those terms, but you’re right. [“The Overnight”] was just a good story and we really liked it, thought it was really funny and really heartfelt. It was also really small, and it was going to be a quick shoot, low budget, so we were looking for something fairly contained and this was perfect for that.
Naomi Scott: We could relate to it, too. We could understand the characters. I don’t know if this script would have appealed to me as much 10 years earlier. I would have enjoyed it, but it wouldn’t have intrigued me as much, so the timing of it also made sense. We read some features before that didn’t tick all those boxes, but this one did.
Patrick had said you actually shot at Adam Carolla’s house for the central setting of the film. How did you swing that?
Naomi Scott: I used to work for Adam and his production company Jackal, so I knew him and I would drive by this house all the time, this pink, Spanish Mediterranean home and I was like “I think that’s Adam’s.” The house is so important in the script, we had to find something that was large enough to serve multiple purposes. One day there was a “for rent” sign and I knew he didn’t live there anymore, but I just called him up and said “Is it available and can we rent it for just two weeks?” He said “Of course.” Which was great. He had tenants coming in soon thereafter so the timing was right.
Even though you both bring a wealth of experience to this, does anything prepare you for an 11-day shoot where you’re wearing so many hats? Naomi served as a first assistant director, as well, I noticed.
Naomi Scott: Yeah, first AD.
Adam Scott: And costume supervisor. It was quick, but again, the script really lent itself to a quick shoot like that. Even so, it was unusually fast, which made it it’s own animal. When you have 11 days to shoot a feature, you’re working at a different pace than you’ve ever worked before and it was really fun and exciting to work that fast. Naomi really scheduled the movie right and we were never wanting for time. As long as we stayed on schedule, we got it done.
Naomi Scott: Yeah, I feel like if we knew what we were going into. We knew for a couple of months how long the shoot was going to be and what our restrictions were – I was probably more afraid two months out than I was the week before because at that point I knew what was left to accomplish, which was shooting it.
What was the collaboration like with the Duplasses? From what I gather, Mark served more of a godfather role and it was you who were more involved in the day-to-day production.
Naomi Scott: It was awesome.
Adam Scott: They’re the best, so we were excited to work with those guys. They’re amazing.
Naomi Scott: For the crew, we had mostly our folks – the people we’d worked with on “Greatest Event” and other things, but we were able to tap into a couple of their below-the-line talent people and it was really fun to seamlessly bring these two camps together. You never know what they’re used to, but we jelled together quickly. Also, just [having] the association with the Duplasses as part of the production, because we were newer face helped as well because it gave a good feeling for those who knew that camp better than ours.
You mention “Greatest Event” and having a team you go back to again and again. Do you operate as an incubator for talent where ideas start out as one thing, like a short for Adult Swim, and you could develop it as a feature or vice versa where someone could pitch a feature and you might think, this might be better as web series?
Adam Scott: Not yet.
Naomi Scott: It’s starting. After Sundance, things have really started, in terms of features. We’ve been getting a lot more people bringing us projects that maybe wouldn’t have otherwise come to us because we didn’t have a track record. I think a lot of those had also been filmmakers who have done mostly shorts [or played in] some digital space. Ultimately, [the question we ask ourselves is] just does the story appeal to us and make sense, and from there it’s finding the right home, whether it’s on the screen, cable or network, whatever it might be. That’s case by case.
Patrick said the Thai Town shoot was crazy – was that the wildest day of shooting?
Naomi Scott: That was actually a very easy day because we weren’t in the house so much. To be honest, of all the things that we shot, the most stressful was the pool stuff. As the producer and AD, I was also like a mom. I was like “Guys, we can’t be so loud at two in the morning.” And they had to be loud, they were in the middle of a big party. But I was always really wary because it was our neighborhood. I didn’t want the cops to come or anyone to call us and tell us to be quiet.
Adam Scott: I thought the park was stressful. It was our last day of shooting and our first time in a big open space. Figuring out the geography of the scene was pretty trying. We had extras. We couldn’t let the sun go down.
Naomi Scott: … Although we did have an ice cream truck that day. I thought that helped things quite a bit.
Adam Scott: It did.
Naomi Scott: We rented this ice cream truck and we were like “Everyone, this is our last day, this is going to be our big treat.” He came and we were only like 15 people. It didn’t dawn on me that he would come prepared for like 50, and here we are, so I was like “You guys, we have him for another hour,” and I kept encouraging everyone to go back for a second ice cream. Everyone was like “I don’t think I can move.”
It seems like the festival run has been a cherry on top of the sundae. Has it been an exciting experience for you going to all the major ones since Sundance?
Naomi Scott: For me, it has been. I’ve always really been [Adam’s] plus one at film festivals. That hasn’t really been my world, so it’s been eye-opening to watch it from a different perspective. It’s also been fun to see Patrick get a lot of attention. At different festivals, we’ve had different talent there. For instance in Tribeca, it was great to see Taylor [Schilling] finally be able to promote the film and talk about it and see how excited she was, so it’s been a really fun experience. I’m so happy that people like to see this movie. They watch it in a big group and it’s really satisfying.