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Casey Wilson & June Diane Raphael Talk 'Ass Backwards,' Road Trip Goggles, And The Challenges of Indie Filmmaking

Photo of Katie Walsh By Katie Walsh | The Playlist October 4, 2013 at 6:03PM

Casey Wilson and June Diane Raphael are two comedians/writers/actresses who have gained recognition on nearly every platform a comedian can take advantage of these days. College buddies at NYU, they studied improv comedy at New York’s UCB theater where they performed their long running show, "Rode Hard and Put Away Wet," before Hollywood scooped them up to write the Kate Hudson/Anne Hathaway vehicle “Bride Wars.” Since then, Wilson has put in stints on TV as an SNL cast member and on the kooky (and sadly cancelled) ABC sitcom “Happy Endings.” Raphael appeared in “Year One,” starred in the "Bachelorette"-parody web series “Burning Love” (coming soon to E!), and is a co-host of the addictive and hilarious bad movie podcast “How Did This Get Made?”
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Ass Backwards (skip crop)

How important do you think it is for young performers or female performers to create their own material?
Casey: I think it’s very important. For us, we really wanted to write something that we had to say and then get to act in it too. We had written “Bride Wars” in the more commercial realm for Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway, and that was its own great experience, but I think nowadays, especially in this business, to just be an actor, to me would feel very, not stifling, but you’re just so at the mercy of everyone else. And you’re at the mercy of everyone else in independent film, but you have so many more choices and agency over your own career.

June: I think that, especially starting out, we really started writing roles so that we could act in them, that was always the idea. I just think there’s a lack of really complex female characters out there, something we were reacting to, from writing in the studio world for awhile was just the note, over and over again about making women likable and there’s just this real need to see women behaving well.

Casey: With everything I love, like Nicole Holofcener’s work or Mike White’s stuff with women, they’re not likable, like "The Comeback" and Valerie Cherish, but I think they’re so much more interesting and fun and so I also think we’re giving ourselves an opportunity that maybe other people weren’t ready to give us. But then you sort of have to tell people what you’re ready for, in a way.

June: And, I think there’s a certain style of comedy that we’re doing in this that’s bigger.

Casey: It is broad.

June: It’s physical, it’s bigger characters that are heightened, that we haven’t seen in awhile and that we really wanted to do. We don’t think of them as sketch characters, like that, but we do see them as a little but larger than life, and that type of comedy I think really appeals to us.

How much input did you have on the costumes?
Casey: That was kind of all of our director Chris Nelson, he really wanted the characters to have this iconic different looks, he wanted me to go blonde, June was brunette at the time, and then he wanted these distinctive looks and there’s something funny about these girls who are delusional who are wearing fashions and clothes that are so heightened. And I think that is kind of a nod to "Sex and the City," a girl who’s watched that and thought “I’m Samantha.”

June: We love this idea of Kate and Chloe kind of in a larger sense, they are performing ideas of themselves all the time. Performing being a star, being a businesswoman, which I do think speaks to our generation a bit. You can call yourself something before you really are. When people, especially with Facebook and everything there’s this performance of your identity. We just love the idea of Kate and Chloe in costumes, truly and literally in costumes. We thought that was really right, and that was totally our director, it was all him.

Casey: He’s really influenced by Pedro Almodovar and I can see that in there too, with the bright colors.

What’s next for you two?
Casey: June and I are writing two pilots, and I’m going to shoot a part in “Gone Girl,” and just seeing what’s next.

June: Writing those pilots as well. I did a role in “Anchorman 2” which is coming out which I’m excited about, and “Burning Love,” which is a Yahoo web series is going to E!

“Ass Backwards” is on now on VOD and opens in theaters on November 8th.

This article is related to: Interviews, Interviews, Ass Backwards, Casey Wilson, June Diane Raphael


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