Since her breakout film “Humpday” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival five years ago, writer/director Lynn Shelton has been one of the hardest-working women in the business. In addition to her last two features—“Your Sister’s Sister” and “Touchy Feely”—she has also directed episodes of “New Girl” and “Mad Men.” Her films are complex and touching explorations of human relationships and, until now, they have mostly been improvisational works developed with talented ensembles of actors (read our review here).
In her latest film “Laggies,” which premiered last week at the Sundance, Shelton switches gears, working from another person’s script for the first time—without most of her standard improvisation—on a much higher budget (“I broke the million-dollar mark, by quite a lot!”), and with a bigger cast of characters, many of them A-list. The result is a polished and unique rom-com about a young woman (Keira Knightley, in a comedic return to her “Bend it Like Beckham” roots) caught in a quarter-life crisis who bonds with a teenager (a winning Chloë Grace Moretz) and her rakish father (Sam Rockwell, who’s at his charming best).
Well-received at Sundance, “Laggies” quickly secured a distribution deal with A24 (read more—the company that released both “The Bling Ring” and “The Spectacular Now” last year). We talked to both Shelton and Rockwell on the day the deal was announced, and they were understandably over the moon. Check out our conversations with them below, with Rockwell discussing his work on the movie and the Sundance experience, and Shelton on working with bigger budgets, shooting under the radar in Seattle, and more.