In this episode of The Discourse Podcast, we talk to actress Alison Brie (“Community”) and director Jeff Baena (“The Little Hours”), both of whom are currently out promoting their latest project that they co-wrote together, “Spin Me Round.” It’s their third collaboration following “The Little Hours” (2017) and “Horse Girl” (2020), the latter of which Brie starred in and co-wrote.
“Spin Me Round” stars Alison Brie as a well-known Italian chain restaurant manager who wins an all-expenses-paid getaway to the restaurant’s “institute” outside of Florence, Italy. While there, she meets and has a brief romance with the charismatic owner of the chain and slips into a potentially sinister unraveling of her trip. The film has a jam-packed cast filled with comedic heavy-hitters like Aubrey Plaza (who happens to be Baena’s wife), Fred Armisen, Tim Heidecker, Molly Shannon, Debby Ryan, Tricia Helfer, and Alessandro Nivola.
While sitting down with host Mike DeAngelo, Alison and Jeff discussed the very true story behind the film.
“I happened to read this article about a manager from an unnamed Italian franchise restaurant that had been a part of a program where they sent the top managers to Italy to learn about food, wine, and culture at their institute,” Baena said. “And the person was basically complaining about what an awful experience it was, how there was no organization, how the expectation when you go to the website that was talking about this program, there was like this picture of an insane villa in Tuscany, but they had to stay in this rundown dorm. And the only thing they organized was that they had the chef de cuisine make a bolognese for them…so I just sort of ran with that and took it to its logical conclusion, I guess.”
And if you know Baena’s filmography, his version of a “logical conclusion” is anything but that, as the story jumps genres multiple times and ends with, shall we say, a “bang.”
This year also marks the fifth anniversary of Baena & Brie’s film, “The Little Hours,” which has amassed a cult following in recent years. When discussing their fond memories of their time on the film, Baena was quick to dispel any plans for a sequel or other stories from Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini’s “The Decameron,” on which the film is loosely based.
“Well, I did three, and there was potentially one detail to make it four different stories [from ‘The Decameron’], but I think I kind of did that. I like the idea of revisiting some historical work of fiction or some historical event and doing it in a similar style.” Baena shared.
Recently, rumors of a “Community” feature film was all but confirmed when Brie said, “There’s been movement” on the project. When asked what she’d want to see out of a possible film, Brie was excited but hesitant to make predictions.
“You know, last we saw [my character Annie Edison], she was going to work for the FBI,” Brie said of her character. “I don’t ever like to throw out any ideas of the plot of ‘Community’ stuff because that is Dan Harmon’s realm. That is for his genius, idiosyncratic brain to come up with. I would just be excited to get on a set with those actors again because I love that group so much, and they’re still some of my closest friends. We were all texting this morning. We probably text each other on that group chain almost every day still, so I feel like we’re in the most promising moment that has existed towards the idea of making a movie, but I don’t have any new information, so your guess is as good as mine as to whether or not it will really happen, but my fingers are crossed.”
“Spin Me Round” will be in theaters, on-demand, and available on AMC+ on Friday, August 19. Take a listen to the entire conversation below:
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