Krysten Ritter on Making Her Dreams 'Happen'
As Krysten Ritter learned earlier this year when her ABC sitcom, Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23, premiered simultaneously as the movie she co-wrote, Life Happens, hit theaters, timing is everything. And if you missed the indie's theatrical debut, now is the time for you to catch the charming tale of three best friends and a baby.
Joining Krysten in the film she co-wrote, co-produced and co-stars in are Kate Bosworth, Rachel Bilson, Geoff Stults, Kristen Johnston, Justin Kirk, Rhys Coiro, Colin Egglesfield and Jason Biggs. I caught up with Krysten to talk about Life's long road from script to screen, and everything that happened in between.
TheInsider.com: Life Happens is clearly a labor of love for you -- but was it harder than expected to get it into theaters?
Krysten Ritter: Life Happens is like the little movie that shouldn't be. We had a lot of trouble getting it released. Every single day we faced more hurdles. It's hard to find the money to finance independent films, which are also hard to sell. It's all about endurance and being in it for the long haul. It's totally an uphill battle. Especially when you're dealing with a budget this small. There's no money to shoot extra scenes, there's no money for extra coverage. You're really confined ... but limitations are sometimes where creativity flourishes the most. It was an amazing experience for me. I learned so much and would'’t take it back for anything.
Insider.com: The film also underwent a title change, going from B.F.F. & Baby to Life Happens. Do you like this new title?
Krysten: I was never on board with changing the title. I'm just being totally candid. But they have these test audiences and I think it's a really stupid way to choose a title. They basically say, "Would you guys see a movie called BFF & Baby?" The audience says, "No." They ask, "Would you see a movie called Life Happens?" The audience says, "Maybe." So they go with that! It's really not a great way to go about things, but there's always the issue of guys not seeing a movie with "Baby" in the title – but so what? Women make up more than half the population! Go for the girls and go for them hard. If the guys come, great – and the ones who have seen it, really enjoy it. This isn't Transformers, we're not a slamdunk for getting a large male audience, but that's what you gotta do for distribution. And, at the end of the day, who cares what the title is! We made this movie for $4 and a bunch of elbow grease, so the fact we're even talking about it is so huge.
Insider.com: You assembled an amazing cast -- how much of that was you calling friends and saying, "Are you free today?"
Krysten: 100 percent of it. I had worked with Geoff Stults, Justin Kirk, Kristen Johnston, I knew Rachel Bilson and just called them up to read the script. "If you like it, please do it." Kate Bosworth had just worked with Rhys Coiro on Straw Dogs, so Kat [Coiro, Rhys' wife and Life's co-writer/director] knew Kate. We basically used friend's babies, all of our friend's dogs, there are shots of my house. We were literally pulling favors from best friends, which comes with a responsibility because then you're on set and have to make sure everyone's taken care of. It's so rare where you know every single person on set, but that made it feel like a family.
Insider.com: I have to say, I can't recall a time Geoff's looked better on screen.
Krysten: I know, right? You're welcome. It's funny because when I asked him to do the movie and meet Kat, I swear to god he came to lunch and hadn't even read the script. He was so kind and game to do whatever I wanted. He would text me from the gym, "Krysten, I'm working out for you right now" because I told him he had to get that sh*t tight for our sex scene [laughs]. He was such a great sport, I just adore him for everything he did for this movie. Trust me, it wasn't a bad day at work when I had to make out with him.
Insider.com: Or when your character had to lactate on his face?
Krysten: That was the weirdest scene to shoot, ever. Literally, I'm sitting on top of him, the camera is over my shoulder, someone is holding tubes under my armpits, someone is behind them squirting milk into a siphon thing. It was an assembly line to get milk to spray in the right place. I'm pretty sure we got it on the first take though, thank God for Geoff [laughs].
Insider.com: How much of the movie is fictional and how much of it is based on people you and Kat know?
Krysten: There's definitely a lot of real life stuff, but also tons of fiction. You may start from a truthful place, but then you embellish and the characters take on their own lives. Stuff with Kim changing the diaper in the back of a car happened to a friend, and one conversation I had with Kat ended up, almost verbatim, in the script the next day. There was definitely a lot of real life stuff.
Insider.com: And the lactation scene, fact or fiction?
Krysten: It's fact. Sadly, fact. I'll leave it at that because I can't name names. [laughs]
Life Happens hits DVD August 28, click here to pre-order!