Interview: Rashida Jones, Will McCormack: Celeste and Jesse Forever

Rashida Jones and Will McCormack make their editorial debuts
as co-writers of the upcoming film, Celeste
and Jesse Forever.  The duo
also stars in the flick, which is currently playing in select cities and
expanding over the coming weeks, and I had the opportunity to sit down for a
roundtable discussion with the pair to discuss the project as well as what the
pair expects to be working on in the near future.

Celeste and Jesse
Forever is a romantic comedy, a genre that, according to McCormack, doesn't
leave much room for innovation. "You have the couple.  In this case, they split up, and then they either get back
together, or they don't," McCormack explained.

With rom-coms being as formulaic as they are, both Jones and
McCormack knew they faced a real challenge in attempting to introduce something
new and fresh to the genre.  Jones
mentioned that they wanted to present, "the ugly side," of a rom-com in order
to give the film a real-to-life feel. 
McCormack goes on to point out that a lot of the situations in the film
were inspired by real life heartbreak experienced by close, personal friends.

The two began writing the movie nearly three and a half
years ago, huddled together around a single computer in the backyard.  "We do get more done when we work
separately, but we have a lot more fun when we work together," joked Jones.

When asked if at any point he envisioned himself playing the
part of the main character, McCormack responded, "maybe for half a second, but
not any longer than that!" 
McCormack went on to explain that the majority of his experience is with
supporting character roles and that he is not only more comfortable playing
those parts but actually prefers it.

As it turns out, Andy Samberg, who ended up starring as the
male lead, is a close, personal friend of Jones as well.  The two hang out often, making their
onscreen dynamic that much more believable.  When asked if she and Samberg actually make little,
heart-shaped hand signals to each other, like their characters in the movie,
Jones was quick to responded, "No! 
That was just something that we made up.  We wanted the characters to have some annoying quirk that
they did that was unique to their relationship." With a grin, McCormack added, "Like
speaking with German accents or masturbating with vegetables."

Interestingly enough, the writers had slightly differing
opinions on where they envisioned the two main characters some twenty years down
the road.  While they both agreed
that Jesse was probably a great dad in a struggling relationship, they had
completely different theories as to where Celeste wound up.  Jones was of the belief that her
character was able to move on and be happy whereas McCormack pictured her a bit
differently.  "She probably ended up
having her gay friend's baby," he joked. I guess we'll just have to wait for
the sequel to find that one out!

Both Jones and McCormack would very much like to work
together again on future projects and they are both of a single mind when it
comes to their next film. "Something about family.  About family and how our definition of what it means to be
successful changes over time," says McCormack, "I'm thinking of the movie Parenthood." When asked if it will also
be a comedy, Jones quickly responded, "Oh yeah!"  "Definitely!" "I believe all movies should be funny," added


As the roundtable wrapped up, we cornered the two writers
for one last little snippet of behind-the-scenes insight.  In response to the question, Was there any significance to the names Celeste
and Jesse, McCormack replied, "We know a lot of Jesses.  It's a pretty common name in LA.  Celeste, though"¦I actually don't
recall"¦Rashida, why'd we go with the name Celeste?"  Jones chipped in with "It's the name of the cat." McCormack
chucked, "Oh yeah, it's the name of the cat!"  



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