As much of the country continues to quarantine, a lot of Americans are continually looking for ideas on what they should be watching to pass the time.
While there are plenty of binge-worthy shows out there, a slew of films that had previously been scheduled to have theatrical releases are being released to on-demand services in order to satisfy audiences’ appetite for new movies.
The latest on that list of movies that weren’t pushed back? “Bad Therapy,” starring Alicia Silverstone, Rob Corddry and Michaela Watkins. The dark comedy follows a couple that turns to therapy to fix their marital woes, only to discover that their therapist is prepared to torpedo their marriage.
Ahead of the home release of “Bad Therapy” on Friday, April 17, In The Know’s Gibson Johns caught up with Alicia Silverstone over the phone to chat about the film, how she’s giving back during the quarantine and what it was like working with “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Kyle Richards on “American Women.”
Read In The Know’s full interview with Alicia Silverstone below:
How have you been holding up over the past month or so? Where are you quarantined right now?
I’m at my home in L.A. It’s obviously a really surreal time, and I’m so, so grateful that me and my family are healthy, but I have quite a few friends who got the illness, and I did have one friend that passed away.
Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that.
Thank you. But, in general, I feel really lucky and happy. I’m savoring these mornings where my son and I spend, like, two hours in bed, just giggling and talking, enjoying the dog. And there’s no where we have to be. And that is such a gift, because every day you have to get up at 6:45, and it’s like a rat race to get to school, you know?
And so there’s something really lovely about having nowhere you have to be. [Laughs]
There’s certainly a silver lining of having more family time and the slowing of the pace of our lives, I would say.
Yeah, and obviously my thoughts are absolutely with everyone who’s struggling with this illness, and who’s lost loved ones, and those who are suffering financially. My god. I’ve been blogging and posting on my Instagram, and there’s a GoFundMe project called Frontline Responders Fund, because I was obviously so disturbed to see how we don’t have the resources that people on the frontlines need.
So, that’s one thing I’ve been focused on, and then my friend Christian Siriano, obviously, has been making masks. He turned his entire operation into a mask factory, so I’ve been supporting that.
Then, also, there’s a really great organization called Support and Feed, and they are feeding people who are food sensitive or food insecure at this moment, and also people who are on the frontlines — and it’s a really great organization.
And I did stuff about that with Maggie, who is Billy Eilish’s mother, and she organized the whole thing, so that’s sort of where my focus has been.
I found that, with my family, as we’ve been spending more time together, we’ve been looking for films and shows to pass the time together, and one of those can be your new film, “Bad Therapy.”
It was supposed to be a theatrical release, and now it’s going to be a home, on demand release — meaning, it’s going to be immediately available for everyone to watch. Does it feel good that the movie can now kind of hit people’s screens right away? And it can help people pass the time?
I mean, absolutely. It’s always fun when your movie goes the theater, because films are made to be in a theater, right? So, of course, that’s always a big, exciting thing, but at the same time, people need to be laughing right now. And this is a very dark comedy. Rob Corddry and Michaela Watkins are just, aside from being my friends outside of this, they are really extraordinary actors and so fun to play with. They’re so good in this.
It tells the story of the Howards, which is me and Rob Corddry, who are man and wife, and we go down the rabbit hole of therapy, because [my character] think it’s a good idea. My character’s quite normal, and she goes to this therapist who very quickly splits them and starts destroying their lives. My character goes from being this normal, having-it-all-together girl to a woman who’s unraveling and pulls a knife on her husband very quickly.
It’s quite the journey that your character goes on…
Yeah, it’s so fun. I think it’ll make people laugh. It’s such a fun ride.
Did you have a favorite scene to film? Because your character does sort of unravel. There is a scene where you’ve had a couple of drinks, and you’re driving home with your husband in the car. I’m always curious to hear from actors how it is to play drunk? Because you did it very convincingly, but it must be a difficult thing to do convincingly.
Well, I think I’m on more than just alcohol … I think she took some pills!
I suppose you’re right. [Laughs]
Which makes it even harder. They were some specific pills, too. I forgot the effect it has, so hopefully it worked. My character gets so upset, and she’s just having everything go wrong, and she gets all messed up. And then, I love that scene in the car. It’s hilarious. It was fun to do. I mean, Rob and I in the car for hours was the best thing ever, because we just play with each other really. It’s so fun.
Were any of those moments improvised? Was there improv built into those moments, or was it mostly just by the script?
I can’t remember. [Laughs] It’s like improv-like, in that we are completely present to the moment and passing that tennis ball and no one knows where it going to land. But I don’t know if that has to be the words [that are improv], necessarily. I mean, it doesn’t mean that we’re changing the words, but we’d probably add things. In the car scene, I do think that was some ad-libbing because the whole thing of going back and forth. We would do a lot of that at the end of that scene.
There was also some physicality there, too, that felt very natural and of the moment.
Yeah, it’s all just sort of us playing with whatever words we’d have and then going a little wild. [Laughs]
You described this is as a dark comedy. What do you hope that people watching this at home take away from it? Do you hope that it’s just kind of a reprieve, and they can just laugh with it? Or do you think that there’s sort of a message behind the film at all?
I don’t think there’s a message behind the film personally, but I do definitely think it’s just for you to have so much fun and to enjoy this experience and have a laugh. Also, this is silly, but when you go looking for your therapist, you want to really interview a few of them. It’s a good idea to get references from a lot of different friends. Like, if you have any sane friends, be like, “Who’s your therapist?” Audition six or eight therapists if you have to to find the right one. [Laughs]
I also just love Michaela Watkins, who plays the therapist, in everything that she does — she has such a fun presence onscreen. What was it like filming those scenes with her in here office? They’re so twisted, and there’s so there’s such an intense vibe there.
It was completely lovely. I’ve known Michaela for a while, and I think she’s such a good actress. I saw her first in that movie, “In a World,” with Rob [Corddry]. They played husband and wife, I think, and they’re so good in that movie together. I mean, they just kill it. We have mutual friends, so we’ve spent quite a bit of time over the years together. And she’s just such a lovely person. So, when the three of us were in that room together, it was just like three friends.
Rob Corddry and I did a movie called “Butter” together a long time ago, and we became really close on that movie. We shared a trailer, and we were just next to each other and talking to each other all the time. We had so much fun, so working with them was just a delight. Besides just really liking both of them so much as people, they are just really good actors. You’re really playing tennis the whole time, and you never know where it’s going to go. We’re all just present, alive, in the moment. And I think we all really appreciate and respect each other a lot. There was just a real ease to it.
Is that something that you look for as you commit to projects at this point in your career? Places where you can have fun and be at ease, is that something that attracts you to a project?
Well, unfortunately you never really know when you’re going into that or not.
Yeah, for sure.
But, I knew in this case that Rob Corddry was going to be in it, so I knew that I was going to have a great time with him. That was a no-brainer because he’s a dear friend and he’s so talented, and, and yeah. There are only so many elements that [are in your control] — you never know what you’re going to be dealing with. But, in general, how I make my decisions is just based on if I think that I can enjoy the part really. It’s all about the part: Am I going to get to do something exciting? And, for me with “Bad Therapy,” when I read the script, it was all about the script with three really interesting characters who are all struggling. Even the girl who plays my daughter, her part is such a great little part, you know? I just thought that the parts were written really well, and it was a really character-driven piece which is usually what I’m attracted to.
Before I let you go, as a “Real Housewives” fan, I do want to ask you about working on “American Woman,” which Kyle Richards produced. I’m just curious if you could just share a little bit about your experience working with Kyle, as it was based on her life. What do you think about when you think back to working on that show?
Kyle’s awesome. The truth is, when I went in for the first time to meet everyone, I’d never watched “Housewives” before, so I didn’t know who Kyle was! I was looking for a guy named Kyle in the room. I was so confused. [Laughs] I was just like, “Where is this Kyle person?” But then it dawned on me as we were going along, because it was her story. I didn’t know about her to know what that meant, but the bottom line is that, when they asked me after meeting them all to this job, I had to pinch myself all over. I’d left that meeting and I had a little cry for a minute, because I was so excited about this part. It was such an interesting role to play, and I’m so grateful that Kyle wanted me to play her mother. I loved that it was 1975, and it was this character of this woman who is struggling so much. And, again, she pulled a knife on her husband. It’s a theme for me. [Laughs] I just loved that part, and I wish that we could do that forever.
“Bad Therapy” is available to watch on demand now.
If you liked this story, check out In The Know’s recent interview with Bravo star Ramona Singer here.
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