"Apartment Troubles" stars Jess Weixler and Jennifer Prediger had a unique view into the inner workings of their adrift, artistically inclined characters — since they also wrote the film themselves. But don't make the mistake of assuming that the story — about two penniless pals who get evicted from an illegal sublet in New York and decide to give L.A. a halfhearted try — is in any way autobiographical.
When you know that you're going to be playing the parts yourselves, how does that change the writing process?
JESS WEIXLER: Jenny and I became very fast friends because I had come to New York to do a guest spot on "The Good Wife" and had sort of last-minute needed a place to stay. We lived together for a month, and these amazing producers over at Starstream just really liked Jenny and I and said, "If you guys want to write something and we end up liking what you write, then we'll help you do it this summer." I feel like this is not a normal story. And so we actually wrote under the premise that we would be doing it together that summer if we wrote something that they liked.
JENNIFER PREDIGER: So we kind of wrote for ourselves in the beginning.
So at least you know who your actors are.
JP: Yes, very well. A little too well.
JW: We just really liked buddy movies and in particular liked this buddy movie called "Withnail and I." It's the best. And we were both such huge fans of it that we thought, what if just did sort of an American female homage to this? And that really is how we formed the characters, as opposed to writing ourselves and our relationships, since we had just met. We just loved that dynamic and we both wanted to explore the codependent relationships in buddy movies.
Have people just been assuming, though, that a lot of it is autobiographical?
JP: Yes, definitely. I think people make the assumption that we have somehow showed them a perfect window into our lives. There are definitely autobiographical details that are true, but for the most part I'd like to say that Jess and I are far smarter and more sophisticated than our dear characters are.
This film brings up the old L.A. versus New York comparisons, too.
JW: Yeah, they're so socially different, and they have such different, wonderful things to them. The only comparison that I see is that one gets horrifically cold and the other one never gets horrifically cold. (laughs) But socially they're just such different worlds. I mean, I have to say I do miss the music scene in New York and the bar life that's there. I'm sure it exists somewhere on the east side here in L.A. But the nature in L.A. can't be compared with anywhere. They're so different.
JP: I personally feel the most balanced when I get to go back and forth between the two places, because I feel like what each one is missing, the other one has and vice versa. So if you need a little nature and getting stuck in traffic, you've got to spend some time in L.A. And then if you want to get cold and get yelled at, you've got to go back to New York. But it's important, I think, to balance those things, with the ideal situation being able to be a fancy bicoastal person, I think. I can't choose, I would never. I'm not Woody Allen about it.
I'm not Woody Allen either.
JP: (laughs) Unfortunately, we are not Woody Allen. And also fortunately.
How do you walk the balance of showing these young characters at a transitional moment in their lives without making them insufferable?
JW: We were actually like, "Wait, are they insufferable?" (laughs)
JP: We tried to tone them down sometimes. There were sometimes we were suffering watching them ourselves, like, "Ugh, come on girls, get it together."
Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter: @nedrick