Actress, screenwriter and producer Zoe Lister-Jones has been in a committed relationship with her writing partner Daryl Wein for several years, but that doesn't mean she's been oblivious to how the modern dating environment has changed. Her sharp observations are sprinkled throughout the couple's latest film, "Lola Versus," (June 8), in which a woman approaching 30 (Greta Gerwig) is suddenly dumped by her fiance and forced to start over in the dating dungeon that is New York City.
"Guys are always looking for something better," Lister-Jones says. "I think a lot of men find validation through how beautiful the woman they can sleep with is, and women find validation more in being loved. Women have a less superficial set of standards that apply in the dating world. If a guy is really funny or interesting or smart, all of those things play a much heavier hand in terms of what I think women find attractive."
Lister-Jones can drop the truth bombs that easily. She and Wein were moved to write the script for the very Woody Allen-esque romantic comedy after hearing so many war stories from their friends. Take note: One character in the film is a prison architect who enjoys making love to Ani DiFranco's "Both Hands." For people who have dated here, that actually sounds quite believable.
"We really strive for authenticity in our films and to represent our generation in a way that feels relatable," Lister-Jones explains. "Daryl and I write about modern relationships, and for heterosexual modern relationships it's helpful to have both genders' perspective."
While the men and women that populate "Lola Versus" are all flawed and refreshingly three-dimensional, Lister-Jones, through the script, does take issue with one particular quirk she noticed in modern dating.
"We know that there is somewhat of an epidemic of really cool, funny, interesting, beautiful single women who are not getting what they deserve," she says. "When I was in an open relationship with Daryl, I got to experience the single life -- and it just was like, bleak and brutal. I was just like, 'Get me out of here, I want nothing to do with this.'"