Interview: Dave Franco & Alison Brie discuss their new film “Somebody I Used To Know”

Arts & Entertainment

Anthony Pantalone, Editor

On Feb. 9, I had the opportunity to attend a premiere screening of Dave Franco and Alison Brie’s new film “Somebody I Used To Know” and the next day speak to them about the film along with a panel of other college journalists. “Somebody I Used To Know” is the second film from the married creative duo of Franco and Brie in which Franco directs and Brie stars—the first being 2020’s horror-thriller “The Rental”. This movie—co-written by this couple—is a hard turn from the horror genre and is a romantic comedy that takes on all the classic notions of what a romantic comedy should be. 

“Somebody I Used To Know” tells the story of Ally (Alison Brie) who returns home amid roadblocks in her professional career. Once home, Ally is forced to contend with her own life decisions when faced with her ex Sean (Jay Ellis) and his soon-to-be wife Cassidy (Kiersey Clemons)—a woman who reminds the protagonist of who she used to be. It takes this tried and true concept and adds fresh, self-aware characters with modern sensibilities. 

via Amazon Studios

Dave Franco, in his sophomore directorial feature, is well-known for his acting career—starring in such popular films as the “21 Jump Street” franchise alongside Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum and the “Neighbors” franchise with Zac Efron and Seth Rogan. Franco continues along this new chapter of his career—expanding the notion of how audiences perceive him with both this film and “The Rental”.  Alison Brie, most well-known for her previous role in the beloved sitcom “Community”, has become a successful leading actress, writer, and producer in her own right in recent years with 2020’s “Horse Girl” and 2022’s “Spin Me Round.” To its benefit, this film also features a great soundtrack, a reunion between two “Community” alums—Brie and Danny Pudi—and an incredible comedic performance from Haley Joel Osment. 

via Amazon Studios

At this roundtable panel, I and other journalists from local universities had the chance to sit down with Franco and Brie and ask them a question about the movie and their filmmaking process. Here is the transcript of my discussion with them at the event:

Host: This is Anthony Pantalone from The La Salle Collegian.

Dave Franco: Hello.

Alison Brie: Hello. Lasallian… Lasallian rapscallion.


Anthony Pantalone: “Somebody I Used To Know” does a great job of subverting the romcom genre and the tropes that typically also come with it. Why was it important to challenge these tropes that come with romantic-comedies?

Franco: I think our intention with everything we work is try to bring something new to the table. Something you haven’t seen before. And that doesn’t mean completely reinventing the wheel, but we love romantic-comedies. And we used what we know and love about them to lead the audience down a certain path where they might think “Oh, I know where this is going” and then pull the rug out from underneath them every step of the way. So hopefully all the twists and turns do feel surprising and original. 

Brie: Yeah, I feel like it’s like that old adage “you need to know the rules to break the rules.” And that feels especially true of rom-coms, because people who love them really know the formula. People who hate them even really know the formula. That’s almost why they hate them. I think we took that as a challenge to be like, “Okay, can we make something that is at the same time an ode to the genre and also sort of the anti-rom-com at the same time. I think part of it just happened pretty organically over the course of writing [the film]. It’s not like we sat down and said, “Let’s make a rom-com but also…cool.” I think we genuinely love the genre and wanted to dive into it and as we followed the characters on their trajectories. And our style of what we gravitate towards is all character-driven, relationship-driven stories. As we delved into that, we wanted to make it as real as possible and sort of felt like characters in stories now—even they themselves—have seen all the rom-coms we’ve seen. So don’t they have that in their head too? We namecheck a lot of rom-coms and movies in general in this movie, because that’s a part of our vocabulary and how we speak to one another. So I think there was an organic nature to just following characters to their natural conclusions once we change one thing. Like the “Cassidy” character, the trope of the bride in a wedding rom-com. And we tuned into tweaking her character and sending her on a different trajectory. It shook everything up, and we kind of followed it.

Pantalone: Thank you.

“Somebody I Used to Know”—starring Alison Brie and directed by Dave Franco—is now available streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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