When Rough Night opens in theaters today, it will be the first R-rated studio comedy directed by a woman in 20 years. (Seriously, WTF, Hollywood?) The film follows five best friends from college as they reconvene 10 years later in Miami to throw a bachelorette party for Scarlett Johansson's character, Jess, and accidentally kill the male stripper. To get fans excited for the upcoming release, director Lucia Aniello and writer Paul W. Downs (Broad City) joined cast members Zoë Kravitz, Ilana Glazer, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ryan Cooper, and Colton Haynes in New York City for a bachelorette-themed screening and panel, moderated by Hasan Minhaj. We attended the event, and amidst copious lols, here's what we learned:
What was the starting point for writing the movie?
Lucia Aniello: "Paul and I had been talking about the experience of turning 30 and what happens to your friendships over time. And we didn’t know exactly how we wanted to explore that, but it felt very real to us. When we work on Broad City, we take our experiences from our 20s and struggling in New York and pour them into the show. With Rough Night, we took the real-life experience of having friends from high school or college that we lost touch with and what it would be like when you get back together. At first, you’re like, 'Is it going to be weird?' But then it’s super fun. Then, when we threw in the incident that occurs in the movie, we felt that that would be a fire underneath that experience, so everything would boil to the top."
Paul W. Downs: "And in terms of the gender of the story, we just find women funnier than men. The people that we find funniest are women."
What attracted you to this script?
Kate McKinnon: "It was perfectly structured without needing to be redone. It was all there."
Ilana Glazer: "...without feeling like they checked off a box. It just moved—smooth, beautifully written, hilarious, bitchy, and also terrifying. Reading it, I could see myself actually being this character, actually being there."
Zoë Kravitz: "I also don’t think I’ve read a funny script in a long time where it wasn’t like, Do you want to play Seth Rogen’s girlfriend?"
Jillian Bell: "I have played that role, so this feels like a personal attack."
ZK: "Oh sh*t, you’ve played that role? But that’s the only option to be in a funny movie. I would so play Seth Rogen’s girlfriend."
IG: "It’s about literally passing the Bechdel test, which is three things: Do two women talk about anything other than men? Are there women who talk to each other? And do the women have names other than Hot Girl One and Ugly Girl One? It’s sadly simple. We were sitting around talking about a dude, but he was dead."
Does the cast really like each other?
KM: "When I tell you that I keep a picture of these gals in my wallet, I am telling the truth. I didn’t go get it printed myself; they were distributed to the five of us, and I apparently am the only one who kept mine. Yes, we love each other."
If someone on the cast had to plan your bachelorette party, who would it be?
IG: “I would have Zoë and Jillian spend their own money and give me a weeklong bachelorette party. And I want everybody missing work for me and for the occasion of my marriage. So a doubleheader/cast reunion.”
What does Vegemite taste like?
KM: "I grew up on Long Island, and there are canals there, and sometimes you would go to a canal and pull up a crab trap and there would be dead crab shells in it. If you boiled those down into a condensed powder and mixed that with the oil of a crab and then just a full pound of salt—that. I munched a bunch—take after take of the good salty stuff and not going back…"
IG: "We were even complaining about the smell, and you had to eat it."
ZK: "We were like, Dude, put Nutella in the bottle."
PWD: "She didn’t have to eat it, but she did."
KM: "I like to put myself in emotionally dangerous situations."
What was it like to work with writer/director Lucia Aniello?
JB: "She’s the best. She’s literally our captain. She set the tone and let us play. The script was already so funny, and then we could just go in there and be real rascals, and that was really nice."
How did Kate McKinnon develop her character's Australian accent?
KM: "If we’re being very specific, I listened to a wonderful Australian culture-themed podcast called No Filter. I watched Summer Heights High for the eighth time. And I got a lot of tips and tricks from Ryan Cooper (who played the dead guy)."
Ryan Cooper: "I probably threw her off because I spent 10 years in New Zealand, but we did a little powwow at one point. Kate whispered sweet Australian nothings in my ear while crabs nibbled sweetly on my back on the ground, which you see [in the movie]."
What advice would you give for planning a friend’s bachelorette party?
Colton Haynes: "Don’t kill someone. Definitely get a stripper with a really tight blue g-string; definitely get a stripper that has Ryan’s body. And then, just swim in dick, girl."