Dave Franco Joins ‘The Afterparty’

written by Jasper XIII.XI

Great news, fellow Dave fans! Dave is part of an all-star cast for Apple TV Plus’ upcoming murder-mystery comedy, The Afterparty!

VARIETY – The eight-episode series is set at a high school reunion afterparty. Each episode will feature a retelling of the same night told through a different character’s perspective, each with its own unique visual format and film genre to match the teller’s personality.

Dave Franco is set to play Xavier, once a dorky high school drama student, now a famous pop star and actor. Franco has starred in features such as “The Disaster Artist,” the “Neighbors” and “21 Jump Street” films, and both “Now You See Me” films. His TV roles include “Scrubs” and “Greek.”

Dave Franco and Alison Brie for Interview Magazine

written by Jasper XIII.VIII

Dave and Alison did a one-on-one Q&A for Interview magazine. They discussed, of course, The Rental, GLOW, and so much more.The feature also highlights photos of Alison taken by Dave himself. Name a more adorable couple, we’ll wait.

DAVE FRANCO:  Tell me a little bit about the movie and how you became involved.

ALISON BRIE: The movie is The Rental, written by Dave Franco and Joe Swanberg. It’s your directorial debut.

FRANCO: Interesting.

BRIE: It’s about two couples who go on a weekend away at a rental property, and things go awry. The cool thing about this project is that I got to witness you working on it and watching it evolve, while not knowing that I was going to be involved. I found it so inspiring watching you write with Joe. Every day, you would get home from writing, you’d be so excited and have all these new ideas. It inspired me to write Horse Girl with Baena [Brie], so that was a cool thing that was happening simultaneously. Getting to read all the different drafts of this script and see how you guys were honing in on the characters and sharpening them, and seeing how much care you took in creating these characters because you’re an actor. I don’t think I really gave you notes, but I think I got to give some feedback. It was very exciting when one day, you just turned to me in our living room, and you were like, “Maybe you should play Michelle.”

FRANCO: I always wanted you to play Michelle, but there was one iteration of the movie, where I was going to play one of the characters.

BRIE: Before you decided to direct it, you were writing it. You were going to act in it, but you were going to play another character or something. It was like, “Would it be weird if  we’re in the same movie, and I’m playing another guy’s wife…”

FRANCO: I would’ve played your brother-in-law. Once I decided not to play the role, then obviously, you were the first choice for Michelle.

BRIE: Did you ever offer the role to anyone else? I was awake in bed last night, in the middle of the night, being like, “Did he offer this role to Kristen Bell or something, before he decided I should do it?”

FRANCO: No way.

BRIE: I remember feeling so excited and honored when you asked me to play the part. More than anything, I wanted to be with you for your first experience directing. Everything aside, obviously, the script was amazing. I think Michelle is maybe the best character. Objectively.

FRANCO: Michelle is really off on her own island for the second half of the film and gets to bring some much-needed levity to the project when things start to get dark.

BRIE: But not too much. You really wanted to keep it very grounded.

FRANCO: Speaking of, there’s a sequence in the film where your character is on drugs.

BRIE: On Molly.

FRANCO: Do you want to talk about how you prepared for that?

BRIE: Well, for the first half of the movie, she’s kind of the uptight wife and there’s a very sexy sort of love triangle happening with the other characters. She doesn’t want to party with everyone on the first night. The next night when there’s a lot of heavy shit going down, she’s on this drug. It’s a really fun aspect of her character.

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August 13 Press

Interview: Dave Franco on Directing ‘The Rental’ & Preparing for Vanilla Ice Biopic

written by Jasper XIII.VIII

Dave also discussed The Rental with Insider, wherein he also confirmed that his next project will be the Vanilla Ice biopic!

Dave Franco will be the first to say he’s doing pretty well in quarantine.

“We’re mainly feeling lucky that we like our home and we like each other,” Franco told Insider over the phone last week.

The “we” he’s referring to is he and his wife, actress Alison Brie. The two have been together since meeting eight years ago in a night that ended with them both taking Molly (more on that later).

Along with marital bliss, Franco is happy to get his first feature directing effort out into the world, the horror movie “The Rental” (in select drive-ins and On Demand beginning Friday). He doesn’t star in it, but Brie (“GLOW”) does along with Dan Stevens (“Eurovision Song Contest,” “Beauty and the Beast”), and a creepy masked man tormenting them with a hammer.

So the Franco/Brie household is a frenetic place at the moment with the buzz surrounding their new movie. There are lots of phone calls to get last-minute arrangements ironed out, press interviews, and even the occasional call for Franco from Vanilla Ice. 

Taking the director plunge

Directing is not a new interest for the 35-year-old actor. Franco admits he’s been making shorts, mainly for FunnyOrDie.com, for a decade. He had always been nervous to take the leap to directing a feature film but it suddenly became obvious after writing “The Rental” with fellow filmmaker Joe Swanberg (“LOL,” “Drinking Buddies,” “Win It All”).

“Once I wrote this script with Joe, I realized that I knew these characters and this story more intimately than anyone and my nerves went away,” Franco said.

The creepy movie follows two brothers (Dan Stevens and Jeremy Allen White) and their significant others (Alison Brie and Sheila Vand) who stay at an Airbnb for the weekend. As the story evolves, we begin to see flaws in many of the characters and signs of racism from the man who oversees the property (played perfectly by longtime character actor Toby Huss).

But when the houseguests realize that cameras are planted around the rental, it leads to a bloody ending as a mystery man takes out the main characters.

As Insider’s Libby Torres wrote in her review of the movie, “the film’s power comes from how expertly it combines quotidian anxieties… with a tense game of cat and mouse.”

Filmmaker Sean Durkin (“Martha Marcy May Marlene”), who Franco said he went after to direct the movie before finally taking it on himself (Durkin is an executive producer on “The Rental”), said it was the meshing of genres in the story that grabbed him.

“It sets up this character drama but is interrupted by a slasher film, so I loved that it was doing something different but still delivers what it promises,” Durkin told Insider.

Franco said he felt like the right person to direct the story because this is a topic he thinks about all the time.

“I was inspired by my own paranoia about home sharing and thinking about how the country is divided as it’s ever been, no one trusts each other, yet we trust staying at the home of a stranger simply because of some five-star review,” Franco said, noting that he even stayed at an Airbnb while shooting the movie, and was completely filled with anxiety as the place was called “The Old Rustic Cabin.”

“My paranoia has reached its peak since filming this,” Franco said with a laugh. “Every time I stay in a rental home now I’m not thinking are there cameras here but where are they?”

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Interview: Dave Franco on ‘The Rental’ and His Future Projects

written by Jasper XIII.VIII

Dave also spoke with Slant Magazine about shooting The Rental, collaborating with Easy producer Joe Swanberg, his future directorial plans, and more.

Is there a specific inspiration for The Rental?
The idea was inspired by my own paranoia about the concept of home sharing. The country is as divided as it’s ever been, and no one trusts each other, yet we trust staying in the home of a stranger simply because of a few five-star reviews online. And in reality, while we were shooting the film, there were new articles coming out every week about homeowners with hidden cameras in their place. And I still use all of the home-sharing apps. In fact, I stayed in an Airbnb while shooting the film. I was trying to explore this disconnect where, even though we’re all aware of the risks of staying in a stranger’s home, we still do it. Why do we subject ourselves to that knowing we’re potentially putting ourselves in danger?

How did you end up working with Joe Swanberg on the film?
I wanted to write the film with Joe because his main strengths lie in characters and relationships. Our goal from the beginning was to create a tense relationship drama where the interpersonal issues between the characters were just as thrilling as the fact that there’s a psycho killer lurking in the shadows. At its core, the film really is about these characters and their relationships, and then we sprinkled a horror element on top to help accentuate the problems that they’re going through. But when there are issues in your own romantic relationships, that can be as scary as anything else, even physical danger from a psycho killer.

What directors stand out who may have helped you the most in terms of taking the leap from actor to feature film director?
I’ve been lucky enough to work with a handful of really, really great directors—people like Barry Jenkins, Noah Baumbach, Seth Rogen, my brother, Phil Lord and Chris Miller—and the biggest thing I took from that whole group of them is, in general, they all create very safe, comfortable environments on set where they really encourage everyone to voice their opinions if they think that it will help the film in any way. And so, essentially, there are no egos on set and the main rule is the best idea wins, no matter who it’s coming from. I definitely tried to adopt that mindset for my film as well.

You immediately establish tension between the two brothers with an allusion to a possible infidelity, and this tension methodically builds to a breaking point. I know you’re a fan of clever genre films, so I’m curious whether there are any ones in particular that inspired you to capture that tension on screen.
Ari Aster, Jordan Peele, Sean Durkin, Amy Seimetz, David Robert Mitchell, and Jeremy Saulnier are all making projects that are so nuanced and atmospheric. Their films take their time to creep up on you, as opposed to a lot of horror films that rely too heavily on cheap jump scares and, ultimately, feel disposable. I was lucky enough to convince Sean Durkin to produce my film, and he ended up being somewhat of a mentor to me, giving me the confidence to make a horror film that didn’t have many jump scares. He would remind me that we had a compelling story and there was enough inherent tension between these characters that we didn’t need to push the horror, that it was all simmering under the surface and that we could just let it build and naturally come out over the course of the film.

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August 13 Press The Rental

Interview & Scans: Dave Franco for Variety

written by Jasper XIII.VIII

Last month, Dave spoke with Variety to discuss his directorial debut, The Rental, along with his journey to fulfilling his lifelong dream of being in the director’s chair. Check out outtakes and scans in our gallery!

VARIETY – Dave Franco has long struggled against being labeled the “kid brother” type, from the time he was an unknown growing up in Palo Alto, Calif. 

“My first job was at a mom-and-pop video store when I was 14, and I’ve always looked young for my age,” says Franco. “People would come in wondering why this 9-year-old-looking boy was renting them ‘Silence of the Lambs’ and ‘Basic Instinct.’”

Deceptive looks aside, he still was not of legal age to work. “They paid me by allowing me to take home as many movies as I wanted. That became my film school,” he says.

That early training, along with some 13 years of professional acting, finally brings Franco to his lifelong dream of the director’s chair for “The Rental,” an IFC Films title that, when it hits on July 24, will represent one of the few summer theatrical releases amid the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a moment 20 years in the making, some of Franco’s lifelong colleagues tell Variety, one that he has achieved through relentless curiosity on the job. Much of his experience was earned alongside his brother James, whose career has stalled amid sexual harassment allegations from former students, which the older Franco denies. 

Known affectionately as Davey to friends and family, Dave Franco has been no one’s little brother for quite some time, and this breakout as director is the next phase of the evolution. Franco has delivered breakout comedic performances in films like Nicholas Stoller’s “Neighbors” and empathetic dramatic turns in work like Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk” and “The Disaster Artist,” directed by James. He’s also quick to remind that he began his career as a creator in the digital space; he wrote, directed and edited comedy shorts in the early days of Funny or Die while he was studying at the University of Southern California.

“I felt like I could take huge risks because the worst thing that could happen is that no one would watch them,” Franco says. “But because I was taking big swings and making unique choices, I started to gain a bit of a following. Over time, I realized that my videos that went viral had more viewers than the indies I was acting in. That was gratifying, and made me want to take the next step into writing and directing a feature.”

His entry into directing arrived with the help of Joe Swanberg, the longtime indie filmmaker who cast Franco on his Netflix original series “Easy” in 2016. On that set, the two discovered similar artistic sensibilities and a love of horror movies. 

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Dave Franco Discusses ‘The Rental’ and Praises Alison Brie

written by Jasper III.VII

Screen Rant spoke with Dave about his directorial debut, The Rental, and he took the opportunity to praise Alison Brie’s acting talents!

“I’ve obviously always known that Alison is a great actor, but when I was behind the camera and I was able to just kind of contently watch her for five weeks, I realized she might be the greatest actress on the planet… I have a little bit of a bias, but I can’t imagine doing this without Alison.”

Dave also complimented the other cast members, Sheila Vand, Dan Stevens, and Jeremy Allen White.

“I think most people know Sheila from A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, and she’s obviously incredible in that film. But what really made me want to work with her was a smaller movie called We The Animals. She has so much range in that film, and I knew that she would be perfect for this part.

Sheila, when it comes to the more intense, dramatic moments – like the stuff that I would lose sleep over – we would come up on that day of this really big scene, I’d be like, “Are you ready?” And she’d be like, “I think so.” And the first take, she’s just bawling. She’s so in it… I’m so happy to have worked with her. She has so much range. I can’t wait to see what else she does.”

“I think Dan is so good at playing a villain… I think certain actors, when they’re playing a villainous character, you immediately hate them. You’re not rooting for them. But I think Dan has so much fun that when I watch him in this movie, the more he does immoral things, the giddier I get. I’m like, “Go Dan, go!” I think that’s a huge compliment and a tough thing to pull off, and I also give him props for playing these more immoral characters in the service of the whole story.”

“Jeremy is one of the most naturally gifted actors I’ve ever seen. He is literally incapable of having a false moment onscreen. I remember hearing from every other actor at some point in the shoot, just talking about how easy it is to be in a scene with Jeremy, because he’s so locked in. And all you need to do is just give yourself over to whatever he’s doing.

We’d be behind the monitors every single day, I swear to God, and we would look at each other and be like, “Why is Jeremy not the biggest actor on the planet?”


July 03 Press The Rental

‘The Rental’ Advanced Screening & Official Trailer

written by Jasper XIX.VI

As previously announced, an advanced screening of The Rental was held last night at the Vineland Drive-In. Dave was joined by the lovely Alison Brie and the film’s other stars Dan Stevens and Sheila Vand, all the while practicing social distancing. Check out photos in our gallery, and the official trailer below!

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Behind the Scenes
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Posters
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Variety - July 14, 2020
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Session 001 - Variety
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June 18 | 'The Rental' Advanced Screening
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Entertainment Weekly - July 2020
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