Following The Little Hours, Horse Girl and Joshy, Jeff Baena and Alison Brie are back for their fourth indie collaboration — and second (after Horse Girl) as co-writers.
Spin Me Round, which Baena also directs and produces while Brie stars and produces, follows a woman who wins an all-expenses-paid trip to Italy through the Italian restaurant at which she works, setting up an adventure after she meets the restaurant chain’s wealthy owner.
“After we made our film Horse Girl together, Jeff came to me and said, ‘I read an article about an exemplary managers program that is run out of an Italian chain restaurant in the States,’ and the article sort of outlined how lackluster that program was; how there were big promises of full immersion in Italian culture but actually it was just like a lot of American managers from restaurants hanging out,” Brie told The Hollywood Reporter at the film’s Los Angeles premiere on Wednesday. “We just thought that idea was really funny. He had sort of beaded out the main plot points and I got to come in and really dig into the characters with him.”
The film co-stars Aubrey Plaza, Molly Shannon, Fred Armisen and Debby Ryan, who have all worked with Baena and Brie on their previous films; Brie joked they’re creating a “Baena-verse” and explained why she works so with Baena and Plaza, who are married.
“The three of us love film, we love filmmaking, we love independent film, so it’s really fun to work with them because they’re so unique in the way that they think about film and storytelling,” she said. “It’s just really satisfying to work on something where the sky’s the limit and you can follow your imagination wherever it goes.”
Plaza said she took on a smaller role in this project as she was working on her new film Emily the Criminal at the same time, opting to become “the cast cheerleader — I was organizing all the social activities, driving people around Tuscany.” And what did those social activities look like? “Just dinners basically, that’s what you do in Italy, you drink and have long dinners.”
Plaza also celebrated reuniting with several of their longtime comedy friends for the film, noting that Baena “has a shorthand with all of these actors so I think it just makes the process more fun. When you’re shooting movies it’s a tough life; it’s hard when you’re shooting small movies, so it’s good to feel like it’s all in the family and we’re all friends. It just makes the experience that much richer.”
Spin Me Round hits theaters Friday.