Alison Brie Talks ‘Somebody I Used to Know’ and the ‘Community’ Movie

Feb 11, 2023

From co-writer/director Dave Franco, the unconventional love story Somebody I Used to Know follows Ally (Alison Brie, who co-wrote the film with her husband), a reality TV producer who decides to return to her hometown with the hope of finding comfort in the nostalgia of the past. Once there, her first love Sean (Jay Ellis), who’s preparing to marry his fiancé Cassidy (Kiersey Clemons), leads her to question what she really wants and what that means for her future.

During this 1-on-1 interview with Collider, Brie talked about pulling people the familiar and then surprising them, her character’s love of streaking, rediscovering her own inner nudist, singing to the tune of Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-Charmed Life,” reuniting on screen with Community co-star Danny Pudi, and how much closer they are to shooting the Community movie.
Collider: I loved this movie. I thought it was fun because it was unexpected, which you don’t necessarily think you’ll get from a movie like this.

ALISON BRIE: Thank you so much for saying that. Dave [Franco] and I just realized that we were talking about the two recent films that we’ve done together, his first film, The Rental, and this one, and we were like, “You know, on the page, the synopsis sounds really straightforward for both movies.” You go, “Oh, I’ve seen this before,” and that’s part of the fun of it. You’re pulling people in with the familiar, and then surprising them a little bit.

Image via Prime Video

I love the poster for this movie. I love that you’re like, “You know, if I’m going to streak, I’m just going to fully embrace it and we’ll put it on the poster for everyone to see.” What led to that not only being a fun scene in the movie, but being an actual throughline of the story?

BRIE: A lot of it was pulled from my own life and my own penchant for streaking. I went to art school, where clothing was optional, everywhere but the cafeteria. People may know this about me already. I love to streak. I love to make my friends laugh. Personally, I’ve had a similar journey with nudity, as the character of Ally does, where I used to be so free and open about that stuff. It was a great source of joy for me. And then, when I started working in this industry, especially during the Mad Men and Community years, I was very much like, “I don’t wanna do any nudity on camera.” It really scared me, this idea of putting nudity out there, in this other way, that would exist forever, and the internet and people having access to that kind of thing, that don’t even have to see the material that you’re working on.

And then, when I worked on GLOW, working around all of these incredible women, and really having an intentionality to the nudity, and having so many conversations around it, and doing a lot of non-sexual nudity, I tapped back into who I really was. Not to make it too deep, but it was this reconnection with being like, “Oh, yeah, I love my body, and I love being naked, and I love being free, in this way.” We just put a lot of that in the movie because, emotionally, that journey is very similar for Ally, in terms of trying to reconnect to the side of herself that was a bit more open and free, and a bit more like her truer self, when we meet her at the start of the movie.

She’s come very far from that person that might be her true essence, so far that she really believes she is a different type of person. She is defining herself in a lot of different ways, and she has to shed that, over the course of the film, figuratively and literally. That was one of the unexpected things for me. You think you’re watching her revisiting this past relationship that she had, but it really ir more of a love story with herself. We’re Trojan-horsing this female empowerment, adult coming-of-age story, in the suit of armor of a rom-com. The rom-com was our way into it. It’s where we started the story.

In our writing process, it just organically became this other thing. We set out to make a rom-com. We watched every rom-com on the face of the earth, all the ones that we know and love, and we worked to weave aspects of those into this movie, and then the journey just took us in this direction. It really came from the Cassidy character, and the trope of that character in a rom-com that’s set around a wedding. The trope of the bride is usually one of two things. Either she’s really bright-eyed and naive, or she’s terrible and a shrew that everybody hates. We wanted to fight both of those things. We were like, “What if she’s just a cool, real person? What if there are no villains in this movie?” Just like real life, everybody is actually just complicated and has their own stuff going on. And as soon as we tapped into the Cassidy character being so grounded and real, we couldn’t help but draw parallels between that and where Ally wanted to be. I love stories about the relationships between women and what they bring out of one another.

Image via Prime Video

Does it also help you bond on the next level, when you’re doing a streaking scene together?

BRIE: Yeah, I think so. As the veteran nudist, in my real life, and also as a writer and producer on this, part of me definitely wanted to make sure that Kiersey [Clemons] was comfortable. I was like, “I know I’m very comfortable with it, but are you cool?” I don’t wanna give anything away, but there’s another scene in the movie that involves some nudity, and in that scene, with that actress, I was totally nude, even during all of my off camera lines, just in solidarity. Dave was like, “Honey, you can have your robe on now.” And I was like, “No, I can’t. We’re in this together.” It does bond you, pretty immediately, being naked with someone.

It’s so awesome that you got to do a song in this, to the tune of “Semi-Charmed Life,” by Third Eye Blind. What was it like to create your own song to that music?

BRIE: It was so fun. As a Community fan, you may remember that I’ve always loved free-styling. I’ve always loved learning Donald [Glover]’s raps, to his dismay, and then rapping them back to him, very poorly. It’s a great source of joy for me. I also just love singing. I sing little ditties around our household, all the time, about our cats, and things like that. That’s how it found its way into the movie, and that was such a fun scene to shoot. Who doesn’t love that song? Talk about a real quick reference to my youth. Third Eye Blind was always immediately that song.

Image via Prime Video

You didn’t consider any other songs? It was always just that one?

BRIE: It was immediately that song, but then there was a brief period where we thought we might not be able to use that song, so we were frantic and going, “Should it be Smash Mouth? Should it be Alanis Morissette?” It’s such a tall order when you’re like, “What’s a song that holds all this nostalgia from my era of being a teenager, but also has to have such a hook that people know, that when you’re doing it with other lyrics, they still know what it is?” That was really tricky. Maybe Chumbawamba? I don’t know. You just want everybody to immediately know, and there aren’t a lot of songs to do that.

I love that this movie also reunites you, on screen, with Danny Pudi. Did it feel exactly the same, working with him again, because you guys know each other, or does it feel different when you’re playing different characters?

BRIE: It feels exactly the same. It surprised me, how exactly the same it felt, and it also didn’t surprise me, at all. I love Danny. We’re so close. We’ve stayed incredibly close, since shooting the show, but hadn’t been on set together since Community. But it was like not a moment had passed. The jokes that we’re making are basically our inside jokes from behind the scenes of Community, and then Dave put them on camera.

Image via Prime Video

So, of course, I have to ask about what’s going on with the Community movie. Are you doing it? Is it happening? Is it really starting soon?

BRIE: I’m definitely doing it, but I don’t know. Right now, I’m waiting to read a script. There are internal rumors that it will shoot this summer, so I’m crossing my fingers that everything goes according to plan. I hope that we are all on set together this summer.

Are you surprised that you’ve actually finally made it to the point where it’s pretty much really real, or did you always hold out hope that this was going to happen?

BRIE: It’s crazy. I’m totally surprised. For a long time, I think it was just a great joke. It was a great hashtag. It was a great way for a stranger to yell something at me, from across the street. And it’s a credit to our fans, absolutely, that it’s happening. The Community fans are the best. They made this happen. They have kept six seasons and a movie a dream that’s been alive for all of these years. So, I am totally surprised and super excited.

Somebody I Used to Know is available to stream at Prime Video.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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