The words âsave the dateâ immediately bring forth images of white gowns, floral arrangements, and choosing between chicken or fish. But the film Save the Date, directed by Michael Mohan (who co-wrote the film with Jeffrey Brown), doesnât focus on those clichĂ©s. Instead, it centers on Sarah (played by Lizzy Caplan), whoâs trying to figure out what she wants in life. Instead of saying yes to her boyfriend Kevinâs public proposal, made soon after they move in together, Sarah breaks up with him. We spoke with Caplan about her new flick, getting hitched, and the concept of âforever.â
Caplanâs character in the film, Sarah, is the kind that the actress consistently nails: a sweetly sardonic, down-to-earth lady youâd love to hang out with. Mohan describes her as âa rare actress who not only has an amazing mixture of strength and vulnerability, sheâs also just very down to earth and I think many women can completely relate to her.â Caplan says that when she took the role, âI was nervous that people were going to think that it was a movie about weddingsâI donât think itâs about that at all. I thought it would potentially be a little misleading, but thatâs okay.â
Most viewers can probably relate to Sarah, who clearly loves Kevin but canât commit to a lifetime in the relationship. She has to make the decision to end things, though she canât quite put her finger on whatâs wrong. As Caplan describes Sarah, âSheâs just a little slow in terms of relationships, the normal progression of a relationship.â So why does Sarah decide to move in with Kevin in the first place? Caplan theorizes, âI always imagined she was getting pressure from a lot of people saying that it was the next step: you move in.â There clearly isnât a lack of love between themâthe film shows an especially sweet scene of the couple slow-dancing in the apartment they share, him shirtless, her in underwear. But Caplan says, âI always saw her as a character who was so attached to her freedom that anything that compromised that made the hairs on the back of her neck stand up, and she needed to leave as quickly as possible.â
While enjoying her post-breakup happiness, Sarah takes up with an admirer, Jonathan (Mark Webber), and experiences that wonderfully awkward newness of a budding relationship. At the same time, Sarahâs sister, Beth (Communityâs Alison Brie) is consumed with planning a wedding to her fiancĂ©, Andrew (Freaks and Geeksâ Martin Starr). Says Caplan, âWhat we tried to do with the movie was juxtapose the excitement of something new and the mundane aspects of the long-term relationship. There are pros and cons to bothâexcitement or comfort.â
As to her own feelings about marriage, Caplan says she âkind of vacillates, but most of the time, Iâm in favor of it, even if it makes no sense at this point. I understand why it was created and it made sense way back when, but now, as you know, the success rates for marriages is abysmal.â She continues, âThe part of it that Iâm into is that thereâs something very romantic about at least taking a shot at it, even though itâll probably end in tears and misery.â
Though they hadnât worked together yet, playing siblings came easily for Brie and Caplan, because they both have sisters. âIf you donât have one, you donât understand those specific fights and tension that always occurs between sisters,â Caplan says. âItâs infuriating.â Beth is the practical, meddling sister to Sarahâs hands-off, impulsive one. They drive each other crazy, but they stick together, no matter what. In a scene that takes place at their parentsâ home, the sisters sleep in their shared childhood bedroom, and Sarah crawls into Bethâs twin-sized bed.
When asked about the differences and similarities between Sarah and Casey, Caplanâs character on the short-lived and critically acclaimed Showtime series Party Down, she says, âCasey has commitment problems, too and is very attached to her freedom, whereas Sarahâs character is not so career-driven. Sheâs just more attached to the concept of being untethered.â For Casey, she says, âeverything comes second to being a successful comedian or actress.â
Unlike Casey, Caplan has already found her success, both in movies and TV shows like Mean Girls, Cloverfield, Bachelorette, and Party Down. Her very first acting job was in NBCâs much-beloved Freaks and Geeks, to which she is still grateful. Recently, she took part in a reunion photo for the show, staged for Vanity Fairâs comedy issue. âPeople love that show, and deservedly soâitâs really, really amazing, itâs the perfect television show. It seems strange how long ago it ended.â Next up for Caplan is Masters of Sex, which she begins filming in January. The drama, about the infamous sex researchers Masters and Johnson, is set to premiere sometime next year on Showtime.
As for Save the Dateâs title, I explained my theory to Caplan: that itâs a wry commentary on the fact that sending out âsave-the-dateâ cards implies we know exactly whatâll happen in six months, though thereâs no way we can. She laughs, âThatâs very smart. Iâm going to use that in my next interview.â
Save the Date premieres nationally in theaters on December 14, and is available on video-on-demand.
by Nadia Chaudhury
The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.
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