Every friendship has to start somewhere.
For Lauren Anne Miller and Katie Anne Naylon, that somewhere was Florida State University. The two were randomly matched as roommates – Lauren a reserved freshman majoring in film, Katie a creative writing sophomore who once operated a phone sex business from her dorm room.
Five years after graduation, and somehow best of friends, Miller and Naylon began writing the movie “For a Good Time, Call…,” which follows two college enemies named Lauren and Katie (loosely based on themselves) who are forced to live together years later when they each fall on hard financial times.
“Movie Lauren is about 40 percent real Lauren,” said Miller, who plays the fictional version of herself in the film. “I am the type of girl who makes a plan and sticks to it. I follow the rules. I like things to look a certain way. I work really hard. I have these parents who I would talk to on the phone at the same time. Those are sort of the big picture details of me.”
The consummate introvert, movie Lauren deals with the back-to-back loss of her boyfriend and job, while the free-spirited Katie (played by “Nick & Norah” star Ari Graynor) deals with the loss of her privacy, her burgeoning phone sex business and the ramifications of falling for her favorite caller.
But every friendship has to start somewhere. And in “For a Good Time, Call…,” Lauren and Katie’s is born in the front seat of Lauren’s new car, where a drunken Katie dumps a fast food cup full of urine on Lauren’s head. Thankfully, it was not a true story. Not entirely.
“That was a combination of [Katie and I each] having an experience,” Miller explained. “One night, when she was drunk, she peed in a KFC bucket. And, for me, on my first night of college, someone threw up in my brand new car and was a huge ***hole and didn’t replace anything and refused to clean it up and never replaced my carpets.”
In casting the film’s outrageous yet lovable car urinator, Miller and Naylon only had one actress in mind.
“We wrote the script with Ari [Graynor] in mind, with Ari in our heads,” Miller recalled. “We tried to make the movie in the studio world before making it on our own and we weren’t allowed to send the script to Ari. Which is just so crazy – that someone who is so talented and has been working since she was 9 years old – that she wouldn’t be allowed to star in a studio movie.”
After the major studios scoffed at their choice for leading lady, Miller and Naylon were told that an R-rated comedy lead by females simply wouldn’t work. So the women found financers, hired director Jamie Travis and produced “For a Good Time, Call…” themselves. To boot, they got an executive producer that also turned out to be the star they had always wanted – Ari Graynor.
“They wrote me this beautiful letter and I obviously completely admired their chutzpah of going off and doing it on their own,” Graynor told me. “And I loved how inspiring it was of Lauren taking this chance on herself and, in a way, they did the same thing by asking me to come on board. It was Lauren’s first time really acting, all of our first times producing, my first time being a lead and Jamie’s first feature.”
“This became such a passion piece for all of us,” she added.
Ari wasn’t the only star to lend Miller and Naylon a hand. The duo also landed help from some of the comedy genre’s most talent people, who appeared in cameos as callers to Katie’s phone sex hotline, 1-877-MMM-HMMM. One of those callers is a perverted airplane pilot played by funnyman Seth Rogen. And just how did the ladies convince one of world’s biggest stars to appear in their movie?
“I slept with him,” Miller deadpanned before laughing. “He’s my husband.”
While the phone sex business serves as a vessel for the film’s funniest moments and helps to enhance and project the differences in Katie and Lauren’s personalities, both stars are quick to stress that “For a Good Time, Call…” is not about phone sex.
“The phone sex use in this movie is a really fun, funny setting, but it’s not a message film or a political statement.” Graynor said. “Our movie is first and foremost about female friendship. I would say that I strongly encourage women to really open themselves up to the joys of their friends and of letting themselves be surprised by the people that you meet.”
“We really want to explore how … when you put two people who are very different from each other [together], how they can affect each other’s lives,” Miller said. “And how they can bring certain things out, and how they can enrich each other and help each other find themselves as individuals and in a friend relationship.”
Added Graynor, “Lauren likes to say, ‘You never know who’s gonna pee in your hair and become your best friend.’”
“For a Good Time, Call…” is in theaters now. Click here to order tickets on Fandango.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.