Spin Me Round’s Alison Brie on creating a romantic comedy

After nearly two decades of acting, Alison Brie is now writing and producing her own projects. After breaking out with roles in Community and Glow, Brie collaborated with Jeff Baena to co-write and co-produce 2020’s Horse Girl, a film in which she also served as the main character. The multi-talented actress is reuniting with Baena once again for Spin Me Round, a genre-bending romantic comedy set in the Italian countryside.

In Spin Me Round, Brie plays Amber, an employee who is flown out to Italy to meet the affluent owner of the restaurant chain (Alessandro Nivola) and learn at their culinary institute. The romantic comedy quickly turns into a thrilling whodunit as Amber slowly learns the true nature of her trip. In an interview with Digital Trends, Brie talks about the joys of shooting in Italy, her collaboration process with Baena, and how the ensemble brought a unique perspective to each character.

Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Digital Trends: As I watched this movie from my apartment, my biggest takeaway is the need for me to get back to Italy. What was it like to return to Italy and shoot this film? 

Alison Brie: Oh, it was so wonderful to be back in Italy. It’s always a dream to go there, but it was especially magical to be there with this group of people who are so fun and just good. I think we all really bonded. We had some amazing dinners. It was a great time to be there last summer when nobody was there because the travel was limited because of COVID versus this summer [when] everybody seems to be there.

I’ve not been to Italy this year, and it was unintentional. I don’t think we anticipated that when this movie came out, it would really lean into the FOMO that everyone’s having already. Just seeing everyone in Italy, [and] pictures on Instagram.

Italy and Greece are all over Instagram.

Totally.

Aubrey Plaza, Alison Brie, Alessandro Nivola, and Ayden Mayeri pose for a picture in a scene from Spin Me Round.

This marks a reunion with your co-writer Jeff Baena, who also directed the film. Take me through your collaboration process. I spoke with Jeff, and he mentioned how this script relied less on improv as opposed to your previous films. 

Yeah. This is the fourth film that I’ve made with Jeff, and the previous three were all fully improvised, including Netflix’s Horse Girl, which he and I co-wrote and co-produced. And this one because of COVID, we had so much time from when he brought me the idea. We first sort of just expanded it into a 30, 35-page outline, which is what we did for Horse Girl, and how we did The Little Hours and stuff like that. And I think that’s all we would have done, but because the world shut down, we had all this extra time.

He and I just started doing Zoom writing sessions and decided to write the full script and all the dialogue. It ended up [being] a really good idea because once we were in Italy, you know, the shoot was real fast. It’s all real touch-and-go. It was kind of nice to just have the material, but also with such a talented cast, there was still room to let people riff a little bit. Some of the best moments in the movie, I think, are those moments when the cast was kind of playing with it.

When you’re with so many talented comedians, it is important, for lack of a better word,  to “let them cook?” You give them the script, turn on the camera and let them do their thing?

Oh, absolutely. I think once we had the cast in place, Jeff and I would go back through the script and tailor it to all of the specific actors and kind of tonally, really try to hone those characters into what we think the tone of their voices [are]. But it’s so much more beneficial to get on set and let them run with it and infuse every character with their own energy.

I think that’s one of the great things about this ensemble, aside from them all just being so talented, so funny, everybody’s really a unique performer. They each bring a really different energy to their characters so it was fun to watch all of those different energies bounce off one another.

One of the performances that stood out for me came from Alessandro, who is usually a dramatic actor. Was it fun doing scenes with him?

Oh, absolutely. Alessandro is so good in this movie, and he really brought a thoughtful perspective to that character who, as originally written, was probably even a bit more one-dimensional. You know, I’m sort of writing this character, and some of those scenes are sort of based on my personal experiences that I’ve had with men. But obviously, that’s my perspective. That’s a woman’s perspective on what’s happening in those scenes.

And obviously, we want to feel that perspective, but once we had brought Alessandro into the fold, he just had so many great ideas for what makes that guy tick. I think it really adds. You don’t want any character in a movie to be one-dimensional.

Spin Me Round will be released in theaters, on-demand, and streaming on AMC+ on August 19.

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