Set over the course of a single night, 6 Balloons follows Katie (Abbi Jacobson) as she drives around Los Angeles trying to find a rehab clinic for her heroin-addicted brother, Seth (Dave Franco), who’s in the throes of withdrawal. An unflinching look at the nature of addiction and codependence, the movie attempts to humanize the problem of drug abuse while never pulling any punches about its subject matter. Set to premiere on Netflix April 6th, 6 Balloons screened as part of SXSW this year, giving audiences the chance to see it on the big screen. We got the chance to sit down with both Jacobson and Franco, both known for their comedic roles, to discuss what they did to prepare for the movie, as well as their mutual desire to branch out as dramatic actors.
This seems like a pretty challenging project. Was that appealing to the both of you?
Abbi Jacobson: Most of the stuff I’ve done has been comedy, and this was definitely a different kind of project, a different kind of a role, and I was — and am — really kind of trying to be a little bit more experimental with myself in that way. So I was excited to try something new, and the content itself is about a really tragic epidemic that’s facing our country and has been for a long time, and I don’t think there are enough stories about it.
Dave Franco: The script was great and the role was like no other roles I’d played before. And I was very flattered that the director [Marja-Lewis Ryan] would even think of me for this role. So it took me a second to decide to fully commit, just ’cause I knew that I was going to have to go through a pretty big physical transformation and I was gauging whether or not I was in the right head space for that at the moment.
Once I decided to sign on, I ended up losing 20 to 25 pounds, which really took a toll on me and messed with my head. I was more depressed than I’ve ever been in my life. I was thinking yesterday how I’m so happy that Abbi is still friends with me just because I wasn’t myself while we were filming. I wasn’t the most fun person to be around. But I’m glad I did it and I think the fact that the role did scare me so much was part of the reason I was really drawn to it as well, because it really did put me out of my comfort zone and I think a lot of the time people do their best work when they are in those circumstances.
Did that situation help to create some of that contentious relationship between your two characters?
Franco: I think so.
Jacobson: We met on this film so we shot this in 2016, I think? We met for dinner about this project and we hit it off right away as friends but then once we started working, there is this tension between the characters so it almost helped that we weren’t hanging out. We couldn’t have too much fun. I think that would have spilled into the project too much.