It’s a situation we can all relate to: You agree to attend a get-together as a favor to your significant other. You dread it the entire way there, and once you arrive you end up feeling outcast, drifting around the outskirts of conversations, seemingly invisible to everyone else around you. That’s the premise of Fits and Starts, a new comedy by writer/director Laura Terruso (writer of Hello, My Name is Doris) that made its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival over the weekend.
Jennifer (Greta Lee) is an up-and-coming writer who gets invited to a party at her publicist’s house. She brings along her husband, David (Wyatt Cenac). David’s also a writer but is struggling to find anyone interested in his unpublished manuscript while finding himself increasingly frustrated the more he becomes overshadowed by his wife’s success. On the way to the party, a series of misunderstandings causes them to be separated, and David finds himself stuck all alone, surrounded by people he doesn’t know (or like), with his wife nowhere to be found.
We got the chance to sit down and talk to both Wyatt Cenac and Greta Lee while they were attending SXSW last weekend. They explained what it was like for them to develop the rapport of a married couple that may be on the verge of a crisis in their relationship.
You guys really have the married couple argument down. And not just an ‘old, married couple’ kind of way, but a specific moment in this couples’ life together. How did you guys build that rapport?
Wyatt Cenac: I feel like there was a general sense of play between Greta and I that was very sort of…
Greta Lee: It was instant.
Cenac: The first time that we met, Laura and one the producers had put together a little get-together for us.
Lee: A dinner.
Cenac: …and I accidentally showed up two hours late.
Lee: Two hours late. Two hours late. It’s almost been two years, I’m still very much not over it. Very much. Every day. Every day, I still think about that.
Cenac: And I thought it started at eight, and it started at seven. And so that’s why…
Lee: He was two hours late.
Cenac: I was an hour late. And then the second hour, that I can’t…
Lee: But, do you hear his explanation! It’s not even explaining why he was two hours. He’s like, “Well, the first hour…”
Cenac: The first hour I just was I misread an email.
Lee: Anyway, so pretty quickly, that set the tone for our relationship.