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OBVIOUS CHILD began life as a short film by Gillian Robespierre, Anna Bean, and Karen Maine. The filmmaker suspected, though, that there was more to the story of Donna, a stand-up comedian drifting through life. Five years later, she’s hitting the PR trail with her star, Jenny Slate in tow promoting the feature-length version, and not a little startled by the reception her little indie film is making. Filmed in 18 days, it has both the raw energy of an indie flick filmed on a shoestring budget, and the assured voice of a filmmaker, and a star, who both have an unassailable understanding of telling an engrossing, original story.
When we spoke on May 22, 2014, the ebullient pair were discovering the wonders of Instagram, and the PR tour. The conversation ranged from the place, or not, of gender in comedy, the difference between clueless and unfocused, and an impromptu tribute to the late, great Ruth Gordon.
Their film, one that you won’t forget quickly and for all the right reasons, is a serious comedy about love, sex, and rising from the ashes. Slate stars as Donna, a stand-up comedian whose life has taken a dramatic turn for the worse just in time for Valentine’s Day when she is dumped by her longtime boyfriend, bereft of her day job, and turns up pregnant from a one-night stand. Instead of turning to a pint of ice cream and a deux ex machina set of plot twists, OBVIOUS CHILD is the anti-rom com, choosing truth over fluff as Donna renegotiates her life with the support of her best friend, and learns first not to judge a man by his shoes, and eventually, that change, while terrifying, is not necessarily a catastrophe, and neither is growing up. The film co-stars Gaby Hoffman, Jake Lacey, Polly Draper, Richard Kind, Gabe Liedman, and Richard Cross. Robespierre directed from her own script, which is based on her short film, the which she co-wrote with Anna Bean and Karen Maine. Slate’s previous work includes BOB’S BURGERS, PARKS AND RECREATION, and HOUSE OF LIES. She was also the pivotal character of Jenny the Page on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
Click the link to listen to the interview (13:39) OBVIOUS CHILD — Jenny Slate and Gillian Robespierre.