People’s bonds with their friends and significant others often reach a particular moment when the dynamic between them reaches the point of no return. Whether or not they decide to try to repair their relationship, or let their bond go, most couples do reach that point of not being able to revive their former feelings. That’s certainly the case with the characters in the new romantic comedy, ‘That Awkward Moment,’ from first-time feature film scribe-helmer Tom Gormican. The movies shows insight into mens’ perspectives of when they realize it’s time to fully make a commitment in, or finally let go of, their romantic relationships, and how much they can depend on their friends for emotional support.
‘That Awkward Moment’ follows three single best friends-book cover designers Jason (Zac Efron) and Daniel (Miles Teller) and Mikey (Michael B. Jordan), a doctor in his residency-who are living seemingly carefree lifestyles in New York City. After Mikey’s wife, Vera (Jessica Lucas), unexpectedly tells him she’s been cheating on him and wants a divorce, the three friends make a no commitment pact. Since they’re all finally single at the same time, they’ll forgo romantic relationships and instead concentrate on partying together and with as many women as possible.
However, the friends’ obligation to their agreement quickly begins to waver. Mikey begins having sex with Vera again, even though they aren’t any closer to rekindling their emotional bond than they were when she first revealed her affair. Jason also begins secretly dating an emerging novelist, Ellie (Imogen Poots), whom he met in a bar and subsequently designed a book cover for inadvertently. Daniel also covertly starts seeing his friend Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis), after the two spent countless nights trying to set each other up with other people. The three friends try to process how Jason and Daniel are now unexpectedly falling in love, while Mikey, who always believed in marrying young, is going through a break-up, without letting the changes in their attitudes affect their relationships with each other.
Gormican was joined by several of the stars of ‘That Awkward Moment,’ including Efron, Teller, Jordan and Potts, at a recent press conference at New York City’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel to talk about the romantic comedy. Among other things, the writer-director and actors discussed how they enjoyed working together and truly bonded on the set, despite having a limited budget and short shooting schedule; how they try to have normal relationships and encounters, but there aren’t set rules they live by, despite the fact that they made a film about awkward moments; and how Ellie was never purely responsive to just the guys, and her perspective was thoroughly explored.
Question (Q): Everyone seems to get along so well. What was it like working together on the set?
Tom Gormican (TG): These guys had the best time of their lives. (laughs) If you guys don’t mind me saying, they couldn’t image working for a more emotionally in-touch and prepared director. That’s what they emailed me a lot. (laughs)
Miles Teller (MT): Like Tom said, we did have a fun time. But at the same time, we were on a really tight schedule. This was an independent film, and we made it in 25 days. It was pretty tough, but I think when you see the movie, it looked like we had twice as many days.
It looks like the big studio comedy that wasn’t. It was independently financed. That was tough when you have a bunch of guys who wanted to adlib, but at the end of the day, you had to go through the pages.
Zac Efron (ZE): This was the first film I actually served as a producer. So I was able to help facilitate who was in the film. I got to meet these guys. I felt like I was instrumental in putting it together, so I had a lot of pride in how this film was made.
From the ground up, movies aren’t just made by actors or photographers. There are a lot of grips, and a whole crew. It’s a massive undertaking, and this was guerilla filmmaking. We were out in the freezing cold with a very low budget. Tom, being a first-time director, and all these guys hung in there during pretty extraordinary circumstances. We did have fun, but I think at the end of the day, we’re really just proud of what we did.
MT: I’m pretty sure Imogen always wore a dress on the coldest days we filmed.
Imogen Poots (IM): Yes, definitely. But what I thought was so cool about it is that I really felt part of something. With all due respect to Tom, he created this world that’s so relevant, as the story is taking place now.
Also, spending a few weeks with these four guys was great and thrilling, and it all turned out to be wonderful. We all had so much fun. I found Tom to be an amazing director. Being one of the few girls in the movie, I never felt like there was uber-testosterone.
Michael B. Jordan (MBJ): Our chemistry came from us really spending time together. The five of us took a trip up to the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York. We went on nature walks and did the whole bonding experience. That experience helped bring our bond to the screen. We also went to games and played Xbox, and had a regular friendship.
Q: Speaking about friendships, do you all have guidelines or rules you follow in your relationships?
MBJ: One of the coolest things about the film is that we have all these expectations. We try to have normal relationships and encounters, but there aren’t set rules we go by. Just because we did a film about awkward moments, doesn’t mean we have lives dedicated to those things. We try to be honest and look for real moments.
When you first meet someone, you put your best foot forward. As you get to know someone through texts, phone conversations or dates, the real inner person starts to come out. You just use your best judgment, honestly. If you’re a good person, that will come through. That’s how you should live life, whether with a friendship or a romantic relationship.
MT: For me, as far as friendship goes, I truly think you get out of it what you put into it. Relationships are hard. I’ve known most of my friends since I was 14, and they live in Florida. So I try to make it a point to talk to them on the phone at least once a week. Even though I can see them in a year and not much goes by, you have to put some hours in.
Q: Imogen, since the film is about the guys’ perspectives, what do you think about the rules when you come into this group of longtime friends?
IP: Well, what I think is so cool about Ellie is that Tom created a character I felt was never purely responsive to just the guys. In a lot of ways, I felt her perspective was thoroughly explored.
Additionally, what I felt was so exciting and intriguing about playing her was she never tried to conform to anything; she never tried to intentionally be a part of his friends. It actually took them coming around to the idea of her to make it gel together so greatly. The concept of this movie could sound very one-sided. But I actually didn’t find it that way at all.
ZE: That was because of you. You found that silver lining in there, and that’s what’s cool. I had some of my favorite scenes with you.
IP: Thanks, Zac. When you’re seeing someone, their friends come with them, and they’re part of their identity.
TG: People are asking about rules in relationships, but one of the things the movie says is that there aren’t any rules. You either show up for someone when they need you, or you don’t, and that determines whether or not you’re in a relationship.