A winner at the Brooklyn International Film Festival and a hit at SXSW, the new indie romance Breaking Upwards works like a combination of John Cassavetes and Norah Ephron, street smart, gritty, funny and tender hearted, but without any kind of typical Hollywood formula. It tells the story of Daryl and Zoe, a young New York couple with a four-year relationship under their belt. The sex is getting tired, and routine has settled in, so they decide to take a break from each other. Not full time, mind you, but just three days off each week. Director/co-writer Daryl Wein, who plays Daryl, and co-writer Zoe Lister Jones, who plays Zoe, went through something not unlike this in their real-life relationship. It sounds crazy, but it worked like gangbusters, both in real life, and for the movie. Daryl and Zoe recently chatted with Cinematical to discuss their lives and work.
Cinematical: In creating these characters, were you acting as yourselves? Or did you try to add some kind of new character traits to make the characters more interesting?
Daryl Wein: They were not called "Daryl" and "Zoe" to begin with. They were just fictional characters. Zoe and I were the templates for the characters. There were some similarities, but obviously a lot of the qualities were fictionalized, like Zoe's an actress in real life and I'm not a journalist in real life. But in terms of qualities, I don't think we were really thinking about how to best portray us, how we were being represented. I think we were trying to make the characters complex, with flaws, and balance. I think we just tried to show two real people. In retrospect, I wish I could have made myself more interesting or smarter! The line is so blurred at this point that I don't know the difference between the characters and the real "Zoe" or the real "Daryl."