Everyone has their share of ex-girlfriend/ex-boyfriend stories–the “bad” break-up, the “it’s not you, it’s me” break-up, and, of course, the “I still want to be friends” break-up. In the comedy “Ex-Girlfriends,” writer, director and star Alexander Poe examines love, loss, and the grown-up process of moving on.
After the break-up of his latest relationship, writer Graham (Alexander Poe), spots another ex, Laura, played by Kristen Connolly (“Cabin in the Woods”) at a mutual friend’s party. o Graham, in his apathetic state, this type of meeting is anything but a chance encounter. It must be the sign that she’s the girl he was meant to be with, the one that got away. After attempting to re-ignite the great relationship he remembers with Laura, he learns she is involved with someone else.
Defeated but not deterred, he confides in another ex-girlfriend turned best friend, Kate, the remarkable Jennifer Carpenter (“Dexter”). She’s currently frustrated with her own relationship as she suspects that her boyfriend Tom may be cheating. After Graham is presented with another opportunity to dig deeper into Laura’s relationship he realizes that her boyfriend is also named Tom. With their close circles of friends, it doesn’t take Graham long to realize that Kate and Laura are dating the same guy. The problem then becomes how to use this new-found information. Poe’s subtle, dry humor and introspective, second person narration provides a very relatable and satisfying experience, especially with the smartly written female characters.
Austin Fusion took a moment to meet with Alexander Poe and Jennifer Carpenter to discuss the “Ex-Girlfriends” world premiere at the Austin Film Festival.
AFM: This was the world premiere of Ex-Girlfriends and at the IMAX, no less, how was that for you?
AP: It was pretty amazing. When you start to make a movie, the prospect of watching with an audience is so far off and finally getting here was really satisfying. It was especially fun to see people so engaged with it. I had conversations afterwards with people talking about their own relationships and their own problems and what the movie brought up for them. It spurred some fun conversations.
AFM: I love that your character is so open emotionally, flaws and all. He shares all the secret things we do after a break-up like the burning of old letters and pictures where we usually see these types of things with female characters. Would you say that this movie came about from past experiences?
AP: I definitely took my inspiration from things that happened. I mean a lot of it is based on experience, then of course some things have to change in the writing process to make it actually more true to the core idea. In real life experiences there are all these crazy things that are totally contradictory and in the writing process I wanted to keep contradictory confusing elements. They (the characters) do all kinds of crazy stuff that I feel we do in real life; makes it more identifiable.
AFM: Alex, you directed, wrote and starred in this film. As your first feature what did you think about doing all three at once?
AP: I just thought it would be fun! (laughs) I just wanted to have all the fun. As a writer you see the director having fun. As a director, you see the actors having fun. I just wanted to do it all.
I’ve kind of done it with other films in the past and I work with a tight team of collaborators. So I felt like I had other eyes watching what was going on, taking care of keeping everything balanced so I could take on those other roles without compromising the final product.
AFM: Jennifer, you mentioned that you really related to the script. What was it about the character of Kate that got you hooked?
JC: It wasn’t solely Kate, it was how it all fit together. It’s really deceiving because you feel like you’re on skis, skimming just the surface of it and then by the end of it, you’re dumped into lake. You know what I mean? ( laughs) But in a good way. It truly felt like a slice of life. I feel like the best meals in life are the ones that you actually cut into beautiful pieces and that you take your time to chew and taste. This movie delivers a beautiful entrée and not like in bigger movies where they feel like they have to give you something to celebrate.
JC on working with Alex: The fact that this guy (Poe) wrote something because it was calling him to be written and that he risked his relationships, his finances to get it done. How can you not respect that? And for me to be asked to be a player, I’m still very impressed.
“Ex-Girlfriends” will be in limited theater release on November 28 and VOD and itunes on November 27.
Special thanks to our friends at Wild About Music on Sixth Street for introducing these first-time visitors to a little taste of Austin’s music culture.