SXSW Interview: Actress Constance Zimmer and Writer/Director Andrew Bujalski Get ‘Results’

Constance Zimmer and Guy Pierce in Results

I always feel like I’m always a fight for everybody. Like, “Constance Zimmer? Constance Zimmer. Doesn’t she always play those bitchy women?” – Constance Zimmer

 

Constance Zimmer stars alongside Guy Pearce, Cobie Smulders and Kevin Corrigan in Results, writer/director Andrew Bujalski‘s film about two personal trainers whose lives are altered when a newly divorced and wealthy clients joins their gym.

The film, which premiered at SXSW, also stars Giovanni Ribisi, Anthony Michael Hall and Brooklyn Decker and as Zimmer told me, “I can’t even believe I’m listed with the names that are in the movie.” Zimmer (House of Cards) is no slouch herself. She’s always terrific in everything she does, including this film.

I talked to Zimmer and Bujalski at SXSW about the film, casting and how, as actors, “We’re all put in boxes.”

How do you like living in Austin?

Andrew Bujalski: I love it.

You been here how long?

Andrew Bujalski: On and off. I moved here in my early 20s just kind of for fun. I was only a here for a little over a year but really loved it a lot and always fantasized about coming back. And then about eight years ago, I shot a film down here and during the shoot, somehow I acquired a girlfriend, who is now my wife and the mother of my children, so I came back down. And very happy to do so.

Have you thought about moving to LA?

Andrew Bujalski: I have freak outs and think that maybe I should.

Constance Zimmer: No. You don’t need to.

Andrew Bujalski: But then the freak outs pass.

It seems like you doing well enough that you don’t have to.

Andrew Bujalski: Not financially. That’s where the freak outs come from.

Constance Zimmer: Yeah but in LA it’s harder. I mean it’s so much harder.

Andrew Bujalski: Well, you meet people, right? You’re an actor, you know. You run into people and then that person remembers you and they go, “Oh yeah, I gotta higher Constance.”

Constance Zimmer: Yes and no. I don’t leave my house. If I didn’t have to live in LA I would not.

Where would you live?

Constance Zimmer: I would live in New York.

Andrew Bujalski: A nice easy going town.

But in New York, there’s tons of stuff happening there.

Constance Zimmer: There is, but still not as much as LA because I work mostly television. Even though I say that and now everything I’ve been doing, none of it is shot in LA.

So let’s talk about the movie. For the 147th probably, can you give me the story and the rundown?

Andrew Bujalski: Well, you know what? Oddly enough, I haven’t come anywhere near mastering this yet. I thought I was making like a somewhat, I don’t know, if not mainstream movie… in a stream that was near mainstream. And then I read like the festival descriptions of it and it takes three paragraphs to try to describe it. I’m like, “Oh God, no.”

But it’s kind of an oddball quasi-romantic comedy. In many ways, it did come from me living in this town and kind of responding to the new Austin culture. The classic Austin culture is Slacker and that forever shall be the ultimate Austin movie. But obviously this town like the rest of the world is changing quite a bit. You know Whole Foods is headquartered here. Austin is kind of yuppie paradise and I speak as one who benefits from that. I enjoy my organic groceries as much as anybody.

But I wanted to capture some of that and do something in that world because I thought it was funny and I thought that there is some humor there that I hadn’t quite seen tapped in a way that I had hoped to tap it.

But it’s very character-based. It has a very eccentric structure. If I try to actually describe it it’ll take too long because I haven’t gotten my elevator pitch down yet.

Constance Zimmer: When people ask me, because I obviously did not write it or directed and I was only there for two days, but I always say… my opinion like watching it and when I read it… the broad strokes of it is how much people fixate on making the outsides of themselves perfect before they work on the insides. And listening to it happening on the inside and realizing that if we all works on our insides first the outside would probably come. But I think people are backwards and so they miss a lot of things that are happening right in front of them.

One of the things that happens to Guys character, he thinks that what he wants is what is the picture of physical health and success, confident and strong. When the reality is that’s not what he wants. But that’s what everybody tells you you’re supposed to be with and what you’re supposed to have and instead he was missing what he really wants right in front of his face.

Andrew Bujalski: Obviously that’s human nature to want to make everything perfect but somehow in the 21st century, things have gotten so efficient that it seems like there’s this mirage that you go, “Wait a minute, now we really can make everything perfect.”

I don’t know anybody who’s quite made it to perfect yet.

Constance Zimmer: God help us if anybody does by the way.

Andrew Bujalski: My wife. My wife is perfect.

Constance Zimmer: Aw. [laughs]

You’ve got a really, really great cast.

Andrew Bujalski: Yes, I agree.

Constance, how did you get involved?

Constance Zimmer: I know there was a lot of coercing from my agent to Andrew. I know Andrew was a fan but the part that I play is the opposite of anything that I normally do. And so I know that Andrew, well you might tell me different, that’s my feeling… I always feel like I’m always a fight for everybody. Like, “Constance Zimmer? Constance Zimmer. Doesn’t she always play those bitchy women?”

Andrew Bujalski: But can I tell you the truth? You play bitchy women in successful television shows that people love and that I’ve never seen.

Constance Zimmer: See, that’s great.

Andrew Bujalski: So I didn’t have that preconception.

Constance Zimmer: That’s good.

She in everything though. And

Andrew Bujalski: I haven’t seen anything!

Constance Zimmer: He doesn’t watch television.

Andrew Bujalski: You know who else is like hugely fucking successful things that everybody’s seen? Cobie Smulders. I’d never heard of her.

Constance Zimmer: Which is why that makes Andrew the perfect indie filmmaker. He’s going for who he thinks is right. There’s no box, you know? We’re all put in boxes unfortunately.

When the part came to me I was super excited. One, to work with Andrew and two, to have “fake sex scenes with Guy Pierce.” And three, because it was a part that doesn’t come to me very often just because I am put in a box. And so I was super excited to be able to play it. It was so fun.

And it was a great script too. It’s like you read it, and you’re like, “I get it. I know exactly what it is. I know exactly what is going to be.” And that doesn’t happen very often.

Andrew Bujalski: Well, there you have it.

No, I feel so fortunate. I’ve done so many movies with non-professional actors, that was how I started doing this. And that certainly has its own challenges and stresses. But essentially casting comes down to… I mean the hard part is, it’s always a hard part, finding the right person. But then you say, “Do you want to do it?” And then they say “yes” or “no.” Which is a whole different deal then like the agencies and managers and like real working actor’s schedules. It’s a whole of the other ‘house of cards’ if you will.

Constance Zimmer: Interesting pun. Hello.

Andrew Bujalski: Which is very stressful. It’s just such a blessing that we got all the people.

Constance Zimmer: Yeah it’s an incredible cast. I mean, I can’t even believe I’m listed with the names that are in the movie.

Andrew Bujalski: I feel the same way.

When you’re writing, do you have a vision of somebody in your head?

Andrew Bujalski: Well I did and this was in some ways the greatest good fortune of all. This whole thing started with me trying to think, “Actors, actors. Who do I want to work with?” And Kevin Corrigan was somebody who I’d been a fan of for 20 years and have been friendly with for a few years. If I had a half of a commercial brain I would sit down and think, “What can I do with Brad Pitt?” But I thought what can I do with Kevin Corrigan?

And so I was thinking about him and I was thinking about Guy, who was somebody I had met years earlier about another project. And of course I’ve been a great fan of for a long time but also just found fascinating from meeting with him.

So that was the spark. Just even imagining those two guys in a room together, I started to laugh. And so I did write with those two in mind and the chances of getting those two guys to actually come and do it are quite slim in retrospect. But again great good fortune.

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