Filmmaker Joe Swanberg talks ‘Drinking Buddies’

Writer/director Joe Swanberg recently spoke with “Breakthrough Entertainment” about his new romantic dramedy “Drinking Buddies.”

In “Drinking Buddies,” which opens Friday, Sept. 6 exclusively at Harkins Valley Art, Jake M. Johnson and Olivia Wilde play co-workers at a Chicago brewery, where they spend their days drinking and flirting. They are perfect for each other – except that they are both in relationships. Ron Livingston and Anna Kendrick also star.

Listen to “Breakthrough Entertainment’s” full interview with Swanberg by clicking HERE. The following is an excerpt from the interview in which the writer/director discusses the source of “Drinking Buddies’” story as well as his thematic intentions.

It very much came from my own personal experience. I kind of always start there at least. The model of the movie and sort of the relationships were all coming out of things that I related to or had happened to me or friends of mine. And then you get into the fun territory of bringing the actors into the process and sort of seeing how they relate personally to the story and what they want to bring from their own lives to it.

And you end up with a really nice combination of personal stories that, in the end, don’t resemble one specific person. They become a nice amalgamation of a different people’s experiences. Hopefully you end up with the kind of relatable authenticity of each character but then also there is not somebody sitting in the audience saying, ‘Hey, they are just making an autobiography here.’ It can take on the dimensions of a character rather than being 100 percent a personal self-expression.”

I hope that people come away feeling like men and women can be friends – even if there is sexual tension there. The pathway to that friendship has to involve acknowledging that sexual tension and overcoming it somehow. I think, additionally, with Jake and Anna’s characters in the film, I am hoping to thematically tell a story about a couple who is able to encounter and then overcome obstacles in their relationship and somehow say that the right person for you is not always obvious.” – Joe Swanberg

Joseph J. Airdo

Joseph J. Airdo is a film critic, producer and on-air personality for Breakthrough Entertainment, a talk radio show airing 10-11 a.m. Saturdays on KPHX 1480 AM and that shines a spotlight on the practical perspectives of the topics and themes explored in movies. He has a pet duck named Frozen who is as opinionated about movies as he is. E-mail him at

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