There’s something almost too accurate about Drinking Buddies, the new film from mumblecore king Joe Swanburg. The movie does a wonderful job exploring the simmering (and sometimes awkward) sexual tension between two brewery co-workers, played by Jake Johnson and Olivia Wilde. All the drunk conversations and inebriated, awkward moments just felt a bit too authentic, too close to conversations we’ve had after tossing back a pint or 10. And now we know the reason why!
“It was real beer all the time,” explained Olivia.
Swansburg directed the film from an outline only (that’s right, no script), and the actress said the booze helped calm their nerves on set, too. “It probably got rid of a little bit of our fear,” she said, adding with a laugh, “not that you should drink to get rid of your fear.”
But, she says, it did help. “It definitely allowed us to understand the world we were portraying,” she told us. “Every time you make a movie you have to dive in and learn about the world.” Sounds like it’s extra fun when that world involves endless pints.
The sexual tension in the movie reaches a wonderfully cringeworthy high at the end, but is never quite resolved. That’s right (spoiler) — the pair never actually kiss, an order that came down from their director. “I tried!” joked Olivia. “And they made a rule. They were like, ‘Stop that, Olivia!’”