Jenny Slate’s ‘I Want You Back’ marks a new chapter for the new mom
New year, fresh slate.
It’s the vibe that transcends a Zoom call with Jenny Slatethe effervescent comedian/actress who met 2022 with what can only be described as post-pandemic energy, hosting a “very small” wedding in the New Year’s living room with an art curator Ben Shattucktheir daughter Ida, now 13 monthsand a handful of friends.
Planning their wedding together had been “stress-free”, says Slate, 39, but this was the fourth time the couple had tried to postpone their ceremony. “I had a beautiful dress and we still had all the flowers we were supposed to have. Our house was decorated and I asked the florist to make it look like Christmas in Greta Gerwig’s ‘Little Women.’”
This twinkling winter wonderland is just the first page of a new chapter Slate is writing. On Friday, his new romantic comedy with Charlie Day, “I want you to come back“, hits Amazon Prime, and its seven-year adaptation on the big screen of the sweet and melancholic cult hit “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” (from Youtube short films and bestsellers children’s book fame) screens in March at South by Southwest. The film will be released later this year.
Slate arrived on the “I Want You Back” set just 10 weeks after giving birth. “I was scared,” she admits, juggling COVID protocols, breast expression challenges and her own insecurities. She laughs, “I was like, I don’t know what it’s like to wear pants.”
In the film, she plays Emma, a freshly dumped and aimless thirtysomething receptionist who still shares an apartment with college-age roommates. Emma’s (Scott Eastwood) ex-fitness trainer has abruptly moved on with an ambitious pastry chef owner (Clark Backo). Unmoored, Emma soon forms a club of broken hearts with a friend from work (Day) whose girlfriend (Gina Rodriguez) has also rejected the reliable man for a more exciting type of actor (Manny Jacinto). Soon, the desperate couple devise a scheme to break up their ex’s happy new unions.
Slate, an independent darling who previously starred in films like 2014’s “Obvious Child” and 2017’s “Landline,” has often felt emotionally attached to her characters (“Now all I can think of is is at the umbilical cord”), but is now in a much more sedentary place than Emma. “This time around, I felt like the older friend of the character I was playing, or the big sister in my life.”
Frankly, Slate’s MO is anything but stopped: she’s got a new agent, a new publicist, and an optimistic outlook.
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“I feel like I’m entering my best time yet,” says Slate, whose 2019 Fantastic Memoirs “Little Weirds” helped her out of a period of loneliness. “You know, having a baby really took me by surprise in a way. I mean, I wanted to have a baby. It wasn’t a surprise when I got pregnant – or it kind of was. , I guess?” she laughs. in what I did before.
“But what I find instead is that all my personal concerns that were kind of brutal in a way, like my little vanities or my little worries, just disappeared. I can really see myself now And I think that point of view is what led me to form new relationships in my professional life and to really find people who I think believe in me.
When filming wrapped last May, Slate retired to her baby cocoon, “but it’s time to go back,” she says. discussed topics ranging from crippling anxiety to being single after her divorce from “Marcel” collaborator Dean Fleischer-Camp. “The last time, I really put myself away from the culture. I said to myself: ‘I will never go out with anyone again'”, she says.
After Slate had Ida, she wondered if the urge to perform on stage would return. “I remember saying, ‘I think I’m done now. Like, I had no thoughts. And all my friends kept (saying) it was this postpartum, like some weird mommy fog. “
Corn Today, as Ida naps and Slate chats from her Los Angeles home, her wheels are turning. She’s starting to brainstorm some jokes for “Marcel’s” debut next month on SXSW. “This will be the first time I’ve done stand-up since before the pandemic,” she says. “I have no idea what I’m going to talk about, but in my weird, scared way, I can’t wait to be there.”
The plot of the film, co-created with a team including Fleischer-Camp, plants the shy one-eyed mollusk in a modern conundrum: “We meet Marcel when an amateur filmmaker moves into the Airbnb where Marcel lives. He doesn’t know what Airbnb is,” says Slate.
Her fondest Valentine’s Day memory? Slate, who names Sandra Bullock’s “While You Were Sleeping” as her favorite rom-com, looks back on an early (and rather on-brand) surprise from Shattuck.
“My first Valentine’s Day with Ben, he painted a picture of a rabbit wearing a belt that I think said ‘Jenny’. And in the picture he painted, ‘Do you want to be my Valentine?’ ”
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