The Writer/Director Couple Behind "Lola Versus" On Messy Breakups

Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister-Jones
Buzz, Heartbreak

Daryl Wein & Zoe Lister-Jones tell us how they made the new romantic comedy seem so real.

The movie captures the real, messy, awkward pain of a breakup. When writing the screenplay, did you two draw from personal experience?

Daryl: A couple year ago we made a film called Breaking Upwards, which was semi-autobiographical about an open relationship that Zoe and I had in real life. After we finished making that movie, we were talking about our different experiences in that year when we were both single and dating other people. We noticed a lot of women who were smart, cool and funny were going through difficult times in their mid to late 20s in the dating scene in New York. It seemed kind of like an epidemic and a much different experience for men, so we felt like we had to tell this story.

Zoe: I think it was inspired by personal experience and some friends' stories, but it was mostly fictionalized. I think regardless of gender, everyone goes through that emotional rollercoaster when you're getting out of a relationship, and I think for Daryl and I, the power dynamic was really interesting to explore – the push and pull. Even though Luke dumps Lola, that doesn't mean he doesn't go back to her, and even though she's heartbroken, it doesn't mean she doesn't push him away. I think it's really messy and there is no formula.

Zoe, your character is hilarious! She's the best friend who's so supportive and always there for Lola. Have you helped many friends through similar situations?

Yes, I have. I think you have to be really patient. When I went through a really bad breakup in college, I had a friend who said to me, "You need to stop talking about it now." It was intense, and I was sort of like, "How dare you!" But in retrospect, he was right, and I had to stop, because it does become all consuming. I think a good friend is patient but also has to give it to you real and slaps you around a little bit at times. But also, a friend has to be empathetic, because we all need that shoulder to cry on at one point or another. 10 Best Celebrity "Breakovers": Look How Hot They Got!

Daryl, I love how you bring in the aspect of social media and breaking up on Facebook into Lola Versus.

Yeah, it's a mirror of the times. I'm trying to make it as real and authentic as possible, and that's how we communicate. We're Facebook stalking each other just like Lola is in the film when she's looking at Luke's Facebook page, and she's texting Henry to come over and get drunk with her. Those modes of communication are just how we live nowadays, so I wanted it to be a small part of the story. 

You're both approaching 30 years old, and the movie plays on how that's a scary thing. Did it reflect your own feelings towards the milestone?

Daryl: I'm definitely not excited for it! It's not fun to get older, but I guess you get more experience and it's nice to feel like you're finding your way, things are falling into place and you feel more comfortable and secure. But yeah, it definitely taps into this fear that I think Zoe and I have of what it is to be 30 and the pressure of having everything figured out, being settled down and having a steady relationship, maybe a family. It felt very universal to us to hit those beats for women, because I think they're all struggling with that pressure.

Zoe: I think approaching 30 is a milestone because it's sort of the first moment where being an adult crystallizes. In your 20s, you can still get a free pass for a lot of things, but there's something about the idea of crossing the threshold into your 30s where you're like, "I really need to get my sh*t together." Both Daryl and I are pretty neurotic and ambitious, so we knew what our paths were pretty early, but I do think that relationships and careers come into question at this time regardless.

What makes you two get along so well at work and at home?

Daryl: Zoe's my muse and we're partners in so many ways: we write together and she's such a great collaborator, and it's really fun to direct her and have her act cause she's a great funny actress, but also a great dramatic actress. We're connected in so many ways, probably more than we should be.

Zoe: I think we share a similar aesthetic and the same sense of values, even though we come from really different places. That's an interesting convergence, because we're both really different people actually, but somehow in our intersection and the crosshairs we just fit in a way that's inexplicable. We get excited by the same ideas, the same art, so it's really exciting to then create that art together. We're both honest people, so we're constantly challenging each other and we're not afraid to say if something's not working, which I think is important in any relationship.

Tell us: Are you going to see Lola Versus?

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