One “Plus One”: An Interview with Jeff Chan and Andrew Rhymer

The duo of Jeff Chan and Andrew Rhymer graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. The duo collaborated on many short films, including the renowned Suckerpunch, which they wrote with Chan directing; and Pregame, which both wrote and directed. They make their feature film directorial debut with Plus One, a romantic comedy starring Jack Quaid and Maya Erskine, which will come to select theaters, VOD, and Digital on June 14 from RLJE Films.

World Film Geek took the opportunity to talk with both Chan and Rhymer about their feature film debut.

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Guys, I saw Plus One and I really enjoyed it. The generalization is that rom-coms are more geared towards women, but this is one film geared towards both men and women.
AR: Thank you so much! That’s great to hear!
JC: That’s the plan! We didn’t want to genderize it so thank you so much!

Before we get into the film, my first question is what inspired you two to become filmmakers?
AR: I actually grew up into a filmmaking family but I wasn’t sure if it was something I wanted to pursue. Eventually, I did get into it with writing and I realized it was something that would be fun to do.
JC: As a kid, I was two things. I was a computer nerd and a film nerd. I thought, what could I do to computer my love for both. I met Andrew at NYU. He’s from L.A. and I’m from New Jersey. We got together and formed this friendship and that’s how it began.

Let’s dive into Plus One. What was the inspiration to make this film?
AR: We wanted to do something along the lines of a romantic comedy that revolved around weddings and we based a lot of the film on experiences between us and our friends. We wanted to use the idea of relationships and how weddings can affect those relationships from both sides. We came up with the idea of these two friends who only rely on each other during this season but add the twist that they eventually fall for each other in the process.

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Alice (Maya Erskine) and Ben (Jack Quaid) in one of many weddings in Plus One (RLJE Films)

The film had excellent performances from Maya Erskine, who you have worked on with Pen15 and Pregame; and Jack Quaid, whose parents are of course, Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan. What were they like on the set?
JC: Nightmare! (Laughs)
AR: Absolute nightmare! I mean Wow! (Laughs) No, they were actually wonderful to work with. These two were great! We got very lucky because two weeks before shooting, we got to work with them. The first week, we brought them together and had them do various things, mostly improvisation so we can get a dynamic of what they can bring to their characters. Then, the second week, we delved into the script and worked on the lines to get a feel of what they would eventually bring to the film. And they did an excellent job!

As this was your first feature film, what difficulties did you face during production?
JC: Well, we aimed for something very ambitious. And the film has well, twelve weddings depicted. Of course, when you have a limited budget, it can be difficult. The reason is, weddings can be very expensive. You can ask anyone, and they will tell you that their wedding was expensive.
AR: Yes, and I will say we had an excellent crew who really went above and beyond, especially our producers and production design time. They set out to make these weddings look great and we have to send major kudos to Frankie Palumbo, our production designer. He did a great job with these wedding scenes.

Now, I have an interesting question. You mentioned that there are 12 weddings depicted in the film. What would you consider your favorite wedding in terms of shooting?
JC: That is a good question!
AR: I think I would have to say the opening wedding. We call that the extra day, because that was the one day we had pretty much all of our extras in the same space. We had to shoot both the wedding and the reception and that was the one day we used all of our extras.
JC: And it’s very funny because our original cut ended up being 1 hour and 55 minutes, which we thought was good. But test audiences thought it was too long! And I thought well, Silver Linings Playbook was 1 hour and 55 minutes and it won an Oscar. (Laughs)

I totally agree! If the film did have that 1 hour and 55 minutes, I probably would have enjoyed it more. Then again, that’s probably just me talking (Laughs).
AR: You should have sat with us in the theaters then! (Laughs)

Finally, are you planning any more feature films or are you sticking to the small screen?
JC: We’re actually planning our next feature film. It’s not a romantic comedy though.
AR: We’re planning more of a throwback to 80’s classics like Back to the Future, Big, those kind of films.
JC: Yeah, well, they’re sort of similar (laughs)
AR: Yeah! We’re also doing our own projects separately, but we work well together and we have an excellent partnership so we’ll eventually look forward to doing our next feature.

You had me at 80’s throwback, since I grew up in the 80’s. That will be one film I’ll look forward to.
JC/AR: Thank you!

Plus One comes to theaters, VOD, and Digital on June 14. This is a fun and witty romantic comedy that caters to both women and men because anyone can relate to the two lead characters. Thank you again Jeff and Andrew for talking about the film.
JC: Thanks! We hope everyone will like the film!
AR: Thanks for having us!

A Special Thank You goes to Katrina Wan PR, Jeff Chan, and Andrew Rhymer for making this interview possible.

Signature photo: Corey Nickols via GettyImages

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