While recently married actors Leighton Meester and Adam Brody – Ladam? Adeighton? – typically keep their relationship out of the public eye, the film “Life Partners” brings the two together on screen for the first time since 2011’s “The Oranges,” where they met on set. But don’t expect any insight into their elusive relationship from the film: Brody plays the love interest of Gillian Jacob’s character, while Meester plays Jacob’s lesbian best friend searching for her own partner.
The film opened Outfest, Los Angeles’ LGBT film festival, last week after premiering in April at Tribeca. Director Susanna Fogel said Brody was the first actor attached to the project, and her team knew through gossip blogs that the two were dating before casting the actress who recently appeared on Broadway in “Of Mice and Men."
Fogel said she hesitated to cast the two together, not wanting the press coverage of the celebrity couple’s budding romance to overshadow the goal of their film: to showcase the story of a strong, female friendship. But Meester’s standout performance as Sasha, a 29-year-old unmotivated receptionist trying to figure out her life, confirmed Fogel's choice.
“We found ourselves loving Leighton so much we just went for it, and figured worst case they have some highly publicized drama on the set,” Fogel said. “After seeing how talented and authentic and real she is, why not push her to do something so different that she was excited to do anyways?”
Casting the two in different relationships also gave each actor the chance to push against their typical character type; for Meester, the Type-A “rich girl” she played on “Gossip Girl” and Brody the “hipster icon,” Fogel said.
“We really liked the idea of casting Adam Brody in a role that’s about as far from hipster as humanly possible,” Fogel said. Brody plays dermatologist Tim, who’s mocked for his clichéd graphic T-shirts.
Gillian Jacobs, who plays Brody’s girlfriend Paige in the film, said she was more nervous coupling with Brody in the film than the real-life celeb couple.
“They are much more relaxed, calm chill people than I am, so they didn’t appear to have any issues with it. I would make myself all nervous,” said Jacobs, a longtime friend of Brody’s. “I was way more uptight and awkward than they were.”