Of course Jonah Hill and Lauren London CGI-kissed in ‘You People’ — remember COVID-19?
Notice something strange about that kiss in the Jonah Hill-Lauren London movie “You People”? And no, we’re not talking about the fact that London’s character Amira actually fell for Hill’s Ezra.
“I don’t know if you know this, if I should share this,” comic Andrew Schulz, who plays Cousin Avi in “You People,” said last week on “The Brilliant Idiots” podcast. “The final scene, they don’t even kiss. It’s CGI. Swear to God.”
Charlamagne tha God and DJ Nyla Symone were taken aback, so Schulz explained.
“I’m there, I’m watching the wedding, and I see them go in for the kiss and their faces stop, like, this far [apart] and I’m like, ‘I wonder how they’re gonna play that in the movie? Oh, they’re probably just going to cut right there.’”
Kenya Barris takes his brand of cultural satire to feature length in the Netflix comedy “You People,” starring Jonah Hill, Eddie Murphy and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
They did not cut.
In the movie, he said, “You can see, their faces just kind of come close, and then you can see their faces morph a little bit into a fake kiss.”
Escandalo! But let’s rewind a bit to what was going on with COVID-19 when “You People” was in production. Remember social distancing?
The movie was filmed near the end of 2021, from the end of October and into November. That’s after the massive summer 2021 COVID-19 surge in L.A. County — where the movie was shot — and about 5 minutes before health officials started flagging people about the arrival of a winter surge. A few weeks into postproduction, the Omicron variant hit the West Coast.
Los Angeles, the city that Lauren London has always called home, doesn’t feel the same after her partner Nipsey Hussle was killed, she says.
So folks were working with masks on and staying farther apart than normal. And CGI had been in use to show physical contact since production resumed in 2020 for things like spitting scenes, sex scenes and, yes, kissing scenes. Productions that didn’t want to use CGI had to ensure that leads would quarantine together before getting their lips locked.
So the fake kiss in “You People” was actually a side effect of COVID-19 — and not, as some reviewers and online commenters have said, a side effect of the “lack of chemistry” between the leads.
Still, as Schulz pointed out, there’s “no f— way in any world” that Jonah Hill and Lauren London would actually be a couple.
Only good movies
Get the Indie Focus newsletter, Mark Olsen's weekly guide to the world of cinema.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.