Sitting around a table at Duplex on Third in Beverly Hills, the cast and writers of 'Forev' considered whether they would marry someone after knowing them just one day.
With two in favor of giving it a shot and three opposed, the group thought seriously about the central tension in their film and the meaning viewers would get out of it.
"I hope people realize that you don't have to get married, that the happy ending can be that you actually don't get married," screenwriter James Leffler said, after deciding on the spot he would not marry so early in a relationship. "Though I've always been a strong proponent of beggars can't be choosers."
The film tells the story of neighbors and new friends Sophie (Noël Wells) and Pete (Matt Mider) who get engaged on an impromptu road trip to pick up Pete's younger sister (Amanda Bauer) at college. Along the way, the couple facechallenges that make them question whether the cons of marriage outweigh the insurance benefits and tax breaks.
"You don't have to be an adult to get married, you don't have to be an adult to do anything as it turns out," screenwriter Molly Green said just before she decided she would try marrying early in a relationship. "Worst-case scenario you get a divorce."
Green and Leffler wrote the film in collaboration with the actors, wondering what two characters would do when a pretend scenario gets taken too far. Many scenes were drawn from experience, though the writers said the central tension regarding the engagement was a product of a series of "what if?" discussions.
Wells said a scene in which her character, Sophie, auditions for a local hot dog commercial directly reflected an audition she'd done. After receiving a call back for the role of a cute, likable girl, Wells went in to the studio, hoping to land the gig. The director asked her to eat a hot dog bun and act as if she was really enjoying it.
After a few minutes of uncomfortable chewing, the director told Wells she could spit the bun into a nearby trash can.
"Mountains of chewed hotdog buns were spilling out of this wastebasket," Wells said. "People's dreams were all in the wastebasket."
The film captures a quirky immaturity of two young adults entering into a seemingly adult union. Green said she and Leffler selected the title after much discussion to encapsulate that idea.
"It's forever but abbreviated, it's the immature version of forever," Green said.
The Los Angeles Film Festival will screen "Forev" at 6:50 p.m. on Saturday and at 6:50 and 9:50 p.m. on Wednesday.