‘Horse Girl’ Star, Co-Writer Alison Brie on Writing an ‘Almost’ Completely Improvised Film (Video)

Sundance 2020: “It’s more of a method to get the dialogue to sound fresh and natural as if it’s coming from the real person,” director Jeff Baena tells TheWrap

Alison Brie had an interesting task with “Horse Girl”: She had to write a script for the drama, but given that it’s mostly an improvised film, they had to be very specific in describing the actions of the characters.

“Almost all was improvised except for the TV show in the movie, ‘Purgatory,’” director and co-writer Jeff Baena told TheWrap’s Steve Pond at the Sundance Film Festival. “That was completely scripted.”

“It was certainly different for me this time around having written it together,” Brie added. “Basically, we created a very detailed 35 page outline, and the scenes are thorough — they talk what the characters come in and talk about. It’s pretty complex, there are major objectives that people have to get across in scenes, so it’s pretty specific. Then we start out shooting a wide shot, and then workshop the dialogue in the first few takes and then we would lock it in and shoot it like any scripted film.”

Baena added: “It’s more of a method to get the dialogue to sound fresh and natural as if it’s coming from the real person as opposed to some performance.”

“Horse Girl” is about a socially awkward woman who is interested in arts and crafts and horses, whose lucid dreams start to sprinkle into her reality. Debby Ryan, John Reynolds and Molly Shannon also star.

Brie said the idea for this trippy movie came during one of her long hikes with Baena — the two live near each other and have worked on two previous films together so they’ve grown extremely close.

“The first idea that came up was just Jeff saying I should play a horse girl which is something that I have heard before,” she explained. “Through that conversation, I felt encouraged enough to bring up an idea that I had been kicking around, then we merged them into the same idea and we cracked it wide open.”

When asked whether she’s a horse girl in real life, Brie responded, “I am not now, now have I ever been a real horse girl but I really loved working with the horse in this movie, so I could be converted. I haven’t actually started riding horses.”

Watch the video above.