When Tig Notaro got a request from Coldplay singer Chris Martin to do a surprise stand-up for his girlfriend, Dakota Johnson’s 30th birthday, she had only one question: “Are you sure was she told me?” Notaro, 50, is assured that she is, in fact, his favorite comedian Fifty shades of gray star. However, she pushed back the seven-time Grammy winner, saying, “I don’t want to walk out on stage and have her come back to you and say, ‘When did I say I liked her?'”
But Martin was right, and Johnson was amazed at Notaro’s birthday appearance. Now, almost two and a half years later, Johnson is starring in I agree?, the directorial debut of Notaro and his wife Stephanie Allynne, 36, is scheduled to open at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24. The film is written by a screenplay The Ellen DeGeneres Show Lead writer Lauren Pomerantz, sees Johnson as a lost 30-year-old who comes out and struggles to navigate her personal relationships, especially her relationship with her longtime best friend.
Film appearances, as of the end of the year, were reserved for young adults (see Love, Simon) or, as Allynne puts it, “One obstacle is your religion or your family.” In I agree?, the co-directors wanted to portray the revelation of sexuality in later life and the consequences within it – an experience Allynne realized for herself. “I was just with Tig, and then I was restarted The L Word: Generation Q, and suddenly I was thrown into this community where I didn’t really experience youth,” she said. “You feel like, ‘Oh my God, I haven’t done that all this time, or I’m not gay, what am I doing?’
Two weeks before filming began, the COVID-19 pandemic halted production. Allynne and Notaro spent the next year at their Los Angeles home with 5-year-old twin sons, Finn and Max, and three cats. When the city allowed filming to resume, a pre-vaccine pandemic production start date was set for February, which added an extra layer of anxiety since Notaro is a breast cancer survivor. . “Honestly, I felt pretty terrified,” she said of the filming process. “I kept getting scared, ‘Oh my god, if I get COVID, I’m broken. “The 21-day filming of the film ended with two COVID-19 shutdowns, but the exposure was strangely assured:“ It made me understand how to isolate and mask, area and all How do those things work? “
As for the director, the couple never considered embarking on a solo debut. “We are very fortunate because we share the same interests and sensibility,” explains Allyne. “We can always go back to that and let that guide us. If not, I think it’s really possible [have gone] haywire. And a premiere at Sundance marked the couple’s moment of fulfillment. Notaro, who volunteered at the festival in the 1990s, and Allynne first met on the set of indie 2013 In a world…, debuted at the Park City festival. “And now we’re married with kids and a production company,” Notaro said. “There is no world where I would be in a movie without Stephanie.”
This story first appeared in the January 19 issue of The Hollywood Reporter. Click here to subscribe.