Max Barbakow interview: ‘Palm Springs’ director
“It was so nuts how quickly we shot this movie,” confesses Max Barbakow about making “Palm Springs.” He continues in our recent webchat that the time loop comedy “didn’t feel that repetitive, because we had so little time. When we knew we had a take that was good, we’d just try different versions of it. It’s also the mark of something worthwhile when you look at the call sheet in the morning and you are like, ‘oh, we are going to do all this different crazy stuff today. It’s going to be so fun.’ No day felt the same as another because there’s just so much going on in this movie.” Watch the exclusive video above.
Barbakow directed the Neon film now streaming on Hulu. In “Palm Springs,” Andy Samberg plays Nyles, a wedding guest living the same day on repeat. When Sarah (Cristin Milioti) gets stuck in the same time loop the pair develop a connection as they adjust to their circular fate. The director says, “despite wanting to throw everything we ever wanted to see in a movie – from dinosaurs to torture to underwater camera work (all which feature) – it’s about taking a character that doesn’t care about anything who finds purpose in caring through love.”
He developed the film with Andy Siara, who wrote the screenplay. Barbakow was actually at Siara’s Palm Springs wedding while they were developing the film’s concept. On how this may have inspired the idea of being trapped at a wedding, the director reveals, “I was in a string of failed relationships and I was filming his wedding. When he saw his wife in her wedding dress for the first time, it was the three of us. I was filming this incredibly intimate moment. In the back of my mind I was, ‘this is the best day of his life, I hope I get there one day.’ When we went to go make the movie I ended up falling in love and now I’m engaged. I came to understand that side of it. His wedding was great, I was just a cynical bastard at the time. We’ve all been there. Weddings are, whether you’re cynical or not, this mirror where you are forced to look into and reflect where you are in your relationships and life.”
Barbakow reflects, “I fell in love as we went off to go make this movie and now I’m going to be married. It’s been a profound plunge to take. And that commitment is what the movie’s about. I didn’t really understand that part of it when we were writing it. If anything, I understand what the movie on a real personal level is about. Love opens you up and sets you free.”