Alison Brie and Dave Franco on their upcoming project “Somebody I Used to Know”


Lily Lowndes

Dave Franco and Alison Brie spoke to The DePaulia about their upcoming rom-com.

Going from horror to romantic comedy might not seem like the likeliest progression for moviemakers, but for Alison Brie and Dave Franco, it made perfect sense.

After working together on the horror movie “The Rental” (2020), which Franco directed and Brie starred in, the couple knew they wanted to work together again and the seed for a project that eventually became “Somebody I Used to Know” was planted.

“It almost felt like the next natural step was like, well, we should just write something together because we know we want to make another thing together that Dave would direct that I would act in,” Brie said in a movie roundtable with The DePaulia.

The idea for “Somebody I Used to Know” was born during the initial two weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns.

Franco said they treated the first two weeks like a “writer’s retreat,” and focused on getting a first draft down while they were at home.

The couple wanted to write something uplifting to contrast the difficult time in the world. As self-described optimistic and light-hearted people, they wanted to infuse their specific sense of humor into the characters of the movie.

“The comedy is coming more from the characters in the situations as opposed to these one-liners or whatnot,” Franco said to The DePaulia.

Ally, the main character played by Brie, is going through what Brie calls “relationship amnesia.” When Ally reconnects with her ex-boyfriend, she forgets all the bad parts of the relationship. Instead of remembering why the relationship ended in the first place, all Ally can focus on is getting back together with her ex.

Ally is a producer on the show “Dessert Island,” or at least she used to be a producer on “Dessert Island,” because it just got canceled. The baking-slash-dating reality TV show was everything Ally worked so hard for, and now the years that she spent on the program are abruptly over.

Dejected and with no plans to fall back on other than “Dessert Island” spinoffs, Ally leaves Los Angeles to visit her mom in Leavenworth, her hometown up in the mountains of Washington state.

While in Leavenworth, she runs into her ex-boyfriend Sean (Jay Ellis). She is unenthused at first, but in less than 24 hours, they quickly fall back into the way things used to be. They even share a kiss before Sean drops Ally back off at her mom’s house.

Emboldened by the night before, Ally goes to Sean’s house to confess her feelings. Instead of the intimate moment she hoped for, she finds herself in the middle of a pre-wedding dinner. Sean is engaged and getting married that weekend to Cassidy (Kiersey Clemons), a younger woman that reminds Ally of the person she used to be.

Who is the real “somebody” in “Somebody I Used to Know?” It might refer to Sean, Ally’s ex. It might be Cassidy, Sean’s fiancé who reminds Ally of herself when she was young. It might even be Ally, who has lost touch with herself amid the hectic life of producing a reality TV show about desserts and couples.

What starts as a rom-com slowly diverges into a journey of self-acceptance. She is still chasing Sean, but being back in her hometown with the people and places she grew up with causes her to question her life path.

Revisiting your old dreams and confronting who you were are central themes of the movie.

“It’s just one of those things, you know, even if it’s not your career, it’s not too late to scratch that itch that these things are inside of you,” Franco said.

Ally is at a pivotal moment that many people go through in their careers and their lives. Brie said the movie centers around this inflection point.

“I’ve arrived now at this moment in my life where it’s ‘has all my life’s work been leading to this, and how do I feel about it,’” Brie said.

As a senior in college, I relate to Ally’s character. I am imagining the different paths I can take after college and weighing the results of each potential decision. How can I stay true to myself and end up in a place where I feel fulfilled?

“One of the messages is about how even if you have gone down a path that you’re not necessarily happy with, it’s not too late to pivot and to kind of get back to the things that make you happy,” Franco said.

This movie is one to watch. It has all of the goofy humor of a standard rom-com, a self-discovery journey, a mini-reunion between Brie and her “Community” castmate Danny Pudi and a third act that keeps you guessing. If you think you know where this movie is going, think again, and then scrap that initial idea and come up with a second guess.

“Somebody I Used to Know” comes out just in time for Valentine’s Day and is available to stream Feb. 10 on Amazon Prime Video.