What inspired you to make this film?
I made a similar film in the UK, called ‘The British in Bed.’ I find relationships absolutely fascinating, the idea that two completely separate individuals could create a relationship.
I haven’t had very many long-term relationships myself, so there was a very personal agenda to find out what really goes on behind the scenes in a relationship, just in case I could get some clues.
How did the American couples differ from the British couples?
One of the major differences between them is that Americans really do believe in the right to happiness and I think that the British, being Northern European, believe in the right to unhappiness. The American belief that there’s an ideal relationship is really wonderful.
Also, the British never talk about themselves, whereas in the States, there’s something about people understanding their own narrative. If you ask a British person a question about themselves, there’s a sense of, “Who, me?” But once they gather themselves together, there’s something quite fresh and raw about what they say. In America, I found that because people have a narrative of their own, you have to dig to get to the honest, unrehearsed truth.
What did you look for in the couples you selected for the film?
I chose couples where I could see two individuals. Some couples are very “couple-y” and you could never “uncouple” them, if you will. I also looked for people who were willing to engage with the concept of the film and really think hard about what their relationship was about.
Why film the couples in their own beds?
The bedroom is the most intimate place in the house, a place not many other people get to see. Think about it: How many of your friends’ or relatives’ bedrooms do you see? It’s the space that belongs to the couple, where conversations happen. People make up, they break up. And if you put people in their bed in their pajamas, they’re slightly more vulnerable and more likely to slip into that place where they can have those conversations with you. I think the nighttime setting is important as well – it’s quiet and the world disappears.