‘Pen15’ Star Maya Erskine Discusses “Significant” Role as Romantic Lead in ‘Plus One’

The romantic comedy from producer Ben Stiller and filmmakers Jeff Chan and Andrew Rhymer made its world premiere at Tribeca Film Festival April 28.

Men and women of a certain age — late 20s, early 30s, to be exact — know firsthand the bliss and stress that wedding season can bring in equal measure. With their feature film directorial and writing debut, filmmakers Jeff Chan and Andrew Rhymer decided to tackle just that, mining their own experiences of being the groomsman and never the groom.

“We wrote this during a time when all of our friends seemingly got engaged at the same time,” Chan explained at the film’s Sunday evening world premiere as part of the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. “There was this typhoon of engagement announcements and wedding invitations, and we were like, ‘What the hell is going on? Are we being left behind? Do we need to get married, too?’ That sort of was the kickoff point.”

The film follows Alice (Maya Erskine) and Ben (Jack Quaid), longtime friends who decide to be one another’s dedicated “plus ones” for a marathon of 10 weddings. And while the expectation going in might be for the film to follow the “will-they-won’t-they” roadmap before it, Erskine said that she especially relished the opportunity to subvert the expected romantic comedy clichés.

“I had always wanted to be in a romantic comedy, but what’s great about this film is it’s not formulaic. It doesn’t feel like your sort of basic romantic comedy that you know what’s coming,” Erskine said. “There was such a grounded reality to this film and a depth to the characters that made it really exciting and appealing for me to be involved with.”

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