I Used to Go Here works as a coming-of-age story, a college comedy, and a self-reflective character piece. While the cast and crew deserve credit for how well the film pulls off this hat trick, writer/director Kris Rey is the glue holding this project together. With her latest film, Rey continues to prove her expertise in characterization and intentionally awkward comedy, and how magic can be made when those two elements are perfectly mixed together.
I recently talked with Rey about I Used to Go Here and the film’s stacked cast of talented performers, as well as her opinion on the film’s central theme of “faking it until you make it”.
Addison Wylie: How did your experience making I Used to Go Here compare to your previous filmmaking endeavours?
Kris Rey: I had a great experience making this film! We really did feel like a family, and I had a little more experience under my belt, so I felt a little more confident. It was also the biggest budget that I worked with so far even though it’s still a really small budget.
My first two features that I made in 2009 and 2012 were much, much, much smaller. Both of those movies were under $10,000, I cast my friends in them, and there was a lot of improvisation. So, those were very different films but I’m also really proud of those movies and love them both. I’ve made a lot of different stuff over the years, but this was a really, really great experience.
AW: I Used to Go Here offers very authentic representations of people “faking it until they make it”. Why do you think we’re compelled to “fake it until we make it”? Is it a tactic used to build confidence in ourselves, or is it mostly to assert our ego onto others? Do you think it’s a healthy choice to motivate ourselves towards success?
KR: I think “faking it until you make it” is something you just have to do sometimes right. I think there are a couple of things going on: there’s the actuality of you sometimes not having the experience that maybe you would want in order to tackle something new, but then there’s this other whole thing which is Imposter Syndrome which I think everyone experiences.
I think women tend to experience it more because we don’t tend to have the role models of women who have come before us who have achieved the same things. And so, we’re overtaken – and certainly, this is not everyone, but happens to me – by this insecurity that maybe we can’t do it, and maybe we’ve been mistakenly hired and trusted to do something that we’re not truly able to do, and I think if we were open with everyone about this insecurity, they would lose confidence in us.
Sometimes you have to inhabit it a little bit in order to get through it. And then you find, through the process, that you are qualified and you can do it and you are doing it. I have that experience constantly in my own career and in my own personal life. But, I also think you can go too far and I’m very careful to admit when I truly don’t know something or don’t understand something; especially on a film set. I never pretend to know what I’m talking about when I don’t. I ask a lot of questions. I’m learning, and I think that’s how I’m getting better at my job.
AW: Nostalgia is another topic your film delves in to, as the story chronicles a character’s experience revisiting her old college stomping ground. Do you think, if given the choice, are we more inclined to relive the past than to face a new future?
KR: Our brains are wired for nostalgia. Everyday before we go to bed, we’re anxious about what’s coming next and we’re also going over what’s already happened and thinking how I could have done that better. It’s a very romantic idea to go back and be able to have the opportunity to relive something either because you wish you could change what happened, or because it was so wonderful you wish you could do it again. I think we’re all sort of set up that way.
AW: You have a knack for finding humour in awkward situations. Do you find it fairly easy prospecting for funny moments during confrontational discomfort?
KR: I do often rely in real life on humour, yes, in awkward situations. I am a person that will say, “this is awkward!” but I think we find most of our humour in actual life through awkwardness and uncomfortable situations. Rarely are you just going through your day telling jokes to people and listening to jokes. It’s mostly you finding humour in real life situations and things that have gone wrong. So, that’s the kind of humour that I like to bring into my movies.
AW: I Used to Go Here features a sensational cast. What was your favourite part about working with these individuals?
KR: They were just all cool as hell. Everyone was so down for anything, everyone was so nice, everybody got along – it was a dream, really! There was not one member of the cast that was a negative force. Everyone was giving their all to the movie, and everybody had great performances. It’s really as perfect as you can get.
AW: What do you hope will be the main take away for at-home movie goers who watch I Used to Go Here?
KR: I hope people are able to escape a little bit. I think, right now, it’s really nice to watch something that is funny and isn’t the same show or movie that you have been watching over and over again throughout the pandemic. I think it’s really nice to have something new.
I think what has really been interesting about the timing of the release is that the movie begins with someone who has lost a lot, and who had plans that didn’t pan out, and expectations that were not met, and literally a book tour that was cancelled. I had no idea that it was going to be released at a time when literally every single person has had something cancelled – a vacation, a wedding, a funeral they couldn’t go to, a graduation, a prom. Everyone has had something that has been dashed. And when that happens, trying to find out what that means about me, who I am, and how I can move forward is really relevant right now.
I Used to Go Here is now available on VOD and Digital HD.
Read Addison Wylie’s review of I Used to Go Here here!
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie