A Never-Ending Day in Palm Springs

What could be so bad—especially right now—about spending the day in warm, sunny Palm Springs? Well… maybe being stuck in a bizarre time loop and forced to live that same day over and over, with no escape. And to make matters worse, that endless 24 hours also happens to include your perfect sister’s Palm Springs wedding that you’re dreading attending. This is the scenario that reluctant maid of honour Sarah, played brilliantly by Cristin Milioti (Black Mirror, The Wolf of Wall Street, Fargo), faces alongside carefree guest, Nyles, a hilarious Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, SNL), in director Max Barbakow’s critically acclaimed Hulu romantic comedy, Palm Springs, available to Canadians on Amazon Prime Friday, December 18. Laugh out loud funny, charming and, unintentionally apropos, the whole premise of Palm Springs is about its main characters making the best of being trapped within the same scenario, unable to escape the place, the people, and most importantly, themselves. Considering the time of year and our current circumstances, where we could all use a little laughter and lightness in our seemingly fishbowl lives, this movie could not have come at a better time.

Amazon Prime Video

You’ve played a wide range of characters, what drew you to playing Sarah in Palm Springs?

I was immediately drawn to how deeply human she is. Sarah struck me as someone so desperate to escape herself, and so angry at the world, and I was very excited to explore that. I think that’s something that we’ve all experienced at some point, it’s universal. She also gets to go through an enormous range of emotions and experiences — she gets to be joyful, she gets to be rageful, she gets to be ashamed, she gets to be a looney toon — the character experiences so many things, and I was thrilled to be able to dive into each and every one of them.

This is a really funny movie, especially in a montage scene where you and Andy Samberg go totally wild. What was the best part about filming this movie? Did you ever have to stop because you were laughing too much?

Shooting the montage was as much of a blast to film as it looks. We had such a ball. And yes, there were many, many times on this shoot when we could not stop laughing. Which, to answer your other question, was definitely one of the best parts of making it.

Amazon Prime Video

Palm Springs is the perfect mix of weird, hilarious and hopeful. I feel like it’s a romantic/anti-romantic comedy.

I’m so glad you feel that way! I’ve actually always thought of it as more of an existential comedy than a romantic comedy, even though I know there is a love story at the centre of it. I guess I’m wary of the expectations people have when they hear ‘romantic comedy’, and to your point, I love how the film totally subverts that.

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Do you have a favourite romantic comedy?

Does the first few seasons of The Office count? I was deeply invested in Jim and Pam. That’s what came to mind. Also, I pretty much always watch Notting Hill if I stumble upon it on TV.

Was it strange to shoot a whole movie in basically the same location, clothing and sets, over and over again?

Weirdly, no. Sometimes it got a bit confusing, but I kept very detailed notes and we were all really collaborative with each other and checked in a lot about what was happening, and where in the timeline, so it didn’t feel too strange. It actually was great to revisit the same moments over and over again in slightly different ways.

Amazon Prime Video

The pandemic has, ironically, kind of become the whole world’s Palm Springs scenario. What have you been doing to keep yourself busy day after day?

I’m extremely lucky that all of my loved ones have been okay. At the beginning of the pandemic I took a lot of long, socially distanced, masked walks with my friends and my dog, I read a lot of books, and weirdly promoted this film on Zoom. And now I’ve been shooting for the past six weeks so I’ve been very busy in this pandemic strangely enough. I’ve also binged an ungodly amount of television.

What’s in store for you next?

I’m about to wrap filming on a series called Made For Love which will be out sometime in the near future. It’s been such a pleasure to film, and the cast is amazing [including Ray Romano]. I’ll also be releasing some music [soon] which is very exciting/terrifying. Other than that, probably some more socially distanced, masked walks?
Palm Springs makes its Canadian debut on Amazon Prime, Friday, December 18th.