Topics covered include: The script as a spell to perform, sneaking around your parents house, career ending movie ideas, the inaugural podcast compliment break, work and savoring as the only true constants, riding the Spook-A-Rama under the influence at Coney Island, the G word, so many boring people, finding equilibrium after a film, Jane’s favorite now defunct Epcot ride that featured Bill Nye and Ellen Degeneres, listening to Elliot Smith on set of I Saw the TV Glow, being a Weird Little Creature, Brig’s advice on how to always prioritize play, becoming a punk singer, and taking time to heal.

Episode Transcript

Jane Schoenbrun: Hi, this is Jane Schoenbrun.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: And I'm Brigette Lundy-Paine.

Jane Schoenbrun: And we are about to record the A24

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Podcast.

Jane Schoenbrun: All right Brig, first question.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah.

Jane Schoenbrun: You gonna vote?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I'm voting.

Jane Schoenbrun: You are?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I've been trained to vote. They want us to vote, but should I vote?

Jane Schoenbrun: Should you vote?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Do I want to vote?

Jane Schoenbrun: Do you believe in America?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah, America's very real. America's like Dunkin Donuts. Dunkin Donuts I haven't been to in a while because I threw up one of the sandwiches.

Jane Schoenbrun: Didn't taste as good on the other way?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: It came out almost whole.

Jane Schoenbrun: What kind of sandwich are you talking about here?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: It was a sausage patty with egg.

Jane Schoenbrun: Croissant, on a croissant?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Oh, I fucking think so, yeah. When's the last time you threw up?

Jane Schoenbrun: I hardly ever throw up. I don't remember the last time I threw up. It would've probably been after drinking a lot in my early twenties. I remember one time throwing up after an early twenties birthday party that was at the international bar on First Avenue and St. Mark's, and then I took the commuter rail home to my parents' house, which I was living at, and I just puked my brains out in that basement toilet.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Oh, puking in a basement is a special horror. Do you miss living in a bedroom with your parents in the other room?

Jane Schoenbrun: Do I miss sleeping in a bed with both my parents?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah.

Jane Schoenbrun: I did that until 25.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Wait, do you miss sleeping in a crib?

Jane Schoenbrun: I do miss a crib. I do miss sleeping in a crib. Yeah, honestly, yes. I feel like this is a movie about how I miss sleeping in a crib. Do I miss sleeping in my parents' home though? No, no, I don't. I used to leave my bedroom, sneak downstairs and play Bright Eyes songs on the guitar in the basement and sometimes I would go outside and smoke pot.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah, we smoke pot.

Jane Schoenbrun: Don't know if you kids have heard about this stuff. All right, we're going to transition now into the, that was sort of like the ice breaking section.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah, that was us just hanging out.

Jane Schoenbrun: Of the podcast. That was just an in medias res snippet of what it's like to hang.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yay. Sound effect of a crowd going, “Yay."

Jane Schoenbrun: Yay. You wanted to pitch fake movies.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I wanted to pitch real movies we want to make.

Jane Schoenbrun: Real movies that we're going to make. I wanted to talk about maybe the etymology, an oral history of our friendship.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah, that's a lot sweeter. And maybe someone wants to make a movie about our friendship.

Jane Schoenbrun: Well, let's get one fake movie at least out there. What do you got for me?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: So it's 10 guys and they all play basketball. One of them is a Christian, the rest are frogs. And the Christian doesn't know that the other ones are frogs, but he has this inkling that one day he'd like to sit on a lily pad. That's just off the top of my head.

Jane Schoenbrun: Do you want to hear about– I have a whole portfolio of career-ending movie ideas, obviously.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Of course.

Jane Schoenbrun: I think I'd really like to make an Apatow style comedy.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: That's awesome to hear actually.

Jane Schoenbrun: Yeah.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Because I feel like you should make a comedy.

Jane Schoenbrun: Yeah, no, I would love to make a comedy. I want to make a stoner comedy for reals and I feel like I'm always trying to think of a movie concept worthy of Conner O'Malley. I've got a couple good ones, but here's one, let me pull it out of the archive, school shooting comedy, active shooter drills, you know what I'm talking about?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah.

Jane Schoenbrun: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We didn't really have these when I was in school.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: We had those, stand under the red dot.

Jane Schoenbrun: Pre-Columbine over here.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah, but ours was like pre-Parkland, so it wasn't as serious.

Jane Schoenbrun: Yeah. Basically our main character is the guy in the local PD who plans the active shooter drills in school and the movie kind of opens with him doing one and it's this whole set piece and you think it's a real school shooting until you realize that it's just an active shooter drill. And then he goes back to his chief's office with his partner who's in love with him, and they're sitting there and the chief, real chief kind of character kind of shakes his head and he's like, "Fellas, we got to talk about the active shooter drills." And they're like, "Oh, what is it, Chief?" There's like a long pause and the chief goes, "They're not fucking scary enough." And so then basically he's trying to plan the most hardcore possible active shooter drill.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah, that's going to be really hard to pitch.

Jane Schoenbrun: I'm pitching it right now.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I'd make it. You want to drop your email?

Jane Schoenbrun: Yeah, my email is BLPFan6969.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: BartonFinkLover.

Jane Schoenbrun: We were talking Barton Fink before. I've never seen Forrest Gump. I've been meaning to watch Forrest Gump. Have you ever seen it?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah.

Jane Schoenbrun: Should I watch it?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: No.

Jane Schoenbrun: No?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I don't think you need to watch Forrest Gump.

Jane Schoenbrun: I feel like a movie like that I got to watch.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I don't know. I don't feel that way about movies.

Jane Schoenbrun: You don't think that way?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Like you got to watch a movie.

Jane Schoenbrun: But I pride myself, as I'm sure you can tell, on my cultural–

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I can tell. And I feel like you not knowing Forrest Gump is even cooler.

Jane Schoenbrun: You think that's cool?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Because when it comes out of your mouth, "I've never seen Forrest Gump," it's like I am placing that in the context of everything you have seen and I go, "Holy shit."

Jane Schoenbrun: Let's do a compliment break, Brig.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Do you feel like I'm being mean?

Jane Schoenbrun: No, no, no.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I didn't mean to say that you–

Jane Schoenbrun: I just wanted to express my love for you.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Oh, okay. I want to express my love for you too.

Jane Schoenbrun: Yeah, no, this had nothing to do with meanness. I just thought a compliment break would be an exciting new spin on the podcast.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: We're always trying to do an exciting spin on press, because this shit is so weird, you guys have to understand, it's so crazy. But if you're listening to this, we love you and we love each other.

Jane Schoenbrun: If you've made it this far, we love you.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: If you haven't closed out the podcast to send an immediate email to try to buy the school shooter comedy.

Jane Schoenbrun: Yeah. Why am I getting a bounce bag from Some guy has that email, but it's for bacon, lettuce, potato. Compliment break.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Compliment break.

Jane Schoenbrun: I really admire you because I didn't expect to meet Hollywood actors who were such strange truthful creatures and I really haven't met that many, but you're a real one. And you live your life with integrity and have deep care for the work that you do, but also an innate and eternal sense of play. And you are a really good friend. I think I've really grown over the last year to admire a good friend. I try to be a good friend because I think especially, I have to come out, I'm queer.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Oh God.

Jane Schoenbrun: When family, biological family isn't the primary sort of structure or relationship that you've built in your life, you really have to make a choice to supplement that with something that's like this thing, this term I'm working on, chosen family. And I think that's a really important part of keeping your heart big. And I learned a lot about that from you.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I love you so much, Jane.

Jane Schoenbrun: Ilysm you.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I mean, I don't know if I can express truly how much I admire you. I am-

Jane Schoenbrun: Well, you better because it's compliment break.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah. And we only really have this moment always to tell our friends how much we love them.

Jane Schoenbrun: That's true.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: First of all, the world that you live in is so expansive. It is beyond anything that scientists have understood about the universe.

Jane Schoenbrun: Yeah, that's true.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: And to be around you is to get to time travel and space travel and play in so many different worlds and universes. And you have an ability to be very responsible to your friends in going where they want to go and taking them to new places, like a very gentle leadership. And I feel like you are never judgmental of where people's universes haven't traveled to yet and you can always take people's hands and show them where they can go. And that's a really, really rare quality in a person. And I've definitely…my world has been so expanded by you. And not to mention you're cool as hell.

Jane Schoenbrun: Hell yeah.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Really cool. But your coolness feels really personal to you. You know what you like really deeply so it's always exciting to hear you talk about the way that you love people and media and culture and even food. I don't know, I love sharing meals with you.

Jane Schoenbrun: I love food honestly.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: You love food.

Jane Schoenbrun: For a while I was like, "All there is in this world is work and savoring." We do our work and we get to choose, to a certain degree, we get to choose what work we do. And I mean work in an expansive term, we can do work in all facets of our life. But when you're not working, what are you savoring? And for me, that's mostly chicken tikka masala.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yummy.

Jane Schoenbrun: Yummy. All right, so we met in 2021.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I think so.

Jane Schoenbrun: February/March on Zoom. You recommended Paper Girls to me. I sent you my script. What did we talk about?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: People have asked me this, I don't remember. I think a lot of it was we talked about, we just were shooting books and movies at each other. We could have been just going [inaudible].

Jane Schoenbrun: Were you excited to meet me?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah, of course.

Jane Schoenbrun: I was really excited to meet you.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I was so excited to meet you because, I mean, I'd already seen your movie and read your script, but I also just really trusted Sam and they had talked so highly of you and I remember it just being a really cathartic conversation because we were both in a similar place of being like-

Jane Schoenbrun: Gender?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Gender? What do we do? But we weren't worried, we were excited.

Jane Schoenbrun: Gender.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Gender.

Jane Schoenbrun: It was still like COVID winter and you were in…Lisbon.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Lisbon doing a movie with Gabriel Abrantes.

Jane Schoenbrun: Amelia's…Children

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Amelia's Children.

Jane Schoenbrun. And I was so excited to meet you because I was a big fan, big fan.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Why?

Jane Schoenbrun: I'd seen you on Instagram. Well, I was a big fan because I think I knew of you casually and then Sam was like, "Brig is the coolest," and then I deep dove and I watched. I've done it a few times now where I fast-forward through the TV show and just watched the person I'm interested in watching scene’s. And then I watched Bill and Ted's Save the World Movie or whatever. And then I watched you as Keanu on some talk shows. And then I dove into the YouTube compilation BLP vids. And it's like, I think one of my biggest fears as a filmmaker is to just cast someone boring, which is so easy to do. There's so many boring people out there, and you are so much not boring. You were such a bright energy in everything, personality and really queer and cool. And so I was like, "Oh my God, I'm so excited to meet this person."

I don't think I was like, "And I need to cast them in the movie” but then after the call I was like, "I need to cast them in the movie."

Because I also don't really remember what we talked about, but I do remember that maybe we talked about a mutual desire to be exploring what we were going through with the G word on screen. I need to get to know the person before I can get excited about them playing the character. And I think I was immediately kind of in love with you as a person.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah, same. The reason I ask, I'm curious, what did you see me in? Because I kind of, first of all, forget that I've done anything because a lot of it has been spaced out, and it's funny to be like an actor and stuff because you forget that you've done it because it was two months long and you sort of lend your body, and sometimes you're disassociating because playing a woman and then-

Jane Schoenbrun: Yeah, this has happened to me.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: -you're living your life and it's a year and you've never gotten a role. Because sometimes people really love boring people is what I've found, is because it's really easy and safe and like–

Jane Schoenbrun: No, and I think a lot of people are boring people, and so they want to see boring people.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: And shout out boring people. Shout out people who are maybe really comfortable and don't have to be freaky online, or I don't know what it is that makes someone quote-unquote-

Jane Schoenbrun: Normal

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Normal?

Jane Schoenbrun: Normal.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: But I have always felt like…I don't know.

Jane Schoenbrun: Well, the crazy thing that I realized recently is– and then I want to get back to how you've always felt– but the crazy thing that I've recently realized is that when there's a movie and there's the guy and the girl and they're straight and they kiss at the end of the movie, even if it's Transformers or whatever, straight people are like, "Yeah, do it!" Because they relate to it. They're like, "Oh, the normal beautiful people are kissing. That makes me excited." When I see the weird people kiss, I get excited.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Same.

Jane Schoenbrun: But it's crazy. I don't know. Anyway, what have you always felt like?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I've always felt, I guess normal.

Jane Schoenbrun: You've always felt normal?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I've always felt kind of normal, which is funny.

Jane Schoenbrun: Yeah. When you're weird, that to you is normal.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Because I've always just done... I think I've only really recently realized how much I've been looking around to see what people are doing and trying to do it and then being like, "I think I've got a pretty good handle on this."

Jane Schoenbrun: Oh, you've been trying to be normal.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Or trying to... Yeah. A lot of the work that I've done. Subtle Pride for instance, was a band that none of us played any instruments except Mina, shout out to Mina, who performed songs that were completely improvised with no instruments because we wanted to and thought we were a real band. And Waif is a magazine that wants to be and thinks it is a proper fashion magazine. And that's where the absurdism comes from. It's like by trying to replicate these forms of normalcy and actually being so deeply weird, you end up getting something even weirder.

Jane Schoenbrun: I love that. Yeah I was thinking to go back to fake movie ideas, I was like... My friend Angel texted me last night and said, "We need a..." Angel was watching Scream 2, and Angel was like, "We need a they/them serial killer." And I was like, "What would that look like?" And then I was like, "It'd be a movie called Pronouns.” It would be like an office. You know? An office setting. And every day in the office somebody fucks up someone else's pronouns and there's just a big pregnant pause after it happens. And then inevitably that person ends up dead the next day.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Wait, is it the same person whose pronouns get fucked up every day?

Jane Schoenbrun: No, it's different.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: It's different people.

Jane Schoenbrun: Yeah.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: They all use they/them? Or it's like, someone gets misgender and their-

Jane Schoenbrun: I think there's just maybe three or four trans people in the office, and so the pronouns are getting messed up… it's good, right? This is a good idea? And I was like, the way to do this is cast queer people like you as the straight people in the office.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah, I would love to play a straight person.

Jane Schoenbrun: And have everyone be so straight. But in the way that you're talking about, I think. Straight almost as drag, and then the killer is just the worst cliche of... the killer is maybe a straight person doing an exaggerated portrayal of what cis people think an annoying trans person who's at you getting their pronouns wrong are. I did a radio interview yesterday with a woman who started talking about how some people in her office get a little too touchy about pronouns. So I think that was the partial inspiration for this. I said, "I think you're really siding there with the oppressor, not the oppressed, because it's interesting whose perspective you enter there, right? It's the person who's offended at being called out on something versus the person who has to live their life as a trans person in an office with you."

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Did she like that?

Jane Schoenbrun: She said, "Well, this is a podcast called The Business, so let's talk about business."

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Incredible.

Jane Schoenbrun: And we talked about business. So you and I did some business together. We made a movie.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: We made a movie.

Jane Schoenbrun: What's up with that? So then we met in person, you, me and Sammy.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Me, Sam and Jane met and had a picnic at Greenwood Cemetery, and we decided then and there we were going to make the movie. Well, maybe you'd already decided.

Jane Schoenbrun: I had already decided.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I had already decided. And Sam had already decided.

Jane Schoenbrun: We all knew.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: So we all knew.

Jane Schoenbrun: It was like for me, when you're a trans girl who's also a lesbian, you just think you're a sensitive straight boy until you don't. I think all trans people, I don't want to say all trans people... I think a lot of trans people experience a specific thing in early-ish transition when they start to find trans community, a queer community. It was really nice because some folks were experiencing this I think for the first time on set, and I could see them having this experience. And I've just seen a lot of people have this experience over the year, which I had, I think with you and Sammy, which is first trans friends in IRL.

I emerged from the pandemic, but it was not just like, "Oh my God, we're all in this sort of fledglingly optimistic space of exploring the possibilities of queerness." It was also like, "And we're going to make this fucking movie." Which double, double made it. That summer was pretty blissful.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah. Well, it felt like we were doing magic. We had the script that was a spell that we had to do everything in our power to perform right and give it the full respect that it deserved.

Jane Schoenbrun: Thank you.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: And I think we did a good job. I think that a lot of people worked really hard and-

Jane Schoenbrun: This is true.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: -put their whole bussy in.

Jane Schoenbrun: We went to Coney Island.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: We went to Coney Island.

Jane Schoenbrun: Spook-A-Rama, you want to talk about that?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah. So we went to Coney Island, me, Sam and Jane, and I think we did shrooms and we ate a bunch of candy.

Jane Schoenbrun: We did shrooms and sat in the shark tank at the aquarium for a while.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah, and everything was awesome until we were sitting by the beach and smoking weed.

Jane Schoenbrun: Oh yeah, the weed kicked it up a notch.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I don't remember if Spook-A-Rama was before or after, maybe after. But we rode Spook-A-Rama, and Jane Schoenbrun and Sam sat together in a double seat because Spook-A-Rama-

Jane Schoenbrun: Spook-A-Rama being the-

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Being the very old ride at Coney Island where you-

Jane Schoenbrun: The rickety haunted house.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah. You go through this spooky dark hallway and it's like wood cutouts and statues of werewolves and stuff, and they shoot air at you, so it feels like you're being-

Jane Schoenbrun: (pah)

Brigette Lundy-Paine: -yeah, right in your eye. And Jane and Sam had a great time.

Jane Schoenbrun: You saw your own death.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah, we saw the photos afterwards and I'm fully covering my face with a grimace of hell. And we went and got Russian food that night and I was so high I couldn't even speak, or I wasn't making any sense.

Jane Schoenbrun: I saw a new side of you then that I was like, "Oh, this is exciting for the movie for me actually."

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Actually, I thought that you guys were both like, "Well, friendship's over."

Jane Schoenbrun: Oh my God, no.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: And so I went home that night and freaked out and then woke up the next morning, tried to do yoga to stretch, and then before I knew it, I was like, seizuring on the ground.

Jane Schoenbrun: You had a seizure?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah, I had a seizure, but in the moment I thought-

Jane Schoenbrun: Had you ever had a seizure before?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I've never had a seizure before. So in the moment I thought I was possessed on Spook-a-Rama.

Jane Schoenbrun: You thought some ghoul from Spook-a-Rama got inside you.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah. Oh my God. I didn't tell you this, but I went back with Mina and Avsha and I rode Spook-a-Rama again. And I took a photo and I took it for you. And I can't believe I haven't given it to you yet.

Jane Schoenbrun: Wow.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I still have it in my house, but I rode the ride so triumphantly the woman who gave me the photo laughed.

Jane Schoenbrun: Yeah. Everyone-

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Because it's me smiling directly at the camera.

Jane Schoenbrun: You're like, "I can do it. I can face my Spook-a-Rama fear." That's what this movie's about. This movie's about getting back on Spook-a-Rama.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Do you want to say anything about the movie? Some people might not have seen it.

Jane Schoenbrun: Yeah. What do you think we should say about it? Did you like it?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I love it. I've seen it five times.

Jane Schoenbrun: I've seen it more.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I bet you have. You were cutting and pasting.

Jane Schoenbrun: Well, I remember showing it to you. I mean-

Brigette Lundy-Paine: We wrapped in August. Jane showed it to me in September on an iPad.

Jane Schoenbrun: Big, big mistake.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Do you think so?

Jane Schoenbrun: I regret... I think one mistake that I made with this movie is showing too many early versions of it to too many people. Because it robbed me of something, I think, and I didn't quite realize, which is like, it's really fun to show people the movie when it's done and the thing you're proud of. I was just so proud of you. I was just like, I think you were just were such an emotional and creative collaborator on this from the beginning. And so I was just like, "First cut Brig has to see." And you had done such intense work.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah, no, I was really glad that you showed it to me. I'll never forget that. We have these pictures of us before and after and before all perked up. Afterwards, I've taken my shirt off or slumped down on the couch. I think we might've smoked during it.

Jane Schoenbrun: We sat on the couch and at some point in the movie, you just lifted your shirt over your head and sat there shirtless, just kind of clutching yourself for the second half of the movie. But I remember I thought you had kind of an intense experience watching it?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I did yeah, but I don't regret that experience. I'm really glad that I have those raw images from the first watch. And then Sam showed it to me again, I don't know, six months later. So I got to see it twice before I saw the-

Jane Schoenbrun: Before it was like-

Brigette Lundy-Paine: -final version, before in the editing bay.

Jane Schoenbrun: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I remember that time.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah.

Jane Schoenbrun: How do you feel about your experience on set and making the movie? What changed for you about making things?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I had a really positive experience making it, just because I got to be fully involved in the character. I lived in the attic of this guy's house in Montclair, New Jersey. I lived in a tiny room. I brought my record player. I was cosplaying Maddie. I ate ramen noodles a lot. And then I got to go to set and do these poetic pieces with Justice and everybody who was there, it was just such a crazy cool set to be on because everybody was trans and silly. And my first friend in New York, or one of my first friends, Josh Condor Gibbs was the board op on the movie randomly.

Jane Schoenbrun: Oh yeah. I forgot about that.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: And Sam Intili, we were best friends, so I got to be with them.

Jane Schoenbrun: Best friends?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah. A little too close.

Jane Schoenbrun: Did you guys fall in love on the movie?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah, we fell in love on the movie.

Jane Schoenbrun: You fell in love on the movie?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah. And yeah, I just got to be super moody. I would go to the railroad track every weekend and just sit there and listen to Elliott Smith and feel. That's the best thing.

Jane Schoenbrun: Do you feel like emo kid, Maddie, Elliott Smith, teen angst character. How much was that a costume you were putting on and how much was that a natural space for you to enter as Bridge?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I would say as natural as my body and flesh.

Jane Schoenbrun: So, unnatural.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: So I wish I could get it off of me.

Jane Schoenbrun: So an affront to God and Christ.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: So help me please.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah. I mean, what about you? What did it feel like and did it feel like a natural process?

Jane Schoenbrun: What was making the movie like and did it feel like a natural process? Well, I really like chilling and when you make a movie, your brain has to be going so fast for so long and I can do that actually. My brain knows how to do that. But afterwards, it needed a lot of slowing down and a lot of chilling to get back to a state that I think my post-transition life where I actually have tasted healthy, equilibrium, satisfied, full existence. I think I'm just constantly deviating from that equilibrium to try to do cool, ambitious things and then finding my way back to it to recover. And so I think making the movie was just a huge jump off the path that was planned and it was so amazing and every day was just jam-packed with just beautiful stuff. And it’s just also kind of painful to go through something so overwhelming.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Do you think you have to upset your equilibrium that way to make great work?

Jane Schoenbrun: No, but a movie, yes. Because when you're making a movie on set as the filmmaker, you're not just being a creative kid in your room. I could be a creative kid in my room and not upset my equilibrium. But there's a managerial part of making a movie and it's kind of all that it is once you get to set, which is like I have this giant machine working for me to try to realize this thing and I need to make sure it's doing that in the right way. And it's just way more... The number of decisions that you're making on any given day as the filmmaker, it's way more decisions than I want to be making.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Decisions suck.

Jane Schoenbrun: I like decisions and they're important to realizing the movie because there's so much in every moment to decide and I want to be actively a part of that.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Do a lot of those decisions happen on set?

Jane Schoenbrun: For sure. Yeah. I mean there are a million discrete decisions and so many of them happen before too. But it's also, there are so many people also working in making decisions and everyone kind of wants your input on each decision. And sometimes someone's like, "You like these mittens?" And you're like, "Yeah, I fucking love those mittens. Go put those mittens on." Sometimes it's more about I think giving the sense of leadership or something, but a lot of it is about having leadership and it's just intense and it's these long days you wake up at 7:00 AM and maybe you get 20 minutes in your weird Airbnb and then just like you're on for 15, 16 hours and it's performative. Directing is incredibly performative, even while the thing you're performing is in service of something, hopefully that's very personal and earnest. So I don't know, making the movie was also completely wonderful. I feel like I didn't see you that much actually when we were making the movie.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: We had such different experiences making it.

Jane Schoenbrun: You were falling in love. I was falling in hate. Just kidding. I was falling in love in my own way.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah, I mean you were directing a movie and I was acting in a movie. People don't understand how-

Jane Schoenbrun: Different realities.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I was going to say how little work acting is, but that's not true. Because it's emotional work and a lot of it comes afterwards. I think I've been living with this anticipation for the last two years- even at the wrap party, I was like, "And people are going to see this movie."

Jane Schoenbrun: Even today, I'm like-

Brigette Lundy-Paine: You put your raw skin in there and people look at it and sometimes they poke it and scratch it and it hurts.

Jane Schoenbrun: It hurts, yeah.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: But you just got to let it go because-

Jane Schoenbrun: Do the haters get to you?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I don't know. I haven't experienced a ton of haters. Somebody said that I looked like a really nice young man. That was nice.

Jane Schoenbrun: That's not a hater. That's good.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I'm just remembering a nice thing.

Jane Schoenbrun: That's what you want to hear. The best hater was one of my favorite little set stories was Emma Portner smoking a cigarette and they’re– Emma played all of the monsters in the film– and there's a scene where they're playing a clown, evil clown monster, and they were full clown wig, clown makeup, jester outfit, smoking a cigarette with Sepi off by the edge of the high school where there's this little road that the people in the suburban town we were shooting in can cut through to go from one street to another. And so this car drives by and there was this tension of just like, "What's that weirdo queer movie happening in our town? In our normal town?" And so the car slows down, the window rolls down, it's just like a dude in a trucker hat and he just looks right out the window at Emma Portner in the clown costume and goes, "Weirdo." I loved that.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I think that's a compliment.

Jane Schoenbrun: I think that's a compliment too. The movie was such a mountain I think for all of us, me, you and Sam, that being in the cemetery abstractly talking about this thing that we were going to get to do and then actually doing it, crazy.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah, and now actually having done it and we get to do something else.

Jane Schoenbrun: I know. We're free.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah. What do you want to do?

Jane Schoenbrun: I do kind of want to go to Epcot. I want to go to Epcot, but they don't have the ride that I love anymore.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: What ride do you love?

Jane Schoenbrun: There was this ride when I was a kid that was like. Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye the Science Guy had a ride about dinosaurs. I know. Every new thing gets better. Basically you sat in a theater in your ride, in your car, Spook-O-Rama style, and you watch a short film. We're talking cinema and the plot of the film is that... I think it was that Ellen- this is pre-talk show Ellen. This is sitcom era Ellen-

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I want to talk about Ellen.

Jane Schoenbrun: I would cast Ellen.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: We should talk about Ellen after this.

Jane Schoenbrun: How many people are there where you just say Ellen and you know who you're talking about?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: And I have some insider information about her name that I'll tell you in a second.

Jane Schoenbrun: Oh wow. I mean, I want to hear it now.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: So I met a woman the other day at the Waif table on the Lower East Side named Irena, seventy-year-old Russian woman who told us that Kathy Acker and Ellen DeGeneres had been collaborating on a play in the eighties in New York. This is unconfirmed information. And that at the time Ellen was called Helen.

Jane Schoenbrun: Huge.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Helen DeGeneres. She dropped the H.

Jane Schoenbrun: I mean if she ever decides to transition late in life, she could drop the E and the first L and be Len.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Len DeGeneres.

Jane Schoenbrun: Len DeGeneres. So Len DeGeneres, the plot is that she/they are... they have a nightmare about their old high school rival, I think was the plot. And in the dream, their rival, I think, knows more about dinosaurs than them. Common anxiety.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Len's rival?

Jane Schoenbrun: Yeah. So they have this dream where, the dream is that they're on Jeopardy and they know, that's right, so Alex Trebek also features in this ride. And then they kind of conjure Bill Nye the Science Guy in their dream to teach them about dinosaurs. And then Bill Nye is like, "Well, come on." And then the ride starts moving and you leave the theater and you go through this sort of, It's a Small World Spook-A-Rama style, pre-built thing where you see dinosaurs and you also see animatronic Ellen and Bill Nyes.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: More than one?

Jane Schoenbrun: Yeah, I think so. I think so. Because they're joining you on this adventure to look at all the different dinosaurs and they're kind of pointing. They're like, "Look at that dinosaur."

Brigette Lundy-Paine: And this ride no longer exists?

Jane Schoenbrun: I don't think this ride exists, but I bet there's a YouTube ride through of it that you could find.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah, but that's a real bummer. I mean, what did they do with the pieces? Where are the animatronic?

Jane Schoenbrun: No. What am I going to do now that the movie is done? Well, this summer I really want to heal because the press tour has been... I'm sure you could tell, humble listeners at home-

Brigette Lundy-Paine: One hell of a ride.

Jane Schoenbrun: One heck of a ride. I want to think about other stuff that doesn't have to do with me and my movie. I want to read a lot. I want to cook dinner for my friends. I want to see my loved ones. I want to remember why being alive can be interesting basically. I feel like I gave the first six months of this year to being a public figure and I'm glad I did it, but I'm ready to not do that for a little while. Just be a weird little creature. Go to some swimming holes, watch some movies, and then I want to make more stuff. I think my dream is to figure out a way... Because making a movie, as we said is really hard, takes a lot of energy, but it feels still like... it's like, "Oh, a good day's work. I just got in a good day's work. I'm doing really cool things."

The part that doesn't feel that way is the needing to negotiate with a bunch of cis people to get the ability to make the movie and navigating Hollywood and agencies and all this stuff is like that takes it out of you because it's dysphoric. And I think my dream is to figure out a way to have that stuff be minimized, have a little bit of a structure that I'm working within and not reinventing the wheel each time I do it. Because if I have that, I get to just... I just want to make a bunch of stuff and live a long time. Maybe the nicest thing that anyone has ever said to me or it really meant a lot, my friend Ava, who was on set with us shadowing me and just did a lot of care work while we were making the movie, pulled cards for me one morning, read my tarot when we were making the film and came to set and was like, "Jane, I just want you to know..." I'd been talking to Ava about all these school shooter movies that I want to make and just telling them all these different ideas I had and ambitions. And they pulled my cards and they were like, "The cards said that you're going to get to make and tell every story you want to and you're going to have more than enough time." And the idea of having more than enough time really meant a lot to me because I think there is this scarcity mindset you can get in as a trans person of like, "Oh my God, I need to be living this all right now to the biggest fullest potential." And I think I've been thinking just a lot about how it would be cool to have a long and healthy life, and make a lot of things that I'm proud of in that long and healthy life, and have a lot of love and different experiences, and grow old. I think that would be awesome. How about you?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I can't wait to be old.

Jane Schoenbrun: You're going to be good at being old.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah. I really want to make The Jalapeno Popper. I'm going to write this movie with Alex McVicker, my good friend, and make a really extravagant musical. And I want to finish October Crow.

Jane Schoenbrun: What's October Crow?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: It's almost done. October Crow is a film that I made with, it stars Alex McVicker, Peter Nolan-Smith, who's an iconic poet and professor of nothingness who's 72. And my mom, Laura Lundy, she plays La Bruja, the villain. And it's sort of a story about friendship in New York and the BDSM brothel. And yeah, it's pretty weird.

Jane Schoenbrun: You made it.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah, I made it. Yeah. We would come to set every day. I filmed it on my phone. We had two lav mics and we would just improvise the scenes and I said, "We just had two requirements. It has to be long enough and we have to win the Palme d'Or. And if we don't win the Palme d'Or, we have to start a film festival called the Kansas Film Festival, and we'll award the Pommy Dorfman presented by Tommy Dorfman." So I want to do that, but I also just want to make movies. I think I want to act in movies. I feel ready to do that. I want to act in some normal movies. So if you have a script about a guy who, he's an artist, and set in New York.

Jane Schoenbrun: I actually had, there's this book that I like that I've always thought that I would love to direct an adaptation of that you would star in as a normal guy.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah.

Jane Schoenbrun: And it's this book, you ever read this book, Stoner?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: No.

Jane Schoenbrun: Oh, you should pick it up.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Cool.

Jane Schoenbrun: Pick it up.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I'll pick it up.

Jane Schoenbrun: See if it resonates.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah. Yeah. I just want to do a kind of Cassavetes, Peter Falk sort of like mumble movie.

Jane Schoenbrun: Yeah.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I want to do a friend movie and I really want to play a detective, and I just want to get comfortable in myself. I think I want to let go of the anxiety of being looked at because that's a stupid hindrance. And I love myself and I love the community that I have found myself so lucky to be a part of. And I want us all to be really comfortable and free documenting and celebrating each other and putting our work out.

Jane Schoenbrun: Do you have any advice for people who…you have this preternatural ability to prioritize play in big ways as an adult. For instance, making a weird movie on your cell phone that no one asked you to do, but I feel that this sense of play and commitment to seeing it through is a very rare thing. Where does it come from and how can people cultivate it for themselves?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: So it comes from the fact that I was raised in an artistic family. So my parents are both performers and theater people and artists. So I was raised with them making work all the time. And they had jobs that they did during the day called day jobs. And then at night they would go to rehearsals and on weekends and such. So there was just a culture of making at home. And I think the way that you can cultivate that for yourself is you have to let go of all the structures of power and money that inhibit your own artistic impulses because a lot of things you don't need money for. Most of the software that I use to make stuff is free. I use Pages. We use Pages to make Waif, which is a free software on Mac. I used iMovie to cut October Crow and it worked very well.

And anytime I need a tool, like a tool that you would use in Photoshop, you just google, “How to blur the edges on a picture,” and they’re a zillion free websites for everything. So I would just say in your free time, just start trying to make work that, as I said before, work that feels like normal. Try to do things that feel like the way that your heroes are making work. And you might surprise yourself. It might be a natural impulse for you. And if it's not, and if you find that maybe your natural impulses are more specifically in another area, find other people and learn to trust them and collaborate with each other because trust is the number one thing.

Jane Schoenbrun: You think so?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I think so, yeah.

Jane Schoenbrun: Do you feel like you need other people kind of egging you on to get these things going? Or is it all sort of an internal need that gets realized?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: It's internal, but it's also like, most of my friendships are structured around this work, so it's like, “Let's hang out. Well, I guess if we're hanging out, we might as well be working on the score.”

Jane Schoenbrun: Totally. Yeah. I think, I remember when I started hanging out with you, Mina, and Sammy, it was like art play dates. That's a cool thing. Low stakes art. I struggle with it increasingly now that I am doing art as quote, unquote career.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah.

Jane Schoenbrun: It's really important, I think, because sometimes it's like you get so polluted by thinking big.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Which is why it's important to try, like always be trying new mediums, which shout out Jane, who became a punk singer.

Jane Schoenbrun: Yeah, let's talk about it. I mean, that was one of the craziest nights of my life, honestly. I've talked a bit about my screen trilogy. World's Fair, I Saw the TV Glow and the third part of the screen trilogy, it's this massive universe that I created. It's called Public Access Afterworld. And I just wrote, no one asked me to, but I wrote 600 pages of a screenplay that was meant to be the first two seasons of a three season TV show.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: So awesome.

Jane Schoenbrun: And plotted out, just beat by beat, plotted out every element of it in this whole mythology and universe and all these characters and the ways they would change. And the third season I never wrote, but I know it. It's all in there, in the gullet. And I was like, “I'm so terrified of television.” And I basically told my managers, like let's pitch this but tell everyone that I will only do it if I get a green light to make at least one full season of it out of the gate. And even then I was like, “We got to hold onto the rights,” because I can't let this thing loose. It's too important.

And so I pitched it and a bunch of the networks were like, “It skews a little young for us.” But there was this– yeah it “Skew's a little young,” – there was this person at HBO who really loved it, but I think couldn't pick it up because at the time there was a strict edict that they could only pick up new shows that were like Succession, about dysfunctional families.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: What?

Jane Schoenbrun: And I found out they were the last domino to fall in terms of the, are you going to pay me the 100 mill or whatever to help me make this fantasy epic. And I found out right as I was on my way to the punk studio that night, which I forget how it came about. Maybe we had just talked about wanting to write a song together.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah.

Jane Schoenbrun: And we didn't really write a song together. Brig rented us a practice space. And yeah, I had never really, like I used to play Bright Eye songs in my basement, like I said, but I have a lot of shame about music and singing is very dysphoric for me. But Brig took me into the studio that night and...

Brigette Lundy-Paine: First we just did a bunch of screaming.

Jane Schoenbrun: Yeah.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: A bunch of yelling and running around in this tiny soundproof room. And then, yeah, I banged on the drums while you just freestyled.

Jane Schoenbrun: Yeah.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: We took turns banging on the drums while the other freestyled.

Jane Schoenbrun: It was really freeing because I think it was a recommitment to this idea that I really do think about artistic mediums, which is you have to risk and embrace embarrassment if you're going to get anywhere truthful. And yeah, just getting outside of myself, like I can get outside of myself when I'm alone in my room writing. But getting outside myself with my body, this was new for me and really, really meant a lot to me. It was also the night you told me you were in love with Sammy, and then I forget if I got the HBO call about them not wanting to do the show before or after we played the music.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: I think it might've been after.

Jane Schoenbrun: I think it might've been after. And I was like, that just happened. I need to go get a tattoo.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah.

Jane Schoenbrun: I had never gotten a tattoo before. I was like, I need my first tattoo. And there's like in Public Access Afterworld, there’s sort of like a repeated refrain, a tagline if you will, is like “Make it real.” In the first sort of section of it, this character or TV screen, is just repeating over and over again, “Find the receiver, make it real, find the receiver, make it real, find the receiver, make it real,” and then screams at the top of her lungs. And I was like, "Brig, I need to get my first tattoo. It needs to say ‘make it real’” and it's like a promise to myself to make this thing that all the TV networks said skewed too young, real in some form.

And I had thought through what I would do and I had sort of committed emotionally to myself that I was going to. Even though I'd never written anything that could be construed as a novel before, I was like, all right, I'm going to write this thing as a series of three novels and I'm going to teach myself how to do that. And I basically spent the next year and a half doing that. And that night I was like, I need to go get a tattoo so I know that it's on my skin. I'll actually see this thing through. I won't let this thing die on the vine without making it real. And you were very sweet. You went with me to the tattoo parlor and you wrote make it real.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah. I gave you lots of examples-

Jane Schoenbrun: You did.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: of how it could be. Could have been a spooky font.

Jane Schoenbrun: And then you held my hand while it got tattooed on me. Thanks.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Now it's on your arm.

Jane Schoenbrun: Yeah, my first tattoo.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: And you made it real.

Jane Schoenbrun: And I did write the novel. I'm really quite proud of it actually. And I don't know, that was really special. I think it was like, it's rare that you have a night where you're like, wow, this is an era turning point or something. That whole night was really-

Brigette Lundy-Paine: It was storming.

Jane Schoenbrun: Yeah.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah.

Jane Schoenbrun: I think it's cool to resolve yourself, is maybe what we were talking about. It's cool to personally resolve yourself towards a thing that you've decided that you need to do.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah.

Jane Schoenbrun: And I think that you and I both do that maybe.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah.

Jane Schoenbrun: Where like we're going to do the weird, crazy thing that seems insane.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah. No other way. I've tried the other ways. I've auditioned for a lot of stuff and only weirdos want me.

Jane Schoenbrun: Only weirdos want me.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah.

Jane Schoenbrun: You think so?

Brigette Lundy-Paine: Yeah. I'm blessed.

Jane Schoenbrun: But you just seem normal to me. Everyone else seems weird.

Brigette Lundy-Paine: You too.