For Kat Dennings, the chaotic events in her new film about Thanksgiving with friends are experiences the beloved comedic actor has steered clear of in past celebrations of the holiday. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of the other major talent involved in the film.
Friendsgiving stars Dennings as Abby, who, a year after the breakup with her girlfriend, is meant to spend a quiet Thanksgiving with her best friend Molly (The Sleepover’s Malin Åkerman) and Molly’s infant son. With both of them still reeling over their respective breakups, the gathering was supposed to give Abby and Molly, a famous actor who’s going through a divorce, a chance to console each other over the heartaches they’ve suffered.
However, when Molly’s new beau of two weeks, Jeff (Jack Donnelly), finds about the dinner, she feels guilty and invites him to the gathering. Things quickly start to spin out of control as Molly’s man-crazy mother Helen (Jane Seymour) unexpectedly pops in from Sweden and invites one of her daughter’s ex-boyfriends, Gunnar (Ryan Hansen), to join them as well. Before too long, what was supposed to be a quiet Thanksgiving turns into a Friendsgiving, as Molly’s friends invite themselves to the feast — creating, effectively, a recipe for disaster.
In an exclusive interview with Looper, Dennings says the special kind of crazy Abby experiences in Friendsgiving will make viewers appreciate what they might have experienced at their own Thanksgiving celebrations. After all, the Thanksgiving holiday has been known from time to time to create an argument (or 20) between family and friends, among other weird happenings.
“Nothing in my life has ever come close to anything that happens in Friendsgiving, but this is kind of why this is such a fun watch for people, especially right now,” Dennings shares with Looper. “I mean, obviously holidays in 2020 are going to be a lot different than we’re used to. So, it’s extra fun to watch the kind of mayhem and normalcy that came with holidays before this.”
While Dennings can breathe a sigh of relief knowing she’s experienced just the normalcy and not the mayhem during Thanksgivings past, it was a trippy experience for her to learn that writer-director Nicole Paone and Åkerman, who also was one of the producers of Friendsgiving, actually did.
“This is loosely based on their real experience — they’re obviously way more fun than I am,” Dennings says, laughing. “They were kind of regaling me with stories in between takes. I was like, ‘Oh, my God, this is real?’ They were like, ‘Um, yeah.'”
Thankfully, recreating the craziness was a lot more fun than Paone and Åkerman actually living it, explains Dennings, whose character is based on Paone. Making the experience even better was the fact that a huge ensemble of talent came along for the Friendsgiving ride — including Aisha Tyler, Wanda Sykes, Christine Taylor, Margaret Cho, Deon Cole, Fortune Feimster, Andrew Santino, Dana DeLorenzo, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine alum Chelsea Peretti.
“It was just so much fun to make. All these actors, these great comedians, were all together in one house,” Dennings, who next stars in the Disney+ MCU series WandaVision, marvels. “Essentially, the film takes place in one location. So, there was an element of reality to making it where we were all crammed together in one place for a month or however long we filmed it, and it was just a really fun time.”
Friendsgiving is now playing in theaters and is new on digital, Blu-ray, and DVD.
Written by Tim Lammers for Looper.