Sheila (Kaley Cuoco) has a time machine. She’s in love with Gary (Pete Davidson), who has fallen for her over and over again as each night she sparks conversation with him in a bar. He’s the perfect man — almost. Sheila wants more from him, leading her to use the time machine to travel further into the past to help shape the man he is, or can be.
Alongside Cuoco and Davidson in the cast of Meet Cute are Deborah S. Craig, Sierra Fisk, Kirk Kelly, Wesley Holloway, and more. It’s written by Noga Pnueli and directed by Alex Lehmann.
“I love the idea that the audience thinks they are just getting swept away on this romantic date night, but then it goes into places after that. As a filmmaker, I like the idea of hiding the Brussels sprouts in the mashed potatoes,” commented Lehmann who joined us to chat about the film ahead of its release on Peacock on September 21, 2022.
Directing Kaley Cuoco and Pete Davidson
“I didn’t have a full vision of how Gary worked on the page. Casting Pete really unlocked it for me. Because you want to save Pete Davidson, but he keeps you laughing so much that you kind of forget that you want to save him,” explained Lehmann. “That’s the trade-off that I think keeps Sheila so obsessive about him. So that made a ton of sense. And then as far as Kaley, she can do everything, and she can turn on a dime, and her comedic timing… she comes from that Chuck Lorre background where they got more jokes per minute, and even her reactions are humorous. She does all those just down to the microsecond and gets it right every time, which just allows room for more jokes. Then all of a sudden, she gets serious and hits that hard right turn, and you’re like, ‘How does she do that?’ If the question is, ‘Did we luck out with the cast? Did we get the best two people for these roles?’ I think the answer is yes.”
Lehmann continued, explaining that Cuoco and Davidson’s hilarity took place during the filming process as well, and not just on screen. “We were on a really tight shooting schedule, and so it was very inconvenient how much they were making us laugh,” he joked. “It was very funny, and like thank you for the front row seats to the Pete Davidson Kaley Cuoco show… their chemistry was fantastic. They’re just two really driven people who ultimately want to play, and so they worked really hard to set up playgrounds for themselves.”
This certainly translates well as we can see in addition to the hilarity in dialogue was room for improvisation, as Lehmann explained that “the amount of improv that Pete did about movies, he does like five minutes on Jobs, and then another five minutes on the end of Titanic, and you’re just like, ‘This is great.’ We don’t have room for it all in the movie, but it’s hilarious, and then it feels real. Gary feels real because Pete’s not making this guy up, he’s actually Gary.”
It’s Okay for Life to be Messy
Throughout Meet Cute, Cuoco’s character Sheila is essentially trying to change Davidson’s, to shape him into someone she believes will be more desirable, challenging viewers to consider whether that’s truly possible.
“I think that we not only can change but that’s the main purpose of life for us,” explained Lehmann. “We have a certain amount of time where we get to face traumas and maybe disappointments or things about life that haven’t felt quite right, and although we get to have partners, friends, therapists, teachers, and all these people that can guide us, we’re ultimately given the choice, the chance to improve, to change, and face that stuff. I think that’s what Meet Cute does well, is it shows that nobody is going to change you, but if someone really loves you, they will stand by you and all of your imperfections, and patiently support you as you try to change.”
Lehmann continued, “We use the line a couple of times, ‘It’s okay for life to be messy.’ Sometimes, it’s okay for things to be messy. I mean, even our New York City is messy. Like we’re not showing the New York City that you see in those really super polished rom-coms. I love it when somebody watches shows from New York and they’re like, ‘Why is there zero scaffolding and a bunch of trash on the streets? Why didn’t they show up on camera?’ And it’s like yeah, cause we showed you fiction. And it was really important to me that we showed a real version of what New York, a real version of what romance is and what independent struggle is.”
Meet Cute is available on Peacock on September 21.