Jeff Baena wanted to be the Giallo version of Under the Tuscan Sun with a #MeToo twist

Jeff Baena wanted to be the Giallo version of Under the Tuscan Sun with a #MeToo twist ...

Jeff Baena, the writer-director of Spin Me Round, wanted to take a different tack: to dismantle the romanticized nation's fantasy facade, then, well, spinit.Baenas Spin Me Round, which he co-wrote with lead star and frequent collaborator Alison Brie, is a coming-of-age story and part slap in the face of expectation versus reality memes, all wrapped up in a #MeToo mystery.

Amber, a manager at a fast food establishment Tuscan Grove, an Olive Garden insert, gets a corporate retreat to Italy with her peers (played by Molly Shannon, Zach Woods, Tim Heidecker, and Debby Ryan), but Amber only has an eye for franchise founder Nick Martucci (Alessandro Nivola).

Yet Nicks assistant Kat (Aubrey Plaza) appears to be revealing a secret about Nick: Like Tuscan Grove's alfredo sauce, Nicks charm is merely a cheap substitution for the real thing.

After I shot The Little Hours, I read an article in a magazine about an Italian franchise that would send the top managers to Italy to learn about food, wine, and culture, and this one manager just had this terrible experience because there was no organization, according to Baena during a recent interview. They had a demonstration about a bolognese, and they were okay.I think that going to Italy and having this life-changing experience was ultimately subverted with having this shotty experience.

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Spin Me Round wanted to erase a lot of illusions, both real-life ones and those we see in films, according to the I Heart Huckabees writer. Those are the films where the characters anticipate themselves, and ultimately they become more of a giallo.

Brie, the film's co-writer, wrote a 15-page outline for Baena back in 2016 and that resulted in a full-blown script, aided by a production halt during the early months of COVID-19 in 2020. However, the film itself is intentionally set in 2017, with subtle details to link it back to the #MeToo movement via the years news being shown on FaceTimes and text messages.

Baena said that she thought that was important, but I didn't want to hit people over the head with it. I like little, subtle things like that. I wanted to make it like, Hey, check it out. Maybe someone picks it up, and maybe they don't.

Brie explained that the #MeToo elements and the corporate coercion conspiracy plotline were directly linked to previous personal experiences with men. It was just sort of exploring that power dynamic and the moments in my life where Ive felt uncomfortable but couldnt quite pinpoint why I was uncomfortable, and then I felt like it wasnt my place to speak up in the moment, according to IndieWire.

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Brie said talking through those scenarios with Baeana aided in a lot of ways. A lot of them are based on personal observations that have significantly changed my viewpoint over the years.' I'll be like, 'Oh my God, this is a really funny story.'

Amber, a character from Bries, is very passive when it comes to relationships, even friendships. She really embodies some qualities I can see in myself from my twenties, Brie said. She's almost too go-with-the-flow. In this movie, many people are putting their expectations for this trip, for her life, and you get the impression that she's lived her entire existence never asserting herself or making a living plan.

Amber ignores Nick's warnings as she desires to live in the fantasy of an Italian getaway. It's more about my character's honest experience than a conscious goal of telling a #MeToo narrative.

The darker stories that fueled Spin Me Round are quite real, but there's at least one element that's a bit of a put-on: the food.I honestly don't eat fast food, Baena said, except for the occasional visit to In-n-Out. I've never actually been to Olive Garden.

Spin MeRound will be available in theaters, on VOD, and streaming on AMC+ on Friday, August 19.