A comedy about learning how to be single—and have a hell of a time—in a world filled with ever-evolving definitions of love
How to Be Single is an all-out comedy that shows how they’re all out there making the most of the single lifestyle, in the most outrageous ways imaginable.
The film’s director, Christian Ditter, states, “I wanted to make a really modern and fresh take on the comedy genre as it deals with partying, having fun, dating—a snapshot of what it really means to be single today. A lot of movies that deal with men and women and dating are about finding the right one, but this is not that; it’s about embracing the most fun and free time of life while you’re also finding your place in the world, finding friends, finding out what you want to do with your life.”
Christian Ditter (Love, Rosie,The Crocodiles) directed the comedy from a screenplay by Abby Kohn & Marc Silverstein (The Vow, He’s Just Not That Into You) and Dana Fox (Couples Retreat, What Happens in Vegas), screen story by Kohn & Silverstein, based on the book by Liz Tucillo (TV’s “Sex & the City,” He’s Just Not That Into You).
There’s a right way to be single, a wrong way to be single, and then…there’s Alice. And Robin. Lucy. Meg. Tom. Ken. David. Josh. George.
New York City is full of fun seekers seeking the right match, be it a love connection, a hook-up, or something in the middle.
And somewhere between the late night date nights, teasing texts and one-night stands, what these unmarrieds all have in common is the need to learn how to be single—and have a hell of a time—in a world filled with ever-evolving definitions of love.
Sleeping around in the city that never sleeps has never been so much fun.
Single in New York City? Or London, L.A., Munich, Miami, or anywhere in between?
These days, in cities big and small, there’s a nightlife rife with girls’ nights out, singles’ bars, online dating and one-night stands arranged on apps—no romance required.
Today’s singles aren’t necessarily looking for Ms. or Mr. Right, or drowning their sorrows in their lonely bachelor/ette pads.
Led by an ensemble cast that includes some of today’s hottest comedic actresses, including Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Alison Brie and Leslie Mann, and such rising comedy stars as Damon Wayans Jr., Anders Holm, Nicholas Braun, Jake Lacy, Jason Mantzoukas and Colin Jost, the film follows a host of singles at various stages of—and with varying opinions on—the single state.
How to Be Single takes us along with Alice as she ventures into a new job, a new city—New York—a newly unattached life, and all that goes along with it. Dakota Johnson, who plays the fresh-faced Alice, says, “I loved how believable the story was—we’ve all been that person who is stumbling through, trying to figure things out.”
Fox, who worked with Johnson previously, was happy to see the actress go back to a comedic role after several more dramatic parts. “Dakota is just naturally talented, especially when it comes to comedy, both physical and verbal,” she states. “As a writer, it’s such a pleasure for me to work with her again, because nothing comes out feeling ‘written.’”
Producer John Rickard notes, “It’s a universal experience, being young, right out of college and discovering a whole big world. Or a few years later, hitting another one of those crossroads: what do I care about, what do I want to spend my life doing, does another person even figure into the picture? We often think it’s a partner we have to find, but it’s really ourselves, and that can be scary.”
Happily, what’s scary in real life can make us laugh the hardest when it’s played out on film.
Screenwriter/producer Dana Fox, a comedy veteran, offers, “Romantic comedies are always centered on the romance, but this is a comedy about the time in between the relationships, when you’re out there to have a good time in this crazy age of staring at your cell phone, having entire conversations in 140 characters or less and ‘swiping right’ to meet people. There are so many advantages to a film with so many funny stories to tell.
“In any movie,” she continues, “you want audiences to feel like they’re along on the journey. We have Dakota Johnson’s character, Alice, to provide the heart and soul of the story, and we have all these other great women and men to follow along and laugh with.”
Or laugh at. Returning to her comedy roots, Johnson deftly handles Alice’s fumbling attempts to meet men upon finding herself newly single, especially when paired with Rebel Wilson’s extreme party girl, Robin, the perfect tour guide through the world of free drinks, hook-ups and text message protocol. Alison Brie’s Lucy is a girl on an online dating mission, and Leslie Mann’s Meg has been on the career track and sort of forgotten to have a personal life. Along with the guys they all meet along the way, they exemplify the wide range of what it’s like out there.
Ditter says, “I loved the script, I thought it was hilariously funny but also true to life, and it continued to evolve once we got on set with Dana and all these amazing comedic talents and their incredible improv skills. So what we ended up with in the film are characters and stories I see a lot of my own experiences in, and friends’ experiences, too. I think that anyone who’s been single—and that’s, well, everybody—will have a lot of fun and find a lot to laugh about when they relate it to their own life.”
Another guy to take one of the gals by surprise is George, played by Jason Mantzoukas, and his casting turned out to be something of a surprise to both the actor and the filmmakers as well. Ditter explains, “We were having a writers’ roundtable, talking about the script and pitching jokes, adding something here and something there. Jason was invited to join because he’s also a writer, and every joke he pitched was so funny. He also didn’t just say the jokes, he acted them out. After the roundtable session, we all looked at each other and said, ‘Hey, this guy just played the part, let’s hire him.’” The filmmakers contacted Mantzoukas and asked him to join the cast and do everything he’d just done, only this time on camera. The actor quickly agreed.
Once on set, Mantzoukas recalls, “There was a great script, with lots of jokes, so we did takes that were straight from that. Then we’d come up with other beats or alternative jokes, and do takes that were totally improvised. We also did takes with alternative jokes that Dana Fox had written for the scenes, so we could try going off in different directions. It was such a terrific creative experience for all of us.”
“We were very lucky that all the actors we had were very good on their feet and could riff off each other,” says Ditter, “which allowed for a lot of experimentation. I think that by having our very talented ensemble contribute creatively, we got the fresh, contemporary feel we were going for.”