‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’ Movie: Meet the Comedian Behind Alice

After completing the short version of “Shiva Baby” in 2018, Rachel Sennott went for a walk around the neighborhood where she made the project with screenwriter, director and friend Emma Seligman.

“We were so inspired and we thought, ‘We’re going to do all of this,'” Sennott recalled – including a feature film adaptation of the short.

Reality quickly hit as they ‘dragged in the mud’ for two years unleash functionalitygiving Sennott a crash course in independent cinema.

“It taught me that sometimes it’s a very slow-burning thing,” she says. “And you really have to push your baby forward, because no one else will.”

This lesson led Sennott to his standout role in “Bodies Bodies Bodies” by A24 in which she stars alongside Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Myha’la Herrold, Pete Davidson and Chase Sui Wonders as part of a group of friends whose night of partying at a mansion during a hurricane gets worse when someone one ends up dying.

Sennott’s character, Alice, is a beacon of energy on the lookout for the latest TikTok trends and challenges, often whipping out her phone to lead others into a dance. Sennott’s performance leans into both the attractive and the morally suspect aspects of Gen Z’s Influence Chaser, including the hypocrisy of acknowledging social issues without implementing changes or even acknowledging her privilege in daily life – at one point crying that she is an “ally”. Its attention to the intricacies of a young adult who sincerely clings to love in friendships and romantic relationships underscores the comedic flair of the satirical film. Combined with his timing and the delivery of Alice’s often unexpected one-liners, the actor stands out in an already remarkable cast.

Sennott’s success in the role comes from deep experience. Growing up around local theatre, she performed from an early age, both formally – she did “Annie” three times – and informally – including short plays and “little music videos strange” that she produced with her siblings. Although she doesn’t have a very realistic sense of life in showbiz (“I was like, ‘You wake up, you put on a dress, you go to the red carpet, the day is over,'” says -her), the creative impetus brought her to New York University to study acting. Unfortunately, the school’s “classic, dramatic” bent was limited to Sennott: “I felt like it was a kind of program where comedy didn’t necessarily belong. »

Sennott decided to chart his own course instead.

A man and two women in a scene from "Baby Shiva."

Fred Melamed, Rachel Sennott, center, and Polly Draper in a scene from “Shiva Baby.”

(Utopia)

“I’ve done pretty much every student film project,” she says. “If they needed someone for a drink of water, I was there. And I was skipping acting class to do all the film student stuff because I wanted to be in front of the camera.

She also found herself embroiled in stand-up comedy through a “cute encounter” with a classmate worthy of a modern comedy.

“He came up to me in the dining room and said, ‘You’re kinda cute,'” Sennott recalled. “He basically insulted me and then told me he was doing open mics. So obviously I was obsessed.

She started attending with him and “got hooked”, especially after her first time on stage.

“You tell everyone, ‘It’s my first time doing stand-up,’ so everyone gives you a little wiggle room,” she says. “They laugh, and it’s like a drug. And then you do it again, and you’re bad. So you have to keep going until you come back to how you felt the first time.

Sennott then joined another stand-up Ayo Edebiri (“The Bear”) in Comedy Central’s short-lived web series “Ayo and Rachel Are Single,” which followed the two’s love lives and, like many minds, expanded on social media during the COVID-19 pandemic. 19 – all experiences that have paid off with “Corps Corps Corps”.

Sennott first read the film’s script, written by Sarah DeLappe from a story by Kristen Roupenian, during the pandemic shutdowns and immediately knew she had to get the part. She says she “begged for an audition” and pledged to call him back repeating to the point that she worried her neighbors, who saw her through the window with a knife in her hand.

“When you want something that bad, you don’t want to mess it up,” she says. “You want to have control over everything you can.”

Four women, the one on the right wearing a luminous necklace, stand together in

Amandla Stenberg, left, Maria Bakalova, Chase Sui Wonders and Rachel Sennott in “Bodies Bodies Bodies.”

(SXSW Film Festival)

When Sennott learned she had landed the role, after the Los Angeles premiere of “Shiva Baby,” she initially thought her manager’s constant calls were a sign she had done something wrong. “Every time someone calls me on the phone, I’m like, ‘I’m in trouble’.”

This only created further angst, as she planned to arrive on set as prepared as she had for her audition. (She came to the table reading “shots,” she said. “‘I’m off the book.'”) Her nerves calmed when she realized she could rely on her theatrical instincts in this which “looked like a play”, filled with units of scenery (a mansion and its park) and time (a night). Sennott recalls Stenberg pointing to classic tropes in a story loaded with Gen Z specificity“In the end, everything is like Chekhov, everything is like Greek theater,” she says. “It all comes down to that.”

The nature of the film required the actors to rehearse intensely and familiarize themselves with the dialogue, which has the fast pace of a comedy of manners. (The pacing also meant that the props team had to swap Alice’s neon bracelets and necklaces at least five times a day — even when the camera was rolling on another actor — to keep their glow alive.) But although Sennott’s character be the comic relief, she says Alice is more than that.

“People are like, ‘Oh, she’s boring,'” Sennott says, comparing Alice to Lydia Bennet from “Pride and Prejudice,” who “just wants to flirt.” “I love her and I think she tries her best. There’s something so fun about playing a character where, at the end of the day, all she wants is for everyone had a good time.

It was director Halina Reijn, dismissing Sennott from reading her lines as a conniving joke, who helped her connect with the devilish tone.

“We shot the scene where I’m in the kitchen defending Greg [played by Lee Pace] and she was like, ‘Everything you say is your last chance to defend his life, to defend his honor,’” Sennott says. “It completely changed everything for me.” It inspired the reading of perhaps his funniest line, “It’s a Libra moon” – an utterly serious defense of a man accused of murder.

For Sennott, the breakout role in “Bodies Bodies Bodies” is just the start of a string of upcoming projects, including “Bottoms,” which she co-wrote with Seligman and is set to star in. alongside Edebiri, and “The Idol”, by “Euphoria’s” Sam Levinson, with The Weeknd, Lily-Rose Depp and Troye Sivan.

She also hopes to add an achievement credit to her resume one day. Being part of a movie’s whole journey is what drew her to projects like “Shiva Baby.” While she may have a better understanding of the work that goes into a movie than she did when she was younger, she hasn’t lost touch with the wonder of those red carpet daydreams.

“I think making a movie is a magical, scary thing,” she says, “where everyone comes in and you write a movie, you shoot another movie, you edit another movie, and you hope the last thing is good.”

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