ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke to The Drop stars Anna Konkle and Jermaine Fowler about their hilarious Hulu comedy, which is now streaming. The duo spoke about the energy on set of the improv-heavy movie, people dropping babies on their head, and much more.
“Lex (Anna Konkle) and Mani (Jermaine Fowler) are a happily married young couple, running their dream artisanal bakery in Los Angeles and excited about starting a family together. A trip to a tropical island resort for a friend’s destination wedding, coinciding with Lex’s ovulation cycle, feels like the perfect opportunity to conceive,” says the synopsis. “But good vibes and high hopes are cut short when, shortly after their arrival to paradise, Lex accidentally drops her friend’s baby in front of all their friends. Paradise becomes purgatory for our couple as recriminations, passive-aggression, and old wounds begin to permeate the island reunion and throw Mani and Lex’s future into deep uncertainty.”
Anna, when you were first told about this movie being a comedy that revolves around your character dropping a baby, what was your reaction? Because it’s completely absurd and it’s dark, but it’s exactly why it works out so great.
Anna Konkle: I think it was refreshing, for the most part. Most scripts, at least that I get, are talking about something that you’ve seen talked about a million times before. So this was fun because it was something you’re kind of told not to talk about. I was also three months postpartum, grappling with motherhood, and it was fun seeing a script that was R-rated around motherhood — and funny.
Jermaine, you have such a great cast of characters to work with. Everybody has a comedy background. Can you speak to the experience on set and the ability for you to play off each other? Because I feel like that energy really shows in the final product.
Jermaine Fowler: Yeah, I would say in a huge ensemble with a bunch of comedians, it can be easy where everyone can lose track and try to be funnier than the other person. I don’t know. I feel like I’ve been in projects where everyone’s trying to be funnier than everybody and it gets sloppy and disjointed. But I think in this film, everyone knew what their purpose was and how to service the movie. I’d have to thank the director for honing us in. We rehearsed and did everything that she wanted us to do and we would keep doing the scene until she felt it was right. I would say that at the end of the day, as funny as it is there was a story to be told and she helped us focus on that and getting each scene directed toward that point.
Anna, you directed a few episodes of PEN15. Has that experience helped inform your acting?
Anna: Yeah, I think so. I mean, especially the editing of PEN, which I didn’t realize going into it. I remember after doing the first season, it was like, “No, no, no. Showrunning, you’re going to finish editing everything.” Not as the editor, but in the room with the editor. And that was a scary, humbling experience. But it also, as an actor, helped me … what you were saying so well. This is about the story and telling the story and making sure the writing and the beats come across, which took pressure off of the acting. Editing’s great do your best and make sure the story’s being told and don’t make it about you as much. I think as an actor, it’s really easy. How can you not? You’re your art form. And it’s like, “Do I look okay? Did I act well enough? Are they going to like me? Are they not going to like me?” And so having to do that in [a] storytelling way kind of took the pressure off of acting.
Jermaine, you kind of alluded to this, and obviously, not everybody’s going to drop a baby—
Anna: A lot of people do! It’s not that uncommon. That’s also what I — sorry, I fully interrupted.
Jermaine: No, no, this is perfect.
Anna: But that’s also what I like about it! Because you have those side conversations and so many parents have like, “I dropped the baby!” None of us are perfect. It’s not perfect. It can be real and funny.
Jermaine: I think if you’re the first person to drop the baby, it’s good. It just kind of breaks the ice for parents, you know? Am I wrong? I’m like, “Hey, we’re going to make a mistake.” So if you drop it …
Anna: Mistakes happen.
Jermaine: Mistakes happen, you know? I’ve never dropped my baby, but I’ve thrown into things above it. Like I’ve accidentally thrown my baby up into something.
Anna: A tree.
Jermaine: Yeah, a tree. A branch. A bird.
Anna: You do your best!
Couples are going to go through these challenges where they have to figure out where they ultimately stand. So there’s a very emotional core that’s relatable to this story. Can you speak to that?
Jermaine: Yeah, I would say that’s the thing that brings everything in. They’re still a couple who’s going through a crisis at the end of the day. There’s a character who’s never dealt with his emotions properly, and so he’s going through something. I’ve grown up around a lot of people who’ve bottled everything in. So I guess I was channeling a little bit of that in the Mani character and I felt like that’s what grounds the comedy. There are no real jokes in the movie. It’s just all situational. It’s very awkward. Those are my favorite sort of comedies, the ones that are honest, you know?
Anna, you have some great interactions with Elisha Henig, who is this hilarious anti-masturbation advocate. He stole just about every scene he was in. How is it working with him? It seems like he has a bright future.
Anna: Oh yeah. He’s so talented. Really funny to work with on many levels. The scene, the picture that you have upright now, that scene was really hard to get through.
Jermaine: A gecko or a lizard or something fell on top of his head in one of his takes, and I don’t know if we kept it or not …
Anna: He didn’t notice it, also.
Jermaine: Yeah. It just kind of fell on his face and he freaked out and no one saw it except for him. He looked crazy.
Jermaine, your character’s really trying to hold it together. How cathartic was it when you finally do have that freak-out session and let go of that steam?
Anna: That’s a good question. I want to know.
Jermaine: It still didn’t feel good. It still felt like … I was still angry. I was still frustrated. Nothing was solved. I just released everything that was building up, you know? There was no resolve. I’m still figuring it out within the confines of the story. I didn’t know where to go after that, you know? Mani’s good at heart, so to even release that the way he did … it definitely affected him. He didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but he had to say something, you know?
Anna: He had to destroy the cake.
Jermaine: Yeah. The cake had to get fucked up. It was tough. That cake was —
Anna: You’re very strong. You know, we’ve established that.
Jermaine: It was a lot of sugar.
Anna: It was a lot of sugar. Fondant. Fondit? Fondit. Fondant. It should be called fondant.
Jermaine: I don’t know what that means.
Anna: Fondant is like that hard, rubbery —
Jermaine: The film?! The fucking rubber?
Jermaine: I wasn’t a fan of that. That was real? That was real food?
Anna: That was real.
Jermaine: That was nasty, it felt like plastic.
Anna: They were testing you.