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'Appropriate Behavior' director Desiree Akhavan on how she pulled off a romantic stoned scene -- exclusive clip


Desiree Akhavan, whose film Appropriate Behavior opens this weekend, recently revisited an embarrassing email written in the “worst of [her] 20s.” She had just finished undergrad at Smith College and had gotten a job as a PA on an independent film, but when she got the script she learned it was a “shit version of American Pie.” So she quit with an email explaining why she couldn’t be a part of the project.

Though she now admits to being more ashamed of herself than angry at the filmmakers who wrote her nasty emails in response, she told EW she does, however, have faith in what she wrote in that email. “Oh, it’s so douchey. But it’s true: What’s the point of making an independent film unless you are trying something different?” she said. “There’s no use of using people’s time and money and energy to do something if you’re going to replicate a format that we’ve all seen before. … I really wanted to make something that I hadn’t seen before.”

Though Appropriate Behavior takes place mostly in the Brooklyn of New York Times style section pieces, it isn’t something most viewers are likely to have seen before. The movie follows a heartsick Shirin (Akhavan, who also wrote and directed the film), a bisexual Iranian-American, in the aftermath of a breakup. Throughout the film, Shirin flashes back to memories of better (and also not-so-great) days with her girlfriend Maxine, whose frustration over Shirin’s resistance to come out to her traditional parents contributes to the end of their relationship. Since the film’s premiere at Sundance, Akhavan has been a talent to watch, and she’ll gain greater exposure on Girls this Sunday when she appears as one of Hannah’s fellow MFA students at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Below, watch an exclusive clip from Appropriate Behavior, in which Shirin and Maxine get high, and read our chat with Akhavan below.


Golden Globes: Party Report! Inside scoop from all the after-ceremony festivities

EW is inside all the Golden Globes parties tonight. Check out our reports from inside all the carousing and celebrating. Check back often for updates and follow us on Twitter at #EWglobes.

Lena Dunham's 'Girls' has changed the game -- not just for TV, but for indie film

Of all the things that have addled and irritated the watchers of Lena Dunham’s HBO series Girls (the characters are too white and overprivileged! Lena Dunham spends too much time naked!), of all the things that have made a noisy sliver of them feel that the show is worthy of their “hate,” the late-in-the-game revelation that Dunham’s middle-class lost-girl princess Hannah suffers from OCD seemed all but designed to stoke the hostility of those who dislike Girls but can’t stop watching it. To someone like me, though, who adores the show (I’ll put my passion right out there: In two seasons, I think there has hardly been a false moment on it), when Hannah began to deal with her anxieties by counting, compulsively, to eight, any and every way that she could, even to the point of mutilating her eardrums, I found the twist gripping and scarily authentic — and one of the reasons that I absolutely went with it is that, after the first OCD episode, I began to imagine what a character trait like that one might have looked like in, say, a mediocre Sundance movie devoted to a discombobulated heroine with OCD. And I could just, you know, see those cutely kooky scenes of personal derangement (look, she’s arranging her Tater Tots into a perfect triangle!), the deadpan-disturbed lead performance by Elle Fanning, even the ad campaign (“Love is a compulsion”). And I just thought: What that movie wouldn’t have is what Dunham brought to every twitch and tremor of Hannah’s obsession — an anti-kooky concentration and troubled fever, a sense of how the OCD is literally, physically torturing Hannah, but how it’s also her way of hanging on to an identity, of giving herself one, as her assorted other roles in life (girlfriend of Adam, transgressive e-novelist) fall away, with nothing to replace them. To a desperately exacting degree, she became The Girl Who Counts To Eight. And, more important, she took us with her. READ FULL STORY

'Boom' goes the Irishman: Chris O'Dowd exorcises his inner 'douche' through new film, talks 'Girls' season 2

Chris O’Dowd, whom fans came to know as the good-hearted galoot in Bridesmaids, has had a busy year indeed. Between memorable roles in Friends With Kids and Girls, the Irishman has been prepping for a newly picked-up HBO pilot created by Christopher Guest and just last month recently married British TV presenter Dawn Porter.

If you believe the preternaturally wry O’Dowd, Porter is likely grateful that he changed things up to play a less redeemable character in his latest film 3, 2, 1… Frankie Go Boom (available OnDemand today). “I’ve been playing so many nice guys that I was about to boil over inside,” he says drily. Frankie is named after the younger brother (Charlie Hunnam) that O’Dowd ‘s recovering addict Bruce bullies. “I definitely wanted to channel the more douche side of myself, as I think we all should sometimes,” says O’Dowd. “It manifests itself in your own life, so I have to [occasionally] let the air vent open a little bit to become a good person again.” READ FULL STORY

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