AfterEllen: William Sullivan on his lesbian-inclusive improvised rom-com “That’s Not Us”



That’s Not Us is a different movie experience. This romantic comedy that follows three couples (one lesbian, one gay and one straight) over the course of a weekend getaway is completely improvised.

Your eyes will be glued to long-term girlfriends Alex (Sarah Wharton) and Jackie (Nicole Pursell), who are struggling with lesbian bed death, but handle it–shockingly–like adults.

We spoke with writer/director William Sullivan ahead of the movie’s world premiere. The acting in That’s Not Us is improvised. Have you ever worked on a project like this? Why did you decide to go this route with the movie?

William Sullivan: I had never done an improvised film before. I wanted to do something that was going to scare me a little bit. And this idea of going into a shoot with only an outline and letting the actors improv dialogue led to this very intangible realness to the words that were coming through.

When you watch it, you can’t put your finger on why it feels so natural, but it’s because these actors are so in the moment and have no idea what they’re going to say next. I think it lends itself to the way that couples find themselves acting when they’re alone together, which would be hard to script.

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