The Noah Baumbach comedy “While We’re Young” premiered at New York’s Paris Theatre on Monday night with stars Ben Stiller and Amanda Seyfried. The indie, which was picked up by A24 out of Toronto, follows a struggling documentary filmmaker (Stiller) who befriends two younger Brooklyn hipsters (Adam Driver and Seyfried). Naomi Watts, who didn’t attend the premiere, plays Stiller’s wife.
The film shot in New York last year, both in Upstate and throughout Brooklyn (including Williamsburg and Greenpoint). “I hadn’t spent a lot of time in Brooklyn,” Stiller said. “I’m from the Upper West Side. I remember going to Brooklyn as a kid, and the neighborhoods are always very exotic to me and so different.” Stiller said he didn’t absorb much about hipster culture during the shoot. “I feel like it’s all ridiculous the way people are categorizing it,” said Stiller. “People are doing their thing, and you can make fun of it easily. I think the people who are quote-unquote hipsters probably are not all hipsters. They are people who might have a beard.”
“While We’re Young” marks Stiller’s second collaboration with Baumbach after 2010’s “Greenberg.” Baumbach wrote the script with Stiller in mind. “I was very happy to work with him again,” Stiller said. “He writes these really specific roles.”
Added Baumbach: “I wanted to make a comedy about marriage. That was my initial thought going into it.” The director said he doesn’t encourage his actors to improvise. “I work hard on these things,” Baumbach says. “I want them to say the lines.”
Stiller had flown in from Rome, where he’s shooting “Zoolander 2.” “I should be back there,” he said. “I’ve been working on the script for the last 10 years.” He wouldn’t say if the second chapter is funnier than the first. “I will leave that for the audience to judge,” Stiller said. “I’m trying to make it its own thing and different, but also (incorporate) things that people like from the first one.”
“While We’re Young” was introduced by A24’s David Fenkel, and the after-party was held at Lexington Brass. Wes Anderson, who stayed through the film’s end credits and took selfies with fans waiting outside, walked over with Vogue editor Grace Coddington. The “Moonrise Kingdom” director was later seen chatting in a dark corner of the party with another powerful New York filmmaker — Spike Jonze (who said he still hadn’t seen the “Girls” finale, on which he had a cameo as a music executive). Emily Mortimer and Mamie Gummer huddled at the bar. At around 11 p.m., Greta Gerwig gave several women long hugs, and then hovered by the door as she waited for her boyfriend. “I’m trying to get Noah out,” she explained to friends.
But the most unusual exchange came from a man who approached Stiller with an aggressive pitch at the end of the evening. “I’m making a short film,” the man said. “I would like for you to be in it. Rachel Dratch is in it. It would be you and Rachel in three vignettes.” Stiller nodded, and then promptly headed for the exit.