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Jay Ellis Talks New Romcom ‘Somebody I Used To Know’ | EUR Video Exclusive

JAY ELLIS
CULVER CITY, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 01: (L-R) Alison Brie, Kiersey Clemons and Jay Ellis attend the Los Angeles Premiere of Prime Video’s “Somebody I Used To Know” at Culver Theater on February 01, 2023, in Culver City, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

*We caught up with Jay Ellis (Insecure, Top Gun: Maverick) to unpack his latest romantic comedy film “Somebody I Used to Know,” which will surely leave you thinking about past relationships and old lovers. 

Directed by Dave Franco, the film centers on Alison Brie (Community, GLOW) and an ensemble cast including Kiersey Clemons (Dope, Sweetheart), Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense, Pay It Forward), Danny Pudi (Community, Knights of Badassdom) and Julie Hagerty (Freddy Got Fingered, Airplane!). 

Per the official synopsis, Workaholic TV producer Ally (Brie) faces a major professional setback which sends her running to the comforts of her hometown. She spends a whirlwind evening reminiscing with her first love Sean (Ellis) and starts to question everything about the person she’s become. Things only get more confusing when she discovers Sean is getting married to Cassidy (Clemons) whose confidence and creative convictions remind Ally of who she used to be. 

“Somebody I Used To Know” is an unconventional love story about three people who unexpectedly help each other rediscover who they really are, where they came from, and where they’re going.

READ MORE: Jay Ellis Says He Would Sign On for ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Sequel

When it comes to matters of love and finding closure on past relationships, we asked Mr. Ellis what does this film have to say about the ones that got away?

“I think what’s really interesting is, the ones that got away question I think is such a good one because this film, in particular, uses the “one that got away” to really dive into and take a journey into self,” he said in our exclusive interview. “And that is both with Alison Brie’s character Ally and with my character Sean. That one that got away theme or thought experiment, if you will, is really used for both of these characters in this film to work through their own thing and their own dysfunction and to realize how you’re romanticizing something, but the reality is there’s something that you need to work through in order to be the best version of you,” Ellis continued. “And to me, I think that’s the thing that I really walk away with from this. And that doesn’t mean that the one that got away can’t be the one.

He added, “But I think we go through journeys for a reason. And sometimes the one that got away, you needed to go through all that other stuff to realize that they were “the one” and sometimes the one that got away comes back into your life. And then you go through that journey to ultimately realize that they’re not the one and it’s you who has some work to do. And to me, that’s the thing that I take away from this film and from this story.”

Eliis goes on to note that “all three of these characters, Kiersey’s character, my character, and Alison’s character, all three of these characters really have some inner work to do. And it just so happens to be that this one that got away is the catalyst for making all three of these people realize that there’s some unspoken thing that they need to talk about and figure out in their relationships and inside themselves.”

Jay Ellis
Jay Ellis / Getty

When you read the script, did you see yourself as Sean right away?

I didn’t see myself in this character when I first read it. And I think to me, it’s always such an interesting thing. I think there are times where I read stuff and I’m like, oh, that frightens me, or oh, I don’t understand that or oh, I don’t get this in terms of the character and their layers and their complications and their dysfunction and their personality traits. And I think when I read that a lot of times I kind of have to sit with it and ask myself why I feel that way, and a lot of times it’s because it’s not my perspective on life or relationship or work or whatever it may be. And to me, the thing that I love about this job and getting to perform and be an actor and play pretend every day is I get to go explore those things in characters.

I get to go explore what it is like to be a dude who’s always had a plan. He is like stability is me. Sean is probably a Taurus. He’s stable, he’s like I’m not changing my plan, this is what I’m doing. I’m ticking off these boxes. And to me, that is the perfect life. And I loved that. I loved the steadfastness that he has in being able to have the family and have the job and have the home that he wanted in the town. And then all of a sudden his ex comes into his life and this very friendly bumping into turns into this whirlwind of like, oh, am I making the right decision? What if?

And I think a lot of folks romanticize and the nostalgia of the past or past relationships or situations, jobs or whatever, we often ask ourselves, what if? And I just thought that was such a fun thing to explore because ultimately it gets Sean back on the road of this is the right person in my life and this is the person that I want to be with when he comes full circle at the end of this journey. And so I just think to me, Sean was just such a fun character to explore those themes with.

What do you hope resonates with viewers as they go on this journey with these three characters?

All three of these characters ultimately are really on a journey of self-discovery. And I think that’s the thing I hope viewers understand. You got to go through some stuff to really understand and ask yourself some tough questions and hopefully not end up in tough situations but if you do end up in tough situations, how do you really confront your own stuff to really be the best person you can be for yourself and for the people that you have in your life? And to me, I think that that is the thing that I really hope resonates with people with this movie is that it’s a fun movie.

You’re going to laugh, there’s some drama, and you’re going to cry. It is all of those things. But I really do hope that it’s really this, sometimes you got to ask yourself some tough questions to ultimately understand that you have to find the answers to really get the thing that you want in life. And we run away from that. I think nobody wants to be vulnerable, nobody wants to be uncomfortable. We all run away from it. But I think it is such an important thing in life and love and relationship and work and career. It’s all of those things. Sometimes we have to take a step back and analyze like, oh, why am I in this situation and was it about me that has me here? And is this something I need to change or learn from or do I just keep the blinders on and keep moving head down or keep moving forward? I hope that resonates with folks.

“Somebody I Used To Know” is now streaming on Prime Video.

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