During SXSW 2014 in Austin, Texas, Simon Helberg and Jocelyn Towne brought their true-life relationship misadventure to the big screen for everyone to see with We’ll Never Have Paris. They brought a stellar cast with them to share the fantastically realistic film with festival-goers, including Maggie Grace, Melanie Lynskey and Jason Ritter. I loved the film and was fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with most of the cast, save Ms. Lynskey.
As I interviewed the lovely Towne and chagrined Helberg, I discovered that Simon Helberg and Jason Ritter have been best friends since junior high school. This is enough to make any of us who are fans of these men, whether in their separate or shared projects squeal with giddiness, but I got the scoop on how their friendship began from Ritter and it’s even more adorable than you could have expected. Read on, if you think you can handle the cuteness to come.
SI: Simon just told me the two of you have been best friends since you were kids. Can you tell me more about how you met?
JR: We met in seventh grade. Essentially, he and his group of friends…I just thought they were the coolest guys in the whole world. In elementary school everyone was grouped together and friends with eachother and in middle school everyone kind of branched off. I was like, I don’t know where I fit in.
I saw Simon and his friends and they seemed to be out of the hierarchy that I had been taught. They didn’t seem to care who was popular or who was a dork. They were sort of going around the entire thing. They seemed to be laughing a lot and having a good time so I courted them as a group and tried not to scare them off. I do remember that we’d be hanging out and laughing and then I’d go eat lunch by myself because I didn’t want to infringe on their private time.
I remember one day, Simon was like, “Hey man, where are you going?”. Simon was the one too, all the other guys were cool too, but he was like the guy. ” Where are you going?”, and I said “Oh, I’m probably just gonna go eat over here.”, and he was like, “No man, why don’t you come sit with us?”. It was like the greatest moment of my life. So we’ve been friends ever since, we were college roommates and I love him so much. It was so much fun to get to work with him in this capacity.
SI: Have you worked together before?
JR: We have worked together on smaller things. We worked together kind of, but never actually had any scenes together on Jocelyn’s movie that she did before this called I Am I. A couple little things on the internet here and there. We did a music video about a guy who falls in love with his own hand.
This was a much bigger thing. It was a story that was personal to him, it was also the first thing that he had written and gotten to make. It was great coming to work every day and seeing my friend and also seeing him take a very painful experience for him and for Jocelyn and airing it out, getting into it and discovering it. They had already resolved it, but I think this movie helped even delve in to it more and clean it all out. Tragedy plus time equals comedy, to be able to laugh about it was healing for both of them. For Simon to be able to say, “yeah, I was a maniac and did not do a good job at life in that period of time”.
SI: Were you there with Simon through this time? Did you experience it with him?
JR: Yeah, I was there. I was working out of town for a lot of this. I came back in to town for a couple of days and there was all this chaos happening. I left again and by the time I came back it had all been resolved. He had gone to Paris. I gave him my two cents.
I’m in the movie as an element of Zach (Zachary) Quinto‘s character. Zach plays his best friend, Jameson, who is sort of based on me and his tight group of friends who are all saying, “Hey, slow down, let’s figure this out.”
SI: How was it working with him on such a personal project?
JR: It was really great. They had done a lot of work ahead of time so there wasn’t a lot of time spent trying to figure things out or doing things on the fly. It was amazing. It’s that special thing that happens when you see someone you care about getting to do something that they’ve been dreaming about for a long time.
Every day I would come to set and I would see the grips unloading things out of the van and craft service and think, oh my gosh, this is all here because you wrote a script and now it’s come true and that doesn’t always happen. I actually spent a lot more time on set than I needed to. On days I wasn’t working I would just come in a sit down and soak it all in.
In conclusion, yes, Jason Ritter is as wonderful, charming and thoughtful as you all thought, hoped and prayed he was in reality and Simon Helberg was a “cool guy” in junior high. Howard would be so proud.
We’ll Never Have Paris has been acquired by Orion Releasing and will be in theaters in select markets January 22, 2015. You can Click Here to read our interview with Maggie Grace in which she reveals the hottest love scene she’s ever done was on this film.
Click below to hear more of Towne and Helberg’s story in their own words
Recently you may have seen photos like those of The Big Bang Theory cast with people sporting Team Ritter shirts in support of The John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health. If you’d like to learn more about the foundation or donate, please Click Here.