'Gossip Girl' Star Leighton Meester on Playing a Lesbian & Working With Husband Adam Brody in 'Life Partners'
Leighton Meester is notoriously tight lipped about her personal life. She married O.C. star Adam Brody earlier this year, but you won't see her gushing about their wedding, their home life or even posting photos of her new hubby on social media. So when Meester and her then-boyfriend got the chance to star in a film together, it wasn't at all intentional. Life Partners , a film about two best friends (Meester and Community's Gillian Jacobs) growing apart because of a man, pits the married couple against one another.
Meester plays Sasha, a 29-year-old lesbian whose codependent but completely platonic relationship with Paige (Jacobs) is slowed by the emergence of Paige's new boyfriend Tim (Brody). Sasha and Tim slowly grow to resent one another, each taking up Paige's time and energy. Both actors play their roles with warmth and realism, Meester transcending her bratty Gossip Girl typecast. So how did these two actors end up playing adversaries? Meester, along with Jacobs and the film's writer/director Susanna Fogel spoke about the ironic casting.
"We had this meeting on the books with Leighton, and that morning we got a call from Adam's agent saying he really wanted to do it," Fogel said. "It's a weird thing when you sit down with an actor because you're not supposed to let on that you know all their work, and you're also not supposed to let on that you know anything about their personal life, even though everyone knows everything," she said, referencing the then yet-to-be-married actors.
"After an hour of falling in love with Leighton, we broached the subject that [her] then-boyfriend was also reading the script. I think [Leighton] said something like, 'Is he doing it?' And I said something like, 'I dunno, is he doing it?'"
But rest assured, the writer/director powerhouse had no intention of casting the couple together, and certainly not in any romantic roles with one another. "Not only did we not set out to cast them together, we would have never cast Leighton in Gillian's role because we kind of wanted the roles to be fully developed by the actors and not be any reference to anything happening in the world. We loved them both so much for those two roles, we decided they'd be able to transcend that."
Not only did Meester work with her husband in this role, she also took on an entirely new type of role: A lesbian. But for Meester, Sasha's sexuality wasn't the defining characteristic in forming the multidimensional character. "It's just one of the many colors of a very well-rounded character," she said. "It's something that made her who she is, and gave her a lot of insight into being a nonjudgemental human, but at the same time it's not like at the end of the movie she's like 'Actually, I like guys!' or 'I'm really in love with my best friend!' or she has to come out. That's maybe early twenties, this is later, this is a different time."
Life Partners hits theaters December 5. Watch the trailer below: