How 'Your Place or Mine' stars Reese Witherspoon, Ashton Kutcher built a friendship before shooting their Netflix film
"About a month before I was like, ‘I don’t know this guy, and we’re supposed to be best friends for 20 years,'" Reese Witherspoon said
The Devil Wears Prada writer Aline Brosh McKenna has paired up Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher for the Netflix rom-com Your Place or Mine (releasing Feb. 10).
The film follows Debbie (Witherspoon) and Peter (Kutcher), who have been friends for 20 years when their friendship takes a new turn when they swap homes for a week.
Debbie is a Los Angeles mom to Jack (Wesley Kimmel), while Peter, a New York City brand consultant, is living the single life. In rom-com fashion, even while still spending their time in different parts of the country, as they learn more about each other this friendship may be something more.
What's particularly unique to the format of Your Place or Mine is that the two main characters spend most of their time apart, with the film using a split-screen technique to see them communicating through technology.
But Witherspoon, who didn't know Kutcher before working on this movie, says she needed to have some sort of established relationship with the actor to really become people who have known each other, and stayed connected, for two decades.
“I had sort of a little panic attack because we didn’t know each other,” Witherspoon said at a press conference ahead of the film's release. "So about a month before I was like, ‘I don’t know this guy, and we’re supposed to be best friends for 20 years.’"
"So we started sending each other videos every day. … It was really, actually kind of fun, and then our kids would get in the videos and our dogs.”
“Every day, we would send back and forth videos of how’s your day going? What’s going on? What’s happening with you? What are you afraid of?” Kutcher added.
“I met your dad. We hung out on your porch quite a bit. … Then by the time we started shooting it, we were sort of used to communicating this way."
Much of the film's story is based on literature and reading, with Debbie and Peter both book lovers. In preparation for the role, McKenna sent Kutcher a list of 10 books to read.
“Every one of the books had notecards in them about what Peter got from this book, specifically what he got as a writer from this book," Kutcher said. "I actually fell in love with reading fiction again from this experience.”
While Kutcher is known for being in rom-coms like No Strings Attached, Valentine's Day and What Happens in Vegas, writer and director McKenna kept describing the actor's character as "grown-up."
“She used the word ‘grown-up’ a lot,” Kutcher said at a press conference ahead of the film's release. “She’s like ‘I want you have grown-up hair.'”
“This is my hair. Like, it is old. It’s 45 years old. It’s the same age as me. But the style and just kind of the put together essence of the character, I think it was a juxtaposition to kind of the all-over-the-place world of Debbie. So that was fun to play.”
Even though Debbie and Peter live relatively opposite lives, Your Place or Mine is really about having the courage to go after something you want.