A.C.O.D. stands for Adult Children of Divorce and this is a darkish comedy about Carter (Adam Scott), a self-diagnosed, well-adjusted restaurateur in a stable relationship with a beautiful girlfriend (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Carter has put distance between himself and his War of the Roses parents, Hugh (Richard Jenkins) and Melissa (Catherine O’Hara). The seething exes haven’t been in the same room since their divorce when Carter was in elementary school.
Younger brother Trey (Clark Duke) asks his girlfriend to marry him and wants both parents at the wedding. Always in control Carter becomes untethered and runs to his childhood therapist Dr. Judith (Jane Lynch) only to discover she isn’t a therapist. Unknowingly, Carter had merely been part of her amateur study for a book.
TheBlot caught up with Stu Zicherman and Adam Scott.
Q: Was it hard keeping a straight face in scenes with Jane Lynch?
Stu Zicherman: I did a lot of laughing. Being a first-time director you find yourself watching as a fan.
Adam Scott: It got to the point where if I didn’t hear Stu laughing I thought there was something wrong.
Olds: Are you both A.C.O.D.?
Scott: Yeah. Luckily, my experience was a very healthy, happy one. My parents split up when I was really little, but for my siblings and I it was a happy childhood. We never saw an argument. It was all very amicable. I wouldn’t have been able to write the script because, well, first of all, I’m not a writer. [Laughs]
Olds: What did you initially think of the script?
Scott: That it would be the divorce movie to end all divorce movies. I felt like if there was such a thing as a divorce comedy, this is it.
Zicherman: Even though Adam had a wildly different experience I felt like he understood. It was always about keeping a balance. I mean, our character is not suffering from cancer, he wasn’t beaten. His problem was that his parents got divorced. You worry that the audience might say, “Get over it, dude,” and then you’ve lost them. But Carter is on a quest to control these people and maintain sanity.
Olds: Can you comment on Dr. Judith’s book?
Scott: There’s a market for everything. If you can find a customer for what you’re putting out there, more power to you. I don’t read self-help books and I’m very cynical about stuff like that, but that’s one of my favorite things about the movie. I don’t think Jane’s character, Dr. Judith, cares about helping people.
Zicherman: When Ben Karlin and I began writing the movie she started out as a therapist character, but we didn’t want her to be just that. In my 20s I went through a terrible breakup with this girl that I was kind of in love with…
Scott: Kind of?
Zicherman: [Laughs] Okay, I was gutted. So, I bought this book about getting over a loved one. I started reading it and I was like a hundred pages in when I realized it was about being widowed.
Olds: What happened in your childhood?
Zicherman: When I was 11, every single family in my suburban neighborhood was getting divorced. My parents sat me down and said, “We’ll never get divorced. We promise.” One year later, my dad moved out.
Olds: How do you view the relationship between Carter and Dr. Judith?
Zicherman: I love that Carter is searching for an answer. He’ll latch onto anything, but when Dr. Judith opens her door and there’s Carter she just sees dollar signs. You know, I talk to a lot of people about scripts, and I have to say I’m really tired of the portrayal of men in America. Guys in their 30s and 40s talking about pussy and smoking pot. That’s not my experience about being an adult man. People I know are struggling with their demons and trying to be successful. I don’t feel like men in the movies need to be stupid anymore.
Olds: What are your upcoming projects?
Zicherman: I’m writing a movie with Steve Martin. I’m also working on the FX show “The Americans.”
Scott: I’m shooting “Parks and Rec” right now. I’m in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” which comes out on Christmas, and I’m in an Oscar movie for next year, “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” I play a character from the future.