The idea of a woman giving her own baby to a friend who so desperately wants one, but can’t conceive sounds like a weighty core concept through and through, but Jessie McCormack’s “Gus” strikes a unique balance between heartfelt drama and natural comedy, and that’s what attracted talent like Michelle Monaghan to the project.
Monaghan stars as Andie, Lizzie’s (Radha Mitchell) longtime friend. When Andie winds up pregnant after a one-night stand, she commits to giving her unborn child to Lizzie so she can finally start a family with her husband, Peter (Jon Dore). Trouble is, before that can happen, Andie needs help getting through the pregnancy so moves into their home where her free-spirited lifestyle doesn’t mesh well with Lizzie and Peter’s more regimented way of living. Complicating the situation further, Peter’s brother Casey (Michael Weston) is also released from rehab and, with no one else to keep an eye on him, Peter feels obligated to bring him into their home as well. Throw in Lizzie and Peter’s dog, Joyce, and you’ve got one very full, tumultuous household.
While celebrating the film’s big debut at SXSW, Monaghan and McCormack sat down to run through how “Gus” came to be, the challenges of shooting a low-budget film, the craft of balancing comedy and drama, the film’s unforgettable four-legged star, and much more. Catch it all for yourself in the video interview below and keep an eye out for part two of our “Gus” coverage, a one-on-one interview with Radha Mitchell.