Last week, I sat down with the cast of the latest Netflix comedy, The Package, including Sadie Calvano, Luke Spencer Roberts, Eduardo Franco, and Daniel Doheny. WARNING: Spoilers ahead.
mxdwn: How did you first hear about The Package?
Roberts: It was called Eggplant Emoji when I first heard about it… and I remember I was talking to a friend about it at a bar or somewhere in LA, possibly called The Pike, and he was like “Did you hear about Eggplant Emoji?” and then I went out for it in New York I think a couple weeks later.
mxdwn: What made you want to sign on?
Roberts: I think as a young man, you only get one opportunity to be in a movie at the time named after a very famous emoji, and still called The Package I think it’s an exciting concept behind a film and I was like “they haven’t done that before.”
Calvano: Prior to this, I was working on a sitcom on CBS (Mom) that’s super structured with a much older cast and so it was a really exciting opportunity to get to work with some young people and a script that was funny with a lot more freedom.
Franco: Honestly, just the synopsis was pretty nice. It was straightforward. There was no beating around the bush. It was just like “Dude cuts off his dick. His friends gotta save it.” Yeah, so I was like “Fuck yeah! This is it.” Not very often you can come up on that.
mxdwn: These are normal kids, but they’re put in these crazy situations. How did you prepare for these roles?
Doheny: Well, you know, it’s like “do you do a lot of preparation for your acting roles?” Not necessarily, just because I’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of fun playing fuck-head characters.
Franco: *laughing* Yeah, for this guy, I did absolutely no research on what it’s like to lose your penis because I don’t want to know what it’s like, realistically. I like to keep it fictitious even though that does happen to people in the real world, so it’s scary as fuck. My heart goes out to those that that’s happened to, but that shit’s fucked up. If I could put it in the most simple way – I don’t know if you could use any of that.
Roberts:I think if you work with Eduardo Franco, you don’t actually have to prepare very much.
Calvano: You learn really quick there’s a little crazy in it all.
Roberts: Yeah, a lot of crazy there. Keep them under in the woods in Canada for a lot of it. Not a lot of cell service so it’s just us and snacks and a weird amount of bad behavior, but it was fun.
mxdwn: How much do you relate to your respective characters?
Calvano: Well, I think that in every adolescent, there’s a desire to kind of be able to let loose and have fun and I definitely can relate to that and I love her – [Sarah’s] kind of sharp witted or sometimes not-so-sharp comedy.
Roberts: My character is a dickhead, so I hope that there’s not a lot in common, but I’ve been called it a couple times, mostly by my mom, so i think I’ve got some similarities. I like that Donny is brash. I like brash people
Franco: I am not as weird. I do have a sister, but I’ve never wanted anybody to really have sex with my sister.
Doheny (to Eduardo): Would you be mad if like a friend made out with your sister? Would you be mad if I made out with your sister?
Franco (to Daniel): Stop saying that, man. It’s weird.
Doheny (to Eduardo): Would you be mad? Would you be upset about it?
Franco: I wouldn’t be upset. I would be like “Why my sister, dude?” It’s so weird. It’s just like when a homie hooks up with his homie’s sister, it’s like “Bro, you’re not even trying.” You’re just chillin with your homie. His sister happens to be there … also hooking up with your brother’s homies: like dude that’s going to cause problems because if you guys aren’t trying to get married, what are you going to do when you guys break up? It’s going to be awkward and coming over to the house barbeques, your parents aren’t going to like them because they broke up with your sister or whatever. That ruins your friendship, so that’s a lot of lines you’re stepping on. You feel me?
mxdwn: What were your experiences on-set? Did you have fun even when the camera wasn’t rolling?
Franco: Oh yeah.
Doheny: Yeah dude, it was tons of fun.
Franco: Food on deck.
Doheny: So much food on-set.
Franco: Bathroom like five feet away. It was great.
Doheny: Yeah, it was great. I had a great time. We were in the Canadian wilderness so that was nice.
Calvano: Totally, I love this cast and crew. I had such a blast working on this film. Netflix gives you so much freedom so as an actor, this was really an exciting project. We got to see some beautiful places in Canada and like get a really close to having an outdoor adventure as close as work can be.
Roberts: Remember when we saw the bears?
Calvano: Oh my god. How cool was that?
mxdwn: Luke, what was the best part of working with Sadie?
Roberts: I think me and Sadie had a lot of fun. To put it simply, keep in mind we were at like one point a place called “Squamish” which was outside of Vancouver, right. That’s where we saw the bears. We were in a beautiful hotel and at one point, we had to do a scene in a lake and we had to do all this other stuff so every night, we come back to this beautiful hotel. I wish I could remember what it was called and we just had some drinks and that was a lot of working with Sadie. We all bond and have lunch and me and Sadie got to know each other very well there. It was really nice.
mxdwn: Sadie, what was the best part about working with Luke?
Calvano: It’s never a dull moment with Luke. Luke knows where to bring the party!
mxdwn: Daniel, what was the best part about working with Eduardo?
Doheny: It was pretty great. I had a great time. We met on the set. Yeah, I don’t know, we’re good friends.
mxdwn: Eduardo, what was the best part about working with Daniel?
Franco: I don’t know. I just think Daniel was just like… how do I say this? Daniel just fits everywhere. You feel me? He’s just like a really good piece.
Doheny: Puzzle piece.
Franco: He’s like a really good Tetris, just like the straight line like the four blocks that you can lay down horizontal or vertical. It goes everywhere like it’s perfect.
mxdwn: How did you feel about being put in these crazy situations? Eduardo, I’m sure you have a lot to say about that. I assume they were challenging, but were they?
Doheny: We were pretty much out there in the wilderness for a lot of the shooting, so that was pretty hard, and it was cold and we ran. And we had to go in the water and the water was really cold.
Franco: I think the last night was the hardest for me. I was freezing the whole time because we had this big-ass fan blowing because it had to look like the helicopters. Are they called propellers? What are those things called?
Doheny (to Eduardo): Propeller blades.
Franco: The blades, yeah. You know the wind that a helicopter produces so like there was a massive industrial fan in the woods blowing at us.
Doheny: Blowing cold air at us.
Calvano: I don’t think I realized how much action was required in this movie before we got started. So it was really a blast to get to do something that was unlike any other work that I’ve ever done. There was so many stunts and running through the wilderness and dirt all over your face.
Roberts: I think it was a blast. It was very strange. It’s very obviously exaggerated film. I think one of the things that is true is when you’re young, you’re 16 or in that area, you always find yourself going on smaller, zany, and exciting adventures and I think that was something that felt very real to me. While the escalations are at some times maybe a little bit over-dramatic, I enjoyed doing the train of thought on how, for instance, the fireball and things like that, when Sadie grabs a drone and falls off a cliff. Those moments I really enjoyed because I thought it was true to young people.
Calvano: Yeah, and this story is so outrageous in so many ways that I think it’s really comforting to get to do this work with a cast that ended up becoming friends.
mxdwn: Since she’s not here, what’s the best part about working with Geraldine Viswanthan?
Roberts: I have got to say I don’t enjoy working with Australians so from beginning to end–no,
Geraldine’s one of the most incredibly talented people I think of our generation. It was really cool to work with her. She has an amazing way to turn a serious moment in comedy, which sometimes can be very hard to do since we spend so much time screwing around, and she does a great job at making this real and making her character really connect with those romantic moments with Daniel.
Calvano: Totally, yeah. This comedy is filled with bro humor. We have a lot of boys on our cast and so to have another girl that I had the privilege of becoming friends with was such a blessing. We were traveling a lot for this movie and at one point moving hotels almost every two days and sometimes when you’re up in the woods like that, the hotels can feel like a little scary, especially when you’re all alone, so I was so happy to be able to have a girl that I could do spontaneous sleepovers with and have someone to come back and kind of like shoot the shit with was really a privilege.
mxdwn: As actors, what did you learn from being in this movie?
Franco: Do not play with knives. Do not get drunk or play with knives. Wear comfortable shoes in the woods. You know, I was wearing Merrell boots. Shoutout to Merrell.
Doheny: Wear good shoes when you’re going hiking. Bring a sweater. You should always bring a sweater. Cargo shorts are good. Lots of pockets. This is camping tips now. Not a lot of acting tips.
Franco: Well as far as acting, if you’re funny and assume you are *laughing*. Yeah, I don’t know if you think you’re funny and make somebody laugh, I think that’s okay.
Doheny (to Eduardo): You’re going to make a lot of people laugh.
Franco: I hope so and if not dude, TV-repair man.
Roberts: I learned that when you work with people in something that’s obviously supposed to be a comedy, usually you get to know each other beforehand.I didn’t know any of these guys before I went in and I learned that if your senses of humor line up, it’s amazing what you can do with near-strangers in the woods in Canada if you’re trying to be funny. It was it was amazing how quickly from day one, to see the commitment to just having a good time, to being funny, to being present with each other.
Calvano: I think the biggest lesson for me in this movie was the beauty that comes from being imperfect and giving yourself the permission to be imperfect and because we have such a safe environment and a cast that was able to really become friends, we were able to get kind of messy and try some things. Some worked and some didn’t and every time we said “Okay, let’s try again” and as a result, there was a lot of amazing things that came out of this movie and I think hopefully you’ll agree that we found some moments that really worked.
Roberts: Can you replace all of my answers with “I agree with Sadie” because I just feel that would be best.