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Micah Stock and Michaela Watkins Interview: Brittany Runs a Marathon

Brittany Runs a Marathon follows a 28-year-old woman, played by Jillian Bell, as she seeks to improve her life in New York City. Part of her journey involves making friends with new people. Michaela Watkins (Wayne) and Micah Stock (Escape at Dannemora) play two of those people, denizens of the city on their own personal journeys who find themselves forming an unlikely alliance with the testy millennial, bonding through their shared passion for running.

At a recent press day for Brittany Runs a Marathon, Screen Rant sat down with Watkins and Stock. The two actors discussed their thoughts on the film, including Brittany's strong use of its New York City setting. New York, and other large cities, bring people together from all walks of life. Thanks to the magic of the big city, people can find themselves becoming best friends with strangers they may have never met outside of an urban center like NYC.

Related: Brittany Runs a Marathon Interview – Director Paul Downs Colaizzo & Cast

Brittany Runs a Marathon Logo

So, this movie, Brittany Runs a Marathon, is about so many things. It's about the full New York experience, but a big part of that is making connections with people who you otherwise wouldn't make connections with, even if they live in your own building. Can you talk a little bit about that New York experience and how it influenced you, and getting to film in the city for this movie?

Michaela Watkins: I was so happy that, when I got to set, it looked exactly like my college crash pad. Not my college crash pad, but my post-college crash pad, in New York City. I moved here and I was starving to death. We had cockroaches. It was just a dump. But it was what we could afford. It was our home! I was like, I did it, I'm in New York! It was like, ugh, this is unsafe. This should be condemned by the health department. I love, that even though it's not like, "this is New York, Chrysler Building!" Ya know, it's so specifically New York. You can smell the hallway, you can smell the spilled beer in the hall. You can hear the streets. You know you're in New York. But simultaneously, what is weird, is that I moved to Portland, Oregon in my 20s, and had a similar sort of Brittany kind of experience. I was slinging drinks and then started running for the first time. I think it's just incredibly New York specific, but so universal. I think anybody can relate to this story. It feels very true to anybody.

Micah Stock: I think what you said about it is why the movie happens. The beautiful thing about living in a city like New York is, whether you want to or not, or seek it out or not, you're forced to face people who are very different than you are, who come from different walks of life, have had a million different things happen to them. You face each other, you're shoved up against each other in the subway. And, for better or worse, you're forced to connect. I think that's why New Yorkers, as a general population... People protect themselves, they may not extend themselves, they may not be the most polite, but if you are in trouble, you'll have a hundred New Yorkers descend upon you and do something for you. To me, that is real love.

Michaela Watkins: Because New Yorkers are sort of foisted into each other, in proximity, Brittany is able to become friends with people she would never, if she was just getting into her car and driving to work every day, she would never have contact with. And these are the people who end up being her support system.

They're people who she would never get in contact with. And they're people you might see from a distance and feel one way. You would judge them, but a big part of this movie is getting to know these people, and everyone has an arc. Everyone starts out in a different place from where they end. Even the minor characters, like Gretchen, who we immediately want to hate. Then, you know, we still hate her, but we understand her. Can you talk a little bit about getting to play such rich and deep characters who might be more challenging than if they were flat deliverers of one-liners?

Micah Stock: It's interesting, I think it's easier, when you have a great script like this, to not feel like you have to, like, put yourself away to make the thing work. I think one of the most upsetting things as an actor is when you're like, "Oh, I'm a function. I can't make a meal out of this." With this, it's all there in the script. You get to step forward with all of your humanity and the difficult parts of you, and let it serve the story.

Brittany Runs a Marathon Micah Stock Michaela Watkins Interview

You said you started running in Portland. Are you both active workout people? Or were you before and/or after the movie?

Micah Stock: I'm currently an active workout person, but I'm often a passive workout person.

Depending on the role.

Micah Stock: Depending on the role, depending on many different things.

Michaela Watkins: I used to be a workout person. And then, like any workout person, when my life got busy, I was like, oh, I should take the thing that makes me sane and healthy, and not do it. So I'll just be, you know, just unhealthy, but very very unhappy. And that's what I've chosen to do, and that's been great! No. (Laughs) But I am starting to sort of weave some... I got a dog. So that's my workout. Just, uh, walking that dog.

More: 10 Best New York Movies From The 2000s

Brittany Runs a Marathon hits theaters on August 23.

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