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The Cast of I Want You Back Talks Modern Romcoms

Charlie Day and Jenny Slate at a bar as Peter and Emma in I Want You Back

When it comes to romantic comedies, we instantly think of the classics. Movies like When Harry Met Sally or One Fine Day pop to mind, or even You’ve Got Mail and As Good As It Gets, for more recent entries into the genre. The problem, though, is that the idea of the romantic comedy has slowly started to fade away. But that’s where I Want You Back comes in to save the day.

A movie that follows Peter (Charlie Day) and Emma (Jenny Slate) as they’re trying to get back with their exes (played by Scott Eastwood and Gina Rodriguez), I Want You Back is incredibly charming in the best way. Think back to the romcoms of the early 2000s, but instead of playing into stereotypes, you’re getting to see fully fleshed out characters fall into the situations we know and love so well. That’s what I Want You Back is, and it’s the perfect movie to celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend with!

In gearing up for the film’s release, we spoke with Slate, Day, Scott Eastwood, Clark Backo, and Manny Jacinto about the movie and their characters!

The love of romantic comedies

The movie isn’t the first time that Eastwood and Day have worked together. They starred in Pacific Rim: Uprising with one another, so to see them reunited in a romantic comedy was fun, and Eastwood talked about working with Day on set. “First off, Charlie is an incredible performer and just an all-around great dude,” he said. “Yeah. So every day on set with Charlie Day is a fun day.”

For Manny Jacinto, his character Logan is someone you could easily see being two dimensional, lost in the art of acting and missing the fact that he’s a middle school teacher. But Jacinto brings an honesty to him that works incredibly well with the movie, so I asked him about his work in crafting Logan to stand out and not just be a caricature. He said, “Logan is just so darn passionate about, you know, acting and the craft of acting. And I think that’s really what pulled me in because, well, the thing is, you know, you can really push this character almost too much, but thanks to Jason and kind of our talks in the beginning, we were able to make him more grounded.”

The movie finds its heart in both Day’s Peter and Slate’s Emma. The two are unlikely friends, given their heartbreak, and they start to work together to try to win back their lost loves. But it wouldn’t work if it weren’t for their honesty and their care in approaching these characters, and when I asked Slate about bringing that romcom feeling back to a movie and not making these characters into stereotypes, she talked a bit about her approach to Emma.

“I guess you kind of keep your eye on everything at once, which is maybe kind of what you might do, like on a date,” Slate said. “It’s like if you’re on a date, like you hope to be charming, but you can’t just pelt the other person with funny stories and not let them talk and you know, like you have to balance it. You also have to be a good listener. And I think that was at least for me, what I felt like coming into this is like, I want her to be funny and you know, the, the script was so wonderful and the comedy’s really strong. And so I wanna deliver that, but it’s not really worth it if she can’t seem also like a buddy that you would, you know, root for.”

I Want You Back is streaming on Amazon Prime now and is the perfect movie to watch in the romance season!

(image: Amazon Prime)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.