You know her as the quirky actress with the model features and rock and roll fringe from girly flicks like Confessions of a Shopaholic and the even girlier TV series Gossip Girl. But do you know Krysten Ritter, the serious writer/producer and creator of the ultimate female buddy comedy?
A closeted screenplay writer (not to mention playwright) for some time now, Ritter is preparing for the release of her feature writing debut BFF & Baby, co-written by close friend Kat Coiro, who also directs the film. And though she jokes about having written many “crappy screenplays” over the years, something about the giddy whim of Ritter’s turn of phrase and her obvious knack for comedy on screen tells me that the buddy film genre her new screenplay is stretching out in is about to become co-ed.
“It’s very hard to do the female version of say … Swingers, because the girls are never likable and they just come off as slutty,” notes Ritter of the old boys’ club mentality riddling the genre. Wanting to avoid the stiletto trappings of writing a story that included a Blanche Devereaux/Samantha Jones-like character at its centre, Ritter and writing partner Coiro — after hours of lamenting over the lack of female-driven buddy comedies — struck gold in the shape of Mexican take-out. “One day after buying burritos at our favourite spot in the Rampart district, we pulled up to a car of cute guys,” she begins. “In the midst of some mutual red light eye-gasming, my writing partner’s newborn baby daughter started to cry. The dudes took one look and screeched away.” And so was born BFF & Baby, the story of best friends Kim (Ritter) and Deena (Kate Bosworth), struggling to maintain their formerly hip and youthful lifestyle after Kim has a baby.
Now, finally, for all the Daisy Buchanans that are roasted in every male-driven buddy comedy, there is BFF & Baby’s grab-bag of relatable male flops, dramatized for the female audience’s viewing pleasure. “There are a few genius lines that my ex-boyfriend said to me at one point in there,” Ritter shares, adding playfully, “I’m sure a few guys might wonder if we are talking about them. As a writer you put things in your pocket for later. And embellish, of course.” Writing to Ritter is a natural counterpart of her acting career; it’s a talent she’s learned through osmosis. “It’s two different breeds of the same species, in my humble opinion. Does that even make sense?” she laughs. “Actors are usually good at writing dialogue because we know how people speak (hopefully) and we read so many scripts.”
Currently in post-production, Ritter is still riding on the high from writing, producing, and starring in the film, a tall list of duties that she was more than happy to take on. “It was a lot of work and it was a full cycle of 24-hour mind consumption,” she recalls. “Far more than if I was just an actress for hire and not involved in other areas. But I loved it.” And though she was comfortable wearing multiple hats on set, as any who have loved anything know, trepidation is part and parcel with adoration. “I was more nervous about having the energy and endurance that it required,” she admits of the filming process. A macrobiotic-vegan diet the first week paired with concentrated elimination of all possible stress put her in the head space necessary to delve into production, and by the time filming rolled around, it felt like any other film she had worked on. “Once we got into rehearsals and started shooting, I focused on the work and I fell in love with the project in a totally different way,” she says. “I fell in love with it as an actress.”