For his new film Dirty Weekend, Neil LaBute found the title first — a British term for a weekend spent away in secret — and went from there. “I think life is that way for a lot of people, where their private life is different than their public persona,” LaBute told Vulture, who constructed his film around two such characters: Les (Matthew Broderick), a repressed family man who vaguely remembers his own drunken dirty weekend but can’t even recall what gender he romped with, and his co-worker Natalie (Alice Eve), who needles Les to open up during a company layover. In this exclusive scene from the film (opening in theaters and on VOD this Friday), she reveals quite the provocative secret of her own.
“It’s a really pivotal scene,” said LaBute of the moment when Natalie reveals she’s in a sub/dom relationship with her girlfriend. In fact, under her staid work blouse, there’s a collar around her neck. “With that particular lifestyle, we tried to treat all of that with the respect that it’s due,” said the director.
It’s LaBute’s second film in a row with Eve, who filmed the similarly talky, low-budget Some Velvet Morning not long after a high-profile role in Star Trek Into Darkness famously demanded she strip down to her skivvies to entice a male audience. “I think she found Velvet and Dirty Weekend to be very different journeys that would allow her more complicated roles than maybe she was getting at the time,” LaBute said.
And perhaps LaBute feels the same way, given that he’s now largely eschewed the mid-budget studio movies he was making — like Death at a Funeral, Lakeview Terrace, and The Wicker Man — for much less expensive, more authorial indies in the vein of his breakthrough In the Company of Men. “I must say, yeah, there’s been a lot of pleasure in doing material that I’ve written myself,” LaBute told us. “I don’t know if it’s a reaction to those studio movies so much as a reality. Part of it is the business changing, and part of it is your own fortunes changing. So much of that world is driven by economics, by what a movie can make in its first weekend and that sort of thing. When there’s less money on the line, you’re afforded a greater sense of command on whatever it is you’re working on, and for me, having started in that place, it feels very freeing to be in this position.”