Courtesy of Protagonist Pictures
Boy meets girl at a party. Boy and girl drunkenly hook up on the beach. After a wild weekend adventure, boy and girl fall in love. We've all seen that movie before. But what happens when Monday rolls around and reality pops the romantic bubble? That's what director Argyris Papadimitropoulos wanted to explore in the dark romance Monday, where there's no "happily ever after" as the credits roll.
EW has your exclusive first look at the honest take on relationships starring Sebastian Stan and Denise Gough. The steamy image above is the perfect representation of how a relationship can start off so magically and feel so right ... before the real world sets in, bringing all its problems and hardships with it.
"I was always excited and interested in love stories but I always wanted to explore when things go wrong in relationships," Papadimitropoulos says of his fourth feature film, which he wrote with Rob Hayes. "Why do people become so different at some point when everything started like a dream?"
The filmmaker drew inspiration from his own relationships as well as what his friends have experienced to create Mickey (Stan) and Chloe's (Gough) authentic story, which begins at a debaucherous party on a Greek island. "Almost everything that happens in this film is something that either happened or is inspired by something similar that has happened to me or people I know," he says. "There’s a little bit of me in every character in the film, the things I like about me, the things I don’t like about me, it’s all blended together."
Papadimitropoulos knows that moviegoers have seen the candy-coated, happy ending kind of love story in films so many times before. That's why he wanted to take an honest look at what really happens with relationships — the good, the bad, and the ugly. "The rom-com genre gave us some amazing films in the past but then again, you watch them, they’re entertaining, but it’s not true," he says. "You don’t really believe what’s going on at the end. So we start the film like a romantic comedy but then let the characters develop the way they would in real life and have problems, bottled up feelings, things they hide from each other, skeletons in their closet, and see what happens when the reality of everyday life settles in. It’s great having an amazing weekend but then Monday comes with a reality check."
The filmmaker hopes everyone can see themselves in Mickey and Chloe, in whatever form that may take. "It’s about the truth of relationships, how we can make things work if we want to make things work," he says. "It’s about how it’s okay to be sensitive and to have emotions and to be vulnerable. You should talk about your feelings because in the summer you have an amazing time, but at some point, winter comes. Day by day, things become more difficult and you need to talk about it or else it will just get worse."
Working with Stan and Gough to bring Mickey and Chloe's turbulent, passionate relationship to life was a huge learning experience for Papadimitropoulos as they all collaborated to improv a lot of the dialogue during filming.
"They come from totally different worlds and backgrounds," Papadimitropoulos says of the two stars. "They worked in totally different ways. But the three of us very early on found our own way, which is something that all three of us have never done. It was taking the best ways we all like to work, and make something of our own rather than borrow from another method. I was amazed and surprised by how easy they made it for me and how ready they were to take risks and try different things and huge improvisational takes. It was an amazing experience."
For this trio, the harsh light of Monday morning didn't ruin the magic of their relationship.