Greg Mottola’s irresistible first feature, the dysfunctional-family odyssey The Daytrippers, is one of the great stories of 1990s low-budget independent filmmaking. Shot for $60,000 on Super 16 mm in just seventeen days—with up-and-coming cast members like Parker Posey, Liev Schreiber, Hope Davis, and Stanley Tucci working for a mere hundred dollars a day—the movie took a long and winding path to the screen. Rejected by Sundance and initially overlooked by distributors, it nonetheless rode its droll wit all the way to the Cannes Film Festival, where it was finally picked up for a successful run in U.S. theaters.
Today, The Daytrippers remains beloved not only by audiences but also by many of those who worked on it, as the above clip—taken from a supplement on our new edition of the film, and featuring Schreiber, Posey, and Mottola in conversation—goes to show. Here Schreiber—who plays the pretentious-writer boyfriend of Posey’s jaded undergrad, both of them on a journey to Manhattan to save her sister’s marriage—fondly remembers the formative early role as a career high (“It’s still, I think, my favorite film”) as well as the start of a lifelong friendship with Mottola. Meanwhile, Posey reminisces about the communal “spirit of performing” that existed on-set, something she sees as having largely disappeared from independent filmmaking in the wake of the digital revolution.