When Cristin Milioti was on the plane headed to the Sundance Film Festival last January for the premiere of “Palm Springs,” all she could hope for was that the movie would sell.
“There’s a heartbreaking element of what we do sometimes where you put a lot of working into something and it’s done with the best intentions and it doesn’t come together,” she explained in the Variety Streaming Room to senior film writer Matt Donnelly. “But I knew when we saw the screening in Sundance last year, the way the audience reacted, it was so, so exciting.”
The sci-fi-tinged comedy follows Nyles (Samberg) and Sarah (Milioti), two wedding guests who live the same day on repeat. Since its premiere last July on Hulu, “Palm Springs” has been nominated for a number of industry awards, including a Golden Globe for best comedy film.
“It hits all of the colors of being alive,” Milioti said.
Samberg pointed out how many successful dramas have comedy, specifically comparing “Palm Springs” to Chloe Zhao’s “Nomadland.”
“There’s laughs all over [“Nomadland”] and it’s a heavy movie,” he said. “But it’s getting at the same thing, which is that life can be really hard and it can be really beautiful and it can be really sad and it can be really happy and really funny.”
In “Palm Springs,” viewers find Nyles in a state of acceptance in the time loop, whereas Sarah’s experience portrays the full emotional cycle of realizing she has to live the same day over and over again — an overwhelming, seemingly solution-less burden. Milioti said that screenwriter Andy Siara said the story was an allegory for depression and anxiety.
She recalled reading the script, “This is what it is to not be able to get out of bed and to hate yourself… [To] be ashamed about things and go through all the different levels of emotions about that.”
Samberg and Milioti couldn’t confirm there would be a sequel, but they did reveal what projects lie ahead for themselves. Cristin will star in an HBO Max series based on the book “Made for Love” by Alissa Nutting. She and Ray Romano play an estranged father and daughter in the series. Samberg is involved with “Super High” at New Line Cinema, which features him alongside Common and Craig Robinson as a group of buddies who find weed that gives them superpowers.