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It’s a testament to the buzz around Lauren Miller’s latest movie, “For a Good Time, Call…,” that her career has taken such a quantum leap since it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January.
“Until this movie, I never had more than two scenes in a row,” says the 30-year-old actress-writer-producer. “The biggest difference has been the auditions. The year leading up to Sundance I had five auditions in a year, and the week after, I had eight in one week.”
Miller not only shared practically every scene in “For a Good Time” with costar Ari Graynor, she also cowrote the script with her college roommate, Katie Anne Naylon. The film, which opens today, is loosely based on Naylon’s experience running a phone-sex line out of her freshman year dorm room.
“When we sat down to write the script three years ago, we did the writer thing of write what you know, and we knew female friendship and that dynamic when you hate someone for no reason and then [they] become your best friend,” says Miller, who describes herself as “more reserved and a big planner, [while] Katie is more fly by the seat of her pants.”
Although the duo had written the script with Graynor in mind, they couldn’t get a studio to green-light it with an indie star, so they decided to produce it independently.
“Going into Sundance, our sales rep told us it’s a ‘discovery film.’ People will have certain notions going in, and by the end will think something else,” says Miller. “That’s what’s been so cool. You hear phone sex and automatically think that’s so raunchy. But it’s not about phone sex or the girl finding the guy; it’s about friendship.”
Miller has her own Hollywood love story, having met husband Seth Rogen seven years ago at a party thrown by a friend who was dating “50/50” writer Will Reiser.
“On our first date we got into a horrible car accident,” she says. “We were both fine, but it was a crazy night. Everyone was like, ‘Either you’ll get married or you’ll never see each other again.’”
Miller actually started out wanting to be a fashion designer. She earned her associate’s degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology, but also took acting classes and auditioned while in school. Her parents insisted on a four-year degree, so she went to film school at Florida State University and then moved to Los Angeles to assist producer Steve Starkey.
Still, she says, “most of the stuff on my IMDb.com page has been a happy accident. With ‘Superbad’ I was on set and the girl who was supposed to play my part dropped out two days before and the producer asked if I’d do it. I was in a scene with Jonah Hill, so for ‘Observe and Report,’ he asked me to be in it.”
Now she and Naylon are working on a sitcom and another movie, and she’ll appear in the pilot episode of Fox’s “Ben and Kate” and the indie comedy “Someone Marry Barry.”
Looking back on her FIT years, Miller says it’s hard to imagine working on Seventh Avenue.
“In high school I was the girl who was into fashion,” she says. “But I was just so overcome by this other thing I wanted to do that it went away.”