Fresh off the debut of new feature I Used to Go Here, we catch up with Chicago writer-director Kris Rey on all things filming, nostalgia, Midwestern hospitality and what’s next for this one to watch.
Chicago-based writer-director Kris Rey behind the scenes while filming her new feature, I Used to Go Here. Rey is seen here on location in the Austin neighborhood.
As a Chicago-based writer and director, tell us: How has the city’s creative scene evolved? It’s remained steadily pretty cool. Chicago is a great place to make a movie, and even though my budgets have grown a bit, I still encounter the same warmth and openness I always have. People are excited about art here; you can really feel that, honestly, throughout the city.
You’ve recently premiered I Used to Go Here. What inspired the film? When my last feature, Unexpected, was released, I was booked to screen the film at several universities. I wrote the outline for I Used to Go Here on the train ride from Chicago to Carbondale to show Unexpected at Southern Illinois University. I didn’t have quite the trip that Kate [I Used to Go Here’s main character, played by Gillian Jacobs] had, but I thought it would be a good premise for a comedy.
Where were some of your favorite places to film? We took a trip to Camp Wandawega in Wisconsin, and it was by far the most memorable filming location. The Wandawega folks were so kind to us and let us have the run of the place. We got to swim in the lake and have a cookout with all the cast and crew. I have very fond memories of looking for shooting stars with Jemaine Clement [who plays David].
Since your first feature, It Was Great, But I Was Ready to Come Home, you’ve had an exciting and successful career. Can you identify with Kate as she struggles to kick off her creative path? I identify with Kate quite a bit. I think everyone has felt the pull of the past. Sometimes it feels much easier to go backward than to forge ahead.
What’s next? I’m writing another comedy with my good friend Nicky Margolis. It’s been making quarantine much easier.