Sitting in Bars with Cake, based on a book of the same name by Audrey Shulman, follows childhood best friends Jane and Corinne, played by Yara Shahidi and Odessa A’zion, respectively, as they navigate life in Los Angeles during their 20s.
Jane, an introverted all-star baker, is convinced by outgoing Corinne to visit a new bar every week for a year with a different homemade cake as a way to meet new people—and thus begins their cake-barring journey.
When Corinne receives a life-altering medical diagnosis, Jane pivots from friend to caregiver in what she describes in the trailer as “that weird year we spent in hospitals and bars.”
Trish Sie, whose credits include Pitch Perfect 3, The Sleepover, and a number of OK Go music videos, describes it as a story about friendship, resilience, and falling in love with life no matter what it brings you.
She talks to us about directing the film in an exclusive interview with Amazon.
Check out our extended Q&A below:
Can you describe what this movie is about?
This movie is based on a true story about two women in their 20s in Los Angeles. One is introverted but she happens to be a fabulous baker; the other is her effervescent, vivacious friend who is always trying to get her to go out more. They accidentally discover that cake in bar is a magical magnet for people so they start doing one cake a week in an effort to get Jane, the shy one, out of her comfort zone. Then, in the middle of this project, there’s a life-altering medical diagnosis—I won’t give it away—that changes the course of their lives.
You have an impressive list of accolades, including a background in dance and choreography. How did you weave that into the direction of this movie?
There is so much that gets said in a story, or music video, or commercial, that’s not said in words. So as a choreographer and musician, that musicality and sense of movement in storytelling is really useful when you’re blocking a scene, planning how people are entering and exiting, and even how we edited the movie.
What was it like working with this young group of actors, as well as someone as accomplished as Bette Midler?
I was so lucky. This group of actors was a dream. Not only are they so skilled and talented, but they’re brave and willing to go to intense places, emotionally. They were also just really good, kind, and supportive to each other, including Bette Midler who is amazingly warm-hearted. It’s much easier to get authentic performances when people feel that sense of love and safety.
Is there a scene in the movie you’re particularly proud of?
The scene I love the most is when Corinne and Jane get in an argument in Echo Park, Los Angeles, on the street in front of a store. Visually, it’s so beautifully LA, but it shows two friends who are under an incredible amount of stress letting that steam off as people do when they feel safe with one another. It was a scene where we weren’t playing Hollywood too much; this is what happens when you’re going through something like this.
What is your favorite recipe?
It keeps changing. I feel like today it’s the spiced rum spice cake. In the movie, one of the first cakes they bring to the Redwood Bar & Grill downtown is pirate-themed.
If you can give someone two or three reasons why they should watch this film, what would they be?
It’s going to make you laugh, make you cry, it’s going to make you want to go bake a cake—even if you have no idea how to do that. It’s going to make you want to hug your best friend, and it’s going to make you fall in love with life. And if you’ve lost your way a little bit because the world’s been a dark place, I’m hoping this is a speck of light.
Watch the trailer for Sitting in Bars with Cake.