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Ride The Eagle's D'Arcy Carden On What It Was Like Working With Jake Johnson - Exclusive

"New Girl" and "The Good Place" are both peak 2010s comedies, but Jake Johnson (Nick Miller) and D'Arcy Carden (Janet) never had the opportunity to work together. Of course, given their respective comedic track records, it's no surprise that the two immediately connected when they began working on "Ride the Eagle" as Leif and Audrey — despite never actually being in the same room together. 

The pair play exes who toss around the idea of giving their love story another go while Leif grieves his estranged mother. All the while, he's humoring a bucket list she set up for him to claim his inheritance. Carden spoke to Looper for an exclusive interview, in which she dished on what it was like working with Johnson and what went into digitally filming their scenes during the pandemic. 

"Yeah, it was definitely a different process," Carden explained. "A lot of that had to do with the pandemic, maybe most of that had to do with that — and how small the crew was, and how sort of homegrown the entire process was."

It's all about who you know

D'Arcy Carden explained how she snagged the role in "Ride the Eagle." "The first moment I was involved was a text message from Trent [O'Donnell], the other writer and director, who just asked me if I wanted to do it. None of it was the normal way this thing happens, which was really fun, and special, and sweet, and kind of made the whole thing feel a little bit more like it was ours. We had the control, and it was ... Trent and Jake are so collaborative and inviting, and really want everybody to be a part of it."

One great thing about a small production is the amount of control the actors have on their characters. "It really felt like that. It was like these characters were our own, and we have a lot of input," Carden said. "It's special and unique, and that obviously can't always happen. Filming my scenes on the phone with Jake was an interesting challenge. I think it was really fun, and it could have been a disaster. We ended up having a lot of fun with it."

Jake Johnson: All by himself

Jake Johnson was "so game" when it came to working through the trials of pandemic, D'Arcy Carden explained. "He just was like, 'Just call me whenever you guys are ready to shoot, I'll just step away from my family, or whatever I'm doing.' [Laughs] At one point, I think he was in the pool with his kids, and he was like, 'Okay, I'll hop out.' It's hard to act by yourself. Jake and I talk about this a lot." 

"He had to do so much acting by himself," Carden continued. "It's a kind of unnatural, strange, almost embarrassing thing to try to act by yourself. Having someone to play off of and react to is the easiest thing in the world. It makes everything make sense. So, it is a bit of a challenge to try ... He certainly has the harder job." She continued, "I mean, most of this movie is him acting by himself. But I remember getting a little nervous before having to shoot stuff, like, 'God, I really am going to have to do this by myself.' But having him on the phone made it so much easier and fun. It was fun. The whole shoot was so enjoyable."

"Ride the Eagle" in select theaters and on demand July 30.