With swimming and men's gymnastics occupying NBC's evening shift, a fleet of the network's most beloved stars came out in support of co-writers Rashida Jones and Will McCormack at a special New York screening of Celeste and Jessie Forever in support of the International Rescue Committee. (The IRC, Jones's charity of choice, is a very good cause indeed: it works to provide aid to refugees and others uprooted by violence and oppression worldwide.) Celeste and Jesse inverts the adage "absence makes the heart grow fonder," and suggests that perhaps instead presence amplifies affection—after Jones, as Celeste, initiates a divorce from Andy Samberg's character Jesse, the two remain close friends.
"I do think there's something about losing something that really magnifies what you liked about them to begin with and it dissipates the things you didn't like," said Jones. "It's totally imbalanced in that way. I think in general you're going to idealize things that you've lost more than when they are there."
Jones and co-writer Will McCormack dated briefly (two weeks according to him, three according to her. Uh oh) and drew unselfconsciously from their own experience while writing the script. "We never even thought the movie was going to get past her backyard, so I think we felt pretty free writing it," said McCormack.
In the spirit of athleticism, we asked the film's stars and friends to compare the exertion of breaking up to any Olympic sport. ""I think beach volleyball. There's a lot of stopping and starting, and grunting, and it looks painful. And it's hot," said McCormack. An exceptionally articulate Jones compared a broken heart to swimming, "Because you're underwater and holding your breath and working hard to get to the other side. You get there and gasp for air and hope you've won."
Saturday Night Live stars took the symbolic route, with Jay Pharaoh comparing relationship travails to "leaping over the hurdles in track and field" and Abby Elliott to "the balance beam. After you break up with somebody, you have to balance your life when all you want to do is lie down on the ground, but you have to get up and get your shit together."
The evening was a tour of Manhattan's Lower East Side, with a screening at Landmark Sunshine Cinema followed by a fête at Hotel Chantelle laced with American comedic royalty. Rashida Jones and Diane Sawyer chatted like old friends, joined later by Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, Andy Cohen, and Max Greenfield.
We asked Alice + Olivia designer Stacy Bendet what women should wear after a break up. "Happy clothes! Happy, sexy, girl clothes. Dresses with flowers—although I didn't just break up with anyone!" she said. After this, we were slightly worried when a gamine Anne Hatheway walked in wearing a floral frock, but relieved to see fiancé Adam Schulman stroll in eagerly behind her. —Amanda Duberman
To read our interview with Rashida Jones, click here.