Look familiar? The new film “The Humans” follows the most time-honored recipe of all for Thanksgiving dinner: Food, family, and a whole lot of drama. The movie, out this week in theaters and on Showtime (a ViacomCBS company), is based on the Tony Award-winning Broadway play, about a family gathered at a couple’s newly-rented New York City apartment.
Steven Yeun and Beanie Feldstein are the couple; Jayne Houdyshell (who won a Tony for originating the role on Broadway) is her Mom; Richard Jenkins is her Dad; and Amy Schumer is the big sister. June Squibb also stars as Grandma.
The apartment itself is a nightmare, so correspondent Tracy Smith met up with the cast at the slightly more elegant Gotham Bar and Grill in Manhattan.
Smith asked, “What do you think it is about Thanksgiving that lends itself to family drama?”
“It is intense; Thanksgiving is intense,” Schumer replied.
“I turn into, like, ‘son’ whenever I go back home,” Yeun laughed.
“That’s your role, that’s your predesignated role?”
“Yeah. And you have to, like, battle that, expand that, but also honor that.”
Houdyshell said, “I mean, the meal’s nice, but basically the kind of things that I think about are the preparation with my sisters.”
Feldstein said, “I love the food, obviously, and I love seeing family members that I don’t get to see that often. But I don’t really like gravy. And it kind of freaks me out, if I’m honest. Gravy freaks me out!”
Schumer said, “I hate where Thanksgiving came from, just the rest of the origins of our country – the colonization, raping and pillaging of women. But love green bean casserole! Holler!”
And Schumer might be able to make her own soon: her husband, chef Chris Fischer, is teaching her to cook on TV, in the Food Network series, “Amy Schumer Learns to Cook.”
Smith asked, “Have your cooking skills improved since you’ve done the show? Are you getting better at this?”
“Uhm, no,” Schumer replied. “No. Really.”
The film mixes family trauma and tradition, like smashing a peppermint pig and saying what you’re grateful for. And (minus the pig) Smith asked the cast to do the same.
Schumer volunteered: “I’ll go first: My publicist is, like, family to me! No, I’m just kidding.”
Yeun said, “I am honestly grateful for life. it feels nice to see you guys again.”
Feldstein said, “I’m grateful for togetherness. I didn’t get to see my partner for over a year because of the pandemic. And I think I’d rather be together, with all of the feelings that come with being together with people, than ever be isolated every again.”
Houdyshell said, “I’m grateful for this reunion, for sure. It’s really nice to be back together.”
“I’m grateful for my family, and I say that because I don’t know how I got this family,” said Jenkins. “It is such a terrific group – my kids and their kids. It’s kind of beautiful. And that’s what I’m thankful for.”
“I’m also thankful for Richard’s family,” said Schumer, “because honestly we can’t stand him, so it’s nice that someone, somewhere … Okay, I’m really grateful that I had the time to really check out my health, and what was going on, and I treated my endometriosis. And it has made me a completely different mother, and person, and I can run with my son — I don’t, but I could, you know, if I wanted to. But really. it’s, like, kind of a miracle I was able to have a baby with how bad my endometriosis was. So, I am so grateful that I get to be a mom.”
The movie may be about one family, but in many ways it’s about every family – and a holiday that brings us together, whether we like it or not.
Jenkins said, “It depends on the Thanksgiving; some are wonderful, and some … you wish they’d end. And now that I have more, I have grandchildren, we’re trying to figure out who’s coming where, when, and so, it’s been stressful. But I can’t wait for it.”