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"All through my life what I've loved doing is watching movies. I love the escapism of film, I love stories. So it is incredible to be able to be in them as much as I am, to see them from the first stitch in a costume to the end product."
Home » Career » Filmography | 2010-2019

Tagline: A comedy about acting your age and other adult decisions.
Keira as: Megan Birch
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Duration: 99 minutes
Written by: Andrea Seigel
Directed by: Lynn Shelton
Other cast: Sam Rockwell, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ellie Kemper, Mark Webber
Release date: October 24, 2014 (limited)
Production budget: $5m
Total worldwide gross: $1.06m
Filming locations: Seattle, Washington, USA

Overeducated and underemployed, 28-year-old Megan (Keira Knightley) is in the throes of a quarter-life crisis. Squarely into adulthood with no career prospects, no particular motivation to think about her future, and no one to relate to, Megan is comfortable lagging a few steps behind while her friends check off milestones and celebrate their new grown-up status. When her high-school sweetheart (Mark Webber) proposes, Megan panics and—given an unexpected opportunity to escape for a week—hides out in the home of her new friend, 16-year old Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz) and Annika’s world-weary single dad Craig (Sam Rockwell). Director Lynn Shelton (Your Sister’s Sister, Humpday) crafts a sweet, romantic coming-of-age comedy about three people who find their lives intertwined in the most unconventional way as they make their way through the imperfect realities of modern-day life.

Production Info
  • Anne Hathaway was cast in the lead role but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts with her movie Song One and Interstellar. She was replaced by Keira Knightley.
  • Shelley is a California Desert Tortoise. She was a class pet in a Seattle middle school at the time of filming.
  • Paul Rudd was originally set to play the role of Craig, which later went to Sam Rockwell.
  • Annika has a pet turtle named Lynn. According to Lynn Shelton on her director’s commentary, this was in the original script and not a reference to her. The turtle’s real name is Shelly, which also happens to be similar to the director’s last name. It was originally a dog before being changed to a turtle for budgetary reasons.
  • Rebecca Hall turned down the lead role to star in Transcendence.
  • This film is also known as Say When in some international markets.
  • Character Quotes
  • Sure, it does seem kind of stupid to make some sort of rigid plan for the future, but… But it’s stupider not to start paying attention to who you are and what makes you happy. Otherwise you just float.
  • I just needed a second of personal time, you know? It’s a week, but in terms of my life, it’s more like just a second to get my shit together.
  • I don’t think we should finger-bang in the street.
  • Look, I swear on whatever you want me to swear on, I really like your dad, I wasn’t faking it.
  • However I acted around you, that was true. Whatever happened between us, that was true. And I know that I shouldn’t have kissed you. I know I shouldn’t have done that. It just got so confusing. I had this feeling like I was already in love with you.
  • I’m a snake. I’m a snake that’s been dragging my old skin around with me for way too long.
  • OK, I’m gonna tell you two things that I’ve got some perspective on after being out of high school for a while now. The first is that a lot of the math they’re teaching you that they swear you’ll use in your life, you won’t. You’re never gonna need to use parabolas and you really don’t need to know shapes that have more than eight fucking sides. The second. The second, which I’ve only got some perspective on recently, but it’s this. You can’t keep putting aside what you want for some imaginary future. You’ve just got to suck it up and go with your gut.
  • Anthony: My dad used to make yipping sounds when I first started to take you out because he said it was puppy love.
    Megan: I know. I remember.
    Anthony: Yeah, well, you know, but it wasn’t puppy love.
    Megan: No. I mean, unless we stayed puppies for a seriously long time.
  • Megan: I saw my dad cheat on my mom tonight.
    Annika: Really?
    Megan: Yeah. I think he was about to get a hand job.
  • Megan: What’s going on with me?
    Ed: Yeah.
    Megan: I saw you. I saw you. So right now, I don’t even wanna look at you.
    Ed: Let’s just quietly talk about this for a second.
    Megan: Talk about what? I’m sorry, talk about what?
    Ed: I don’t know. People grow together, they grow apart. It… it’s always shifting.
    Megan: Oh, right. Three decades of marriage to Mom, and you’re gonna describe what I saw as shifting?
  • Megan: You know, when I was in high school, there was a guy that everyone said liked me. It was all I heard about from my friends. But he never acted on it, so I kept getting unsure.
    Annika: Well, did he ever do anything about it?
    Megan: Yeah. Sophomore year, he asked me to be his girlfriend in front of everyone.
    Annika: Oh! Did you like him?
    Megan: Yeah, he was cute, kind of artsy. He’d notice these details about the world and talk about them in a way that no other high-school guy would. And he was always taking pictures and pulling quotes out of nowhere, which I thought was pretty deep. But… but maybe it was the start of a habit of waiting for other people to make decisions for me.
  • Craig: So what’s up with that Junior kid? Is my daughter in love with that Rico Suave kid?
    Megan: Whoa. That’s… that’s friend-friend privilege. Can’t talk about that.
    Craig: Not much going on between the ears on that one, is there?
    Megan: You know, at the moment, she doesn’t need him to be smart.
    Craig: Yeah, I guess it’s easier when you’re young. All you need from someone is to feel stupid around ’em.
    Megan: What do you need when you’re older?
  • Megan: Do I have something on my face?
    Annika: Yeah. My dad’s saliva.
    Megan: Oh, shit.
  • Anthony: So I checked the chapel’s photographer out. He’s no me, but he’s done some OK work.
    Megan: I think we’re gonna have to paste in the Caribbean behind us so our parents think we went further away and couldn’t invite them.
  • Megan: I’m dropping out. I’m dropping out of the group.
    Anthony: OK. I mean, that’s… that’s OK, because that’s them and you can just cut down on the amount of time you hang out with them, because that’s just them, that’s not us.
    Megan: No. No. No, you’re still part of the group. You and me, we’re… we’re somewhere back there, you know. We’re in the past.
  • Megan: So, did you hear the one about the grown woman who fell in love with the really pissed-off lawyer?
    Craig: Is it funny?
    Megan: It’s really funny.
  • Quoting: Keira Knightley

    on her character: I think everyone I know is like Megan, or different versions of her. I think that’s the thing about this character. Particularly with people of our generation, it seems very right, and really common, that sort of float, and that feeling of ‘Am I doing the right thing?’ The problem of Generation Y is that feeling of ‘I should be doing something to live up to my potential. Am I living up to my potential? Am I doing the right thing? Am I with the right person?’

    on relating to her character: I think it’s impossible for any human being not to have had moments of going, “Am I in the right the place? Am I doing the right thing? Am I behaving in the right way?” I mean, you know, you question all the time. No, I’ve never had it to the extent of going, “I’m with the wrong friends, I’m with the wrong person, I don’t have a job.” You know, she’s having quite an extreme moment. So, no, I’ve never had it to that extreme, but I think this is a story that anybody at any different point in life and any different walk of life, you’re a human being. Of course you kind of question where you’re at or where you’re going.

    on the lack of improvisation: It was more scripted than normal Lynn Shelton things and less scripted than most things that I do. I think we did play around a bit. Sam [Rockwell] played around a lot, but mostly sort of around the script. We didn’t change anything. But yeah, I think for Lynn it was really interesting because it’s normally completely improvised. This is the first time, I think, that she’s worked on a script that wasn’t her own.

    on her change of direction: I think it was just something that was really different for me. I’ve never done, really, anything like this, and I’m certainly not at the top of anybody’s list for this type of role, so I was really sort of touched when Lynn kind of got in touch and said, “Hey, I think that you could do this really well.” I’m much more known for kind of quite taut, British, obviously, but neurotic kind of thing I’ve been doing over years — darker kind of characters. It was just a lovely challenge, and I really loved the script. I think you see that sort of mid-life crisis sort of thing a lot with male characters, but you don’t often see it — well, you’re seeing it more now with female characters, but it’s always been interesting that there weren’t more stories like this kind of out there, so I really sort of connected to it.

    on her attraction to the script: I love arrested-development stories and I always thought it was quite interesting that it wasn’t generally seen that women have the same thing as men, and they do, and lots of my friends do, and so yeah, I responded to that. I thought it was a lovely thing.

    on working with co-star Sam Rockwell: He’s amazing. Actually, he’s not when he’s playing complete psychopaths — then you sort of go, “Oh my God, you’re the creepiest person in the world.” But apart from that, he’s really sexy. He’s very sexy in Moon, too, he’s got that kind of ability. He’s a chameleon, he can just do whatever.

    on working with co-star Chloë Grace Moretz: She’s wicked. What’s really lovely about her is that yes, she’s a total old pro. She’s so confident, and she’s so much fun, and she’s so outgoing — but equally she’s totally like a teenager, and that’s what’s really lovely. She’s always giggly and jumping all over the place, which is nice, because you can work with kids who’ve been doing it for a long time and you think: ‘You’re behaving like me!’ If you choose to work with young people, you should encourage them to behave like young people, and that’s what I love about her.

    on working with director Lynn Shelton: Lynn is so chilled out. I think we had 25 days to shoot this, which is a lot in a short amount of time. She makes you feel like you’ve got all the time in the world, there is absolutely no stress on her set whatsoever, which is miraculous really, so it helps with being more relaxed. Most directors are like generals or dictators, because it is like an army that’s underneath them. But there was no hierarchy. Lynn didn’t just know everybody’s name, she knew their partner’s name, their kid’s name, their kid’s school. You felt like you could make a mistake and it would be OK.

    Quoting: Cast and Crew

    Director Lynn Shelton: You think of her as this statuesque object of desire in Atonement and stuffed and bodiced in Jane Austen adaptations and Anna Karenina. But the first time we ever saw her, she was a soccer player in Bend it Like Beckham. And you know, she was physically free and loose-limbed. Even in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, I remember being so struck by her and how confident she was in her 18 year-old skin it blew my mind. So I missed seeing that side of her and that’s what inspired me to cast her. She has a lot of charm and she is a 17 year-old in a lot of ways. She rolls onto her parent’s couch, twirls the tax sign for her dad and uses a skateboard. I love the physicality of her and was so glad to put it to use.

    Co-star Sam Rockwell: Thank god we got Keira. She did great. And she had so little time to prepare. She was getting married. She was prepping with a dialect coach after her honeymoon. […] Even the drunk scene in Pirates of the Caribbean, with Johnny Depp where they’re drinking rum on the beach, you can tell she’s got a little punk rock in her. And it’s the kind of thing that Melanie Griffith did in Something Wild. That’s one of the greatest movies ever made. Ray Liotta. It’s how he got Goodfellas But Melanie has that same thing that Keira has in Bend It Like Beckham. You can’t really describe it. You know, it’s just somebody you want to go to a rock concert with.

    Critical Response

    Inkoo Kang, The Wrap:

    Of course this is Knightley’s movie, and she’s a loose-limbed revelation as a pretty-but-normal-looking woman who just can’t take things seriously enough to pull her life together. The movie’s partly on her side, too, admitting that adulthood demands respect for, or at the very least feigned interest in, a lot of truly dumb things, like bachelorette parties. […] Laggies isn’t quite the similarly winsome raunchfest that Bridesmaids was, but it does give Knightley plenty of opportunities to use the kind of earthy language verboten in her Regency-era projects. Knightley’s delightfully uncouth here, as are the nasal inflections she uses to make Megan a little whiny all the time, even when she’s in a good mood.

    Emma Meyers, IndieWire:

    Knightley delivers what is perhaps her best performance outside of a period piece in quite some time: whether dancing street side with a giant arrow in hand, flipping a skateboard in her bridesmaid dress, or tweaking the nipples of a giant golden Buddha, her character manages to grow from annoying to endearing over the course of the film’s three acts.

    Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times:

    The film is sly in the way it plays with the age difference between them. Moretz has an interesting blend of ingenue and old soul about her. As to Knightley, her slight, boyish frame helps. But it’s also the way the actress is making herself at home in lighter films, like the delightful Begin Again, from earlier this summer, in which she spends her time navigating the New York music scene with Mark Ruffalo. You almost forget that the actress made her mark in serious period pieces playing trussed-up women — Pride & Prejudice, which earned her an Oscar nomination, and Atonement, in 2007, for example. With the coming The Imitation Game opposite Benedict Cumberbatch, the pair of them code-crackers caught up in British spy intrigues circa World War II, it seems she’s achieving a nice balance between dark and light.

    Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle:

    If you look back on Laggies after seeing it, you’ll have the pleasure of understanding just how Knightley put together her performance. You’ll see that all of Megan’s actions have proceeded from a fear of facing one specific reality. At the same time, within this frame, her performance is so loose that it just seems as if it’s being made up on the spot. And of course, the director gets some of the credit for that.

    Justin Chang, Variety:

    Knightley has taken on any number of daring change-of-pace roles in recent years, from her bold display of mental illness in A Dangerous Method to her musical turn in Begin Again, and while this is scarcely a taxing part by comparison, it allows the actress to reveal yet another winning yet underexposed side of her talent. Some are sure to gripe that Knightley is too attractive for the role of a slackerish Everywoman (she and Garlin certainly don’t seem to hail from neighboring gene pools, let alone the same one). But from her slightly nasal vocal inflection to the sly facial twitches that provide a window into her goofy thought processes, she gives a physically and emotionally dexterous performance that would easily sustain a weaker script than this one. The actress generates a warm, effortless chemistry with Moretz and Rockwell, both bringing humor, decency and a certain wounded pride to their own beaten-down characters.