Inquirer Super

Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey want to be your ‘Holidate’

By: Pam Pastor

We’ve seen this rom-com trope before: guy or girl asks a virtual stranger to be their plus one to an event to keep nosy family members off their back.

But “Holidate” takes it a step further. Sick of being alone during holidays, Sloane, played by Emma Roberts (“Scream Queens,” “American Horror Story”), and Jackson, played by Luke Bracey (“Point Break,” “Hacksaw Ridge”), promise to be each other’s platonic date for all the holidays for an entire year.

“You really see every holiday (in this movie). We actually go to Easter and Mother’s Day and the Fourth of July . . . We even get to Cinco de Mayo and St.  Patrick’s Day so it really is like a year’s worth of holidays packed into one movie,” said Roberts during an interview over Zoom.

It’s a story that has clearly resonated with Filipino audiences (perhaps we can blame our perennially prying titas)—it’s consistently been on Neflix’s Top 10 list since it started streaming on Oct. 28 and was No. 1 for days. 

Roberts and Bracey talk about their movie, their instant chemistry and who they’d choose as their holidate. 

How different is this movie from other rom-com holiday films out there? 

Luke Bracey (LB): It knows it’s a romantic comedy and we’ve got these great moments of kind of self-awareness which I really loved, where, you know, we’re commenting on certain tropes that come with these types of movies. We also do a little bit of a flip . . . different characters are taking on the opposite role that you expect in a romantic comedy. It’s a fresh take on a genre that we all love and adore. Even if you don’t openly admit it, we all have a little soft spot in our heart for a romantic comedy.

Your chemistry was so much fun to watch. Was that something that was instant or did you have to work on it? 

Emma Roberts (ER): We were besties from the jump. We hit it off right away, don’t you think? 

LB: Yeah, it was like meeting an old friend. When we first met the first thing we did was burst into laughter at something ridiculous. It was like hanging out with someone I’ve known for years which made it so easy. There certainly wasn’t any labor involved in terms of the friendship and the connection there was. It was old friends and lasting friends.

ER: Friends forever. 

LB: Forever, ever.

Can we talk about the “Dirty Dancing” scene? 

LB: We did a little practice beforehand, we had like a little mini trampoline and some crash pads and we had the help of some professionals. The whole buildup to the actual stunt was really fun.

ER: It was really fun. I love the movie “Dirty Dancing” so it was so much fun to get to do that. I think it really is one of the best moments in the movie. 

What do you think of the concept of a holidate? Have you tried it? Would you try it? 

LB: I think it’s a brilliant idea. We all have those moments where you’re like, I got this thing and I can’t go alone and so, yeah, I will be trying it in the future, probably. 

ER: I think it’s a great idea because who likes showing up to a party by themselves? It’s always nice to have a friend or somebody to make you not feel like you’re walking into a room by yourself. It doesn’t even have to be somebody of the opposite sex necessarily, it can be a good friend or just someone that you like spending time with or a family member. It doesn’t always have to turn romantic, either. It’s just like having support when you’re out in public.

If you guys can pick anyone living or dead as your own holidate for a year, who would you want?

ER: If it’s somebody in my life, I would say my best friend Karah who I started my book club Belletrist with. She’s kind of always my holidate. But as far as a celebrity, I would love to be holidaying around with Joan Didion.

LB: I’m gonna go your route as well. My best mate Will is just the most fun, he’s just the perfect guy to take anywhere because he’s just this ball of energy and he has this giant smile and this bellowing laugh. When it comes to people past or present, I don’t know . . . maybe someone who’s funny, maybe someone like a Steve Martin-y type person . . .

ER: Now I want someone funny.

LB: Oh, I gotta tell you who would be funny. Kristen Wiig would be hilarious.

ER: That’s what I was just gonna say, I swear! Okay, we both choose Kristen Wiig. Actually I want both, I want Joan Didion and Kristen Wiig and I’ll take you and Will, too. We’ll go as a group. 

Have you guys noticed any sort of change in people’s romantic behavior during the pandemic? There’s supposedly this new phenomenon called “coving” where people are more likely to couple up because of lockdown. 

ER: I’m pregnant and with someone so I don’t know about coving. (Laughs) Luke, do you?

LB: I was staying with my parents for a number of months. (Both laugh.) It was the first time since I was like 19 so that was a whole different kind of “coving.” I got some friends that met some people just before it all happened and that kind of brought them really close together and there’s obviously stories that go the other way as well. It’s such a strange time and I think we’re all just trying to figure it out on the run. I think some beautiful stories are going to come from this in the future, obviously in a few years’ time, in the reflection of it once we’re through it. I don’t think anyone wants to watch a movie about what we’re going through right now, I think we all want to get away from what we’re going through right now.

ER: Imagine when kids ask their parents, “You lived through a pandemic?” or “You met during a pandemic?” Yeah, it’ll sound romantic one day but definitely not now.

LB: Yeah, not right now.