Zoe Chao Long Weekend
Zoe Chao as Vienna in Long Weekend

Steve Basilone got the idea for his new movie Long Weekend from a woman he had a brief fling with while spending an emotionally taxing six weeks visiting his mother every day in the hospital.

Basilone says the real-life events that inspired his directorial debut began two-and-a-half years ago during a tumultuous time in his life when he was simultaneously going through a divorce and visiting his dying mother. The Sony film, which stars Finn Wittrock and Zoe Chao, was released Tuesday on VOD.

“There was, like, this confluence of just a shitstorm,” Basilone told MovieMaker. “Two-and-a-half years ago, I had my colon removed after being sick for 10 years or eight years. I got better from that, and I got married, and that was like this euphoric cathartic experience — and then the wheels started to come off.”

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The experiences that Finn Wittrock’s character, Bart, has in the film are based loosely on Basilone’s own experiences, although what Bart goes through in Long Weekend is slightly different.

“My grandmother died, and then my mother got sick, was given a year to live, and then we got divorced, and that was a very public thing that was very difficult to process. And then my mom slowly died,” Basilone said. “So when I was like in the hospital in New Haven, I was just kind of at wit’s end.”

Then he met the woman who inspired Zoe Chao’s character, Vienna.

long weekend finn wittrock steven basilone

Finn Wittrock as Bart in Long Weekend

“For four or five nights over the course of six weeks, I went out with this woman who I met while in New Haven, and it was just such a kind of cathartic release because it was this weird juxtaposition of all this murky sadness,” he said. “It was like, making out in my stepdad’s car and sneaking into college parties. It was just such a welcome reprieve from the very, very real reality that I was living for most of the time.”

But when Basilone returned to Los Angeles and went back to his job writing for The Goldbergs and finishing another script, he realized that with his ex-wife, his mother, and his grandmother all gone, the only person he had left to call was the woman from Connecticut.

“I was just exhausted, and one day I was driving home and I was like, I just want a comforting voice. I want someone to talk to,” he said. “So I was like, well, I’ll call my friend from Connecticut. And as soon as I called, and I got a message that just kind of said [in] one of those robot voices, ‘This is a number that doesn’t exist.’”

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He added: “I just had this brief flash of, like, no one ever met her. How far can you stretch your psyche before you full-on, you know, Fight Club yourself — before you have a psychotic break?” Basilone said.

“That just became the seed of an idea for this movie that had somewhat been gestating. I had a couple of ideas swimming around, and that just kind of came from them all squishing together,” he said. “I wanted to write something that was small enough that I thought I could actually get people to buy it and make it. So you know, mostly [it’s] two people in a room talking, then putting this twist on it tries to make it feel a little bit bigger than it is — but that’s essentially what it is. It’s really just two people in a few locations.”

Long Weekend is now available to rent, buy and stream on VOD platforms.

Main Image: Finn Wittrock as Bart in Long Weekend.