One of today’s foremost purveyors of “mumblecore” cinema – a derisive pigeonholing label for low budget indies which often involve the Duplass Brothers and sonorous dialogue – Joe Swanberg has managed to carve out a special niche for himself with his low-key hangout films, usually made in collaboration with “New Girl” actor Jake Johnson, such as the charming “Drinking Buddies” and “Digging for Fire.” Swanberg and Johnson scored their biggest mainstream success to date with this year’s Netflix original feature “Win It All” starring Johnson as a raffish gambling addict, and Swanberg is carrying on the momentum of his newfound recognition with a second season of his Netflix anthology series “Easy.”
Set in Swanberg’s beloved native Chicago, the first season of “Easy” adhered to a loose template following the sex lives of a disparate collection of couples and singles, with the episodes usually depicting a self-contained misadventure, such as Orlando Bloom and Malin Akerman’s frisky couple trying and failing to organise a threesome with their babysitter Kate Micucci, but some characters also recurred across episodes including Dave Franco and Evan Jonigkeit’s garage brewers.
There are no signs of Swanberg tampering with that template too much in the second season, which will depict a new collection of Chicagoites falling in and out of love, alongside several familiar faces from the first season, including podcast king Marc Maron who starred alongside Emily Ratajkowski in the standout episode “Art and Life.”
Maron illuminated the improvisational aspect of “Easy” on a recent episode of the “Kernels” podcast, disclosing that, “The thing about working with Swanberg is you don’t know what’s going to happen in those scenes coz he really gives you very little, it’s barely an outline in terms of what’s going to happen in the scene […] So the emotions that happen on the takes – of which you don’t do many – are fairly genuine as long as you’re present.”
Returning from the first season as well are Micucci, Franco, Jonigkeit, Jane Adams, Zazie Beetz, Michael Chernus, Aya Cash and Kiersey Clemons, while new additions to the cast include Aubrey Plaza, Kate Berlant, Joe Lo Truglio, Michaela Watkins and Judy Greer. “Easy” will launch on Netflix on December 1st.