So many films about relationships focus on the road to happily ever after, but what if happily ever after is where you start? In Permission Anna (Rebecca Hall) and Will (Dan Stevens) have been each other’s first everything – first kiss, first relationship, first love – but it’s on their way to spending the rest of their lives together that they wonder if they’re missing out on something by having only been with one another.
“I had this idea based on conversations my friends were having when we were turning 30,” says writer/director Brian Crano. Knowing that any given relationship either ends or lasts the rest of your life, Crano says the film is about “exploring the cognitive dissonance between loving someone and knowing it is likely to end.”
Crano’s real life partner, David Joseph Craig, who plays Hale in the film opposite Hall’s husband, Morgan Spector as Reece, deals with his own on-screen relationship-defining decision about whether or not to have children with his partner. As the couples’ conflicts unfold amid one another, all four people have moments of self-realization.
“That’s ultimately what the movie is about – a bunch of characters through circumstances [that] are forced to confront their true selves,” says Crano. “They have needs that clash and there’s no real villain. These people all need to make that decision for themselves and they haven’t done it yet.”
Though they’ve worked together on smaller projects, this is the first feature-length film Crano and Craig have collaborated on. “I was a listening vessel to Brian while he was writing the script,” says Craig. “We all had these similar questions about life.” For Spector’s part, Craig says he was very eager to learn about the dynamics of a contemporary queer relationship. Having known Crano and Craig off-screen, he wanted to help capture a relatable gay relationship, with two people in love struggling to overcome obstacles that could affect anyone. Permission opens February 9, watch the trailer, below.