Carlson Young on Directing Marisa Tomei and Her Makeup Obsession

The multitalented Carlson Young is having a good week. Her sophomore film Upgraded—starring Camila Mendes, Archie Renaux and Marisa Tomei—just hit a top slot on Amazon Prime, and, with it, the writer-turned-director has unofficially won the competitive rom-com Valentine’s Day race. We recently chatted with the 33-year-old, who shared why this project was a “dream come true” and why she’s always “all over” beauty products.

How does it feel for Upgraded to be getting all these positive reviews?

“It’s really exciting. I’m so glad that it’s come out in a time where it’s resonating. People seem to be really enjoying the film and connecting to the characters. That’s such a dream to have that happen as a director. I don’t take it for granted at all. You never know with these things. I’m very grateful.”

David Black

Where did you find the inspiration from start to finish?

“I was really inspired by the rom-coms that we all love so much—everything from Moonstruck to How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. I really felt like my entry point into this script was letting the charm of Cami and Archie and their romance breathe, but trying my best to find the nuances in the women.”

How was it directing someone like Marisa Tomei?

“Working with these legendary women was a dream come true, but I also learned a lot. I learned how, in some ways, how I was perceiving their brains to work, and they were concocting these really rich characters. I kept saying, when I was looking at the dailies, ‘This is so much more interesting than any rom-com has any right to be!’ I was like, ‘Wow, this is actually really compelling, the performances that everybody is laying down.’ And I couldn’t wait to get to that.”

David Black

Since we’re a beauty magazine, and as you know, the beginning part of the move takes place in flight…I have to ask what are some of your essential travel items or beauty products you will not go anywhere without?

“I really cannot live without my Clé de Peau concealer. I can’t live without my Sarah Maxwell fragrance. I think it’s called Liv:4. What else? I love my little water spray on my face, the Evian, that’s very nice. How deep do you want me to go? [laughs] I love the ILIA, the beautiful bronzer. I love makeup, so I’m just always all over beauty products.”



What else are you looking forward to in the next couple months?

“I just started working on my next project right now, so it’s just nothing but head-down work for the next couple of months! But I am excited because it’s in Mexico City. I’m excited to eat my way through the city!”

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