If you haven’t checked out Palm Springs over on Hulu, here’s your warning: Spoilers Ahead!
After a bit of a drought on the romantic comedy front this year, Palm Springs just came out with a crossbow and hit audiences in just the right spot with its warmly-received release. The new movie is a fresh spin on the concept of time loops explored before in Groundhog’s Day, following Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Andy Samberg and How I Met Your Mother’s Cristin Milioti finding themselves stuck in the same desert wedding over and over.
In a movie full of twists, something I definitely wasn’t expecting out of Palm Springs was a Quantum Physics montage featuring Cristin Milioti’s Sarah using her infinite days to learn how to beat the time loop that she and Andy Samberg’s Nyles have been stuck in for who knows how long. According to the actress, she really did the work to understand her character’s newfound science knowledge, but not all of it made it into the film. In Milioti’s words:
There was a three-page speech Sarah had about quantum physics and how she figures out the time loop. They sat with physicists, FaceTimed with scientists, and it was actually fully down. I have a whole folder — wait, I just want to make sure I’m saying some of these things right, because this was a while ago — it’s the Cauchy theory, which is a black-hole theory. And I have a folder called “Cauchy You Stay.” It’s just about the different types of black holes and how they work. Anyway, I did all this research, I had this three-page speech that I was saying pretty much whenever I wasn’t on set. I was in the shower reciting it over and over, brushing my teeth, and really taking a deep dive so I could understand it as best I could. There’s a ton of YouTube videos about “Quantum Physics for Dummies.” And then they cut the whole scene. Maybe a couple of lines made it. I remember when I saw it for the first time I was like, ‘What?!’
The scene is impressive in and of itself, but we had no idea the actress actually studied up on actual black hole theories for Palm Springs. As Cristin Milioti told Vulture, quantum physics once had a much more prominent place in the script that she practiced for intently, but it didn’t end up making the final cut of the film. The three-page scene was apparently deemed too long, even though it explained the minutiae of a plan that ultimately saved the couple from an infinity of sameness.
It’s also refreshing to hear the filmmakers actually consulted scientists for the film (even if time loops are theoretical). Milioti said everything she’s spewing via FaceTime during the montage is actual science stuff that had been researched for the film. I think that beats Avengers: Endgame time travel logic, right? Aside from the actress delving into complicated science, she also had to get that dance number down with Andy Samberg and shoot a lot of takes in the same location on the same day… but like on a different day. Not easy.
Palm Springs premiered at the Sundance Film Festival back in January and was so adored, and it was ultimately nabbed by Hulu for a record-breaking $17 million… and 69 cents. No really. The extra change allowed the rom-com to sneak past the record held by The Birth of a Nation. It seemed to pay off considering, the film's high praise: 94% from critics and 90% from audiences on Rotten Tomatoes.