Yesterday I told you all about how much I loved Admission, the new comedy drama directed by Paul Weitz and starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd. I attended the New York press junket to chat with the cast about what went into making Admission such a hilarious and heartwarming film. Here’s a peek at what makes Admission such a great film from the stars themselves.
TINA FEY (30 Rock, Date Night) as Portia Nathan
On what drew her to the role:
I think that the idea that this was such a rich story. There are so many roles where women are chasing motherhood and desperate to experience motherhood. I really thought it was interesting that this character was very clear that she did not want to be a mother and she did not want to be married or experience any of that, and yet she had to face the reality that this person does exist and how is this going to work within her life. I thought that was a nice thing that I hadn’t seen before.
On parents looking at their children’s college acceptance as validation of their parenting:
I do think that that’s true, that they think it’s a referendum on their parenting, on how well they did, which is such a dangerous trap that we all fall into. I know I will go too far thinking we have to have the nicest cookies for the cookie thing and then they end up on the ground in a matter of minutes. So I think avoiding those kinds of traps and trying to be present for your children is a life long lesson that I still keep trying to learn.
On working with comedic legend Lily Tomlin:
It was so great, I was so starstruck to be meeting her, let alone trying to act opposite her, but she was so warm and so into really doing everything fully and doing it right. In almost every scene, Lily has some incredibly complicated physical thing that she’s doing. In our first scene ,she’s putting together a bike and she said “No I have to really do it, I have to be assembling it” which, I don’t know if you’re ever tried to fix a chain on a bike, but you want to immediately jump off a bridge. Meanwhile she’s doing all of our dialogue, she just incredible. In another scene she’s making sausage, for real. And she is just such an electric personality on screen. If there is any slight change or variation in a take you can feel her just taking it in and be excited by it, she really has kind of an improviser’s spirit where she is just constantly, genuinely listening to her scene partner and reacting to what they’re doing. She’s just so great.
On working with 12 year old Travaris Spears:
It’s funny, you have such a fragile relationship with these young actors on set because you are the adult to them for this period of time, but you also don’t want to be creepy and overly bond with them and then after filming it’s just “Bye!” so you walk a fine line. I remember this one day we were at lunch with Travaris, and I remember I sent Trevaris back to work on his plate at lunch because I took one look at it and said “No buddy, no colors on that plate, try again.” But later on that same day, neither you [Paul Rudd] nor I stopped him from drinking a LOT of fruit punch or something really sugary where we just watched and said “Oh boy!” We all sort of sat that one out because he’s not really our kid.
On whether she thinks it is harder to get into a New York City kindergarten or Princeton:
New York City kindergarten for sure! So many kids living on this little island and how can you possibly evaluate a 5 year old? What if you take them that day and they have to poop? It’s over!
On parenting chat rooms and message boards that were also spoofed in the final episodes of 30 Rock:
I have seen them. I don’t know how to post on any of those so I can promise you I have never posted but I have seen people pretending to be me post on Urban Baby. I had a friend call me and ask if I was on Urban Baby and I didn’t know what that was and I had to check it out. But I do think some of them are some of the worst human behavior that I have ever seen, just terrible. There’s no one running Urban Baby or they would fix it. Also someone on Urban Baby once called me a “wide load.” While not inaccurate, it did not seem necessary.
PAUL RUDD (This is 40, Anchorman) as John Pressman
On what drew him to the role:
For John, the character that I was playing, a guy that if you look at what he does all of these attributes seem incredibly appealing and very cool and yet really the character is very selfish and secure in the way that he’s set his life up for himself and it isn’t working in the way that it used to and I liked that aspect of it too.
On how playing a parent impacts his relationship with his real life children:
When I had my first child, my son is now 8, I was very nervous about having a kid, like everybody is. Even though I was excited, there were so many unknowns, and I remember somebody saying to me, “A child will adapt to your life, you don’t need to adapt to the child’s life” and so I thought, “That’s great! I like that!” I remember for the first few months, if we wanted to go out to dinner, we just took our kid, and I think that this character has a little bit of that in spades. He still really trying to will that to be true and I found also in my own life that “You know what, I need to start adapting my life a little bit” because I want what’s best for my child and that’s what this character is really realizing too. What I got from the film as far as lessons go it wasn’t so much that I learned this lesson but that it was enhanced.
On what he is currently working on:
The next thing I’m working on is Anchorman 2 and after that I don’t know what I’m doing. By the way, as Anchorman 2 was originally conceived, we wanted to do it as a Broadway musical. That was our ideal. For years it was discussed and we were all on board but no one would pay for it. Imagine that. And then we were going to do a movie of it, but it was originally supposed to be a Broadway musical.
PAUL WEITZ, director (About a Boy, In Good Company)
On whether he considered other possible endings to Portia’s story:
No. The movie is so much about not getting what you expect in life but understanding that if you have the ability to change and grow that that’s really the greatest tool because both these characters [Portia and John] have to change so much to fall for each other.
On dealing with the sensitive issue of adoption:
My best friends growing up was adopted and ended up when he was in his 20’s finding out that his birth mother had passed away but finding his birth sister. I know it’s a very hard thing to negotiate and not be afraid of and I really wanted to be respectful of the adopted parents in the movie. There’s a point where Jeremiah says “I don’t want to hurt my parents, they’re my parents” meaning his parents that brought him up. The idea was that he did want to reach out and find who his birth mother was but those are his parents and he loves them and doesn’t want to hurt them. That to me was a really key thought in here and something I did not want to forget about.
Admission directed by Paul Weitz and starring Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, Lily Tomlin, Michael Sheen and Wallace Shawn hits theaters everywhere March 22nd.
Click here to read my review of this fabulous film.
Click here to view the trailer online.