Early last week I was lucky enough to be invited to another visit to one of the more upscale hotels in New York City for a roundtable interview, this time with some of the cast and the writer/director of the film ‘Bachelorette’. It’s a film I found to be better than I was expecting (my review is here), though clearly not a movie that’s for everyone. These events in Manhattan are always an interesting time, and this one was no exception. Rarely have I ever spoken with a livelier group of people, each one having a blast, sometimes amusing themselves, and always eliciting an energy that rubbed off on many of us in attendance. Sometimes I have the sneaking suspicion that some people attend these events more for the free food and drinks or the swag that sometimes comes along with press days than anything else, but when you have a fun loving group like this, it’s hard not to just enjoy your job without the added perks. We had two separate interviews conducted, one with just filmmaker Leslye Headland, and the other with the trio of Lizzy Caplan, Kirsten Dunst, and Isla Fisher. Each a unique experience and one I’ll be regaling to you as best I can below. For now though, let’s dive in and dish on ‘Bachelorette’ with the women who made the flick happen!
First up was a chat with the writer/director of ‘Bachelorette’ (as well as the play that it originated from) Leslye Headland. She was a casual woman and a fast talker, as well as someone who I learned was originally an assistant to Harvey Weinstein, though that had no impact on his company (Radius, a new shingle of The Weinstein Company) picking up this flick. She actually told a funny story about how the movie ‘Swimming with Sharks’ makes the job look tame, as well as how Harvey knew she wanted to be a writer and would always joke to her that she was too busy writing to do her work. That being said, he also praised her writing when he did finally read it, so he at least recognized her talent early on.
When asked about the reality shows ‘The Bachelor’ and ‘The Bachelorette’, Headland considered them far more vulgar and disgusting than her film. She literally said “a group of women in a room all trying to fuck a guy is much worse than a group of girls doing coke at a wedding”. Essentially, her characters have empathy on their side, while the reality TV stars and shows themselves do not.
Obviously, she was also asked about the inevitable comparisons to ‘Bridesmaids’ that her film has had pretty much since inception. Headland said that the movie opened before they started shooting and the script was locked beforehand, so there was never going to be any adjustments. In fact, they hadn’t even cast Rebel Wilson (who’s in both films yet) at that point. Literally, she said “no creative decisions were based on that film”, so everything was done based on the needs of ‘Bachelorette’.
In regards to the cast, she called the process a dream. It started with Lizzy Caplan and Adam Scott seeing the play and loving it, which led to them signing on. Next, Isla Fisher loved the script and signed on, followed by Kirsten Dunst, who also suggested James Marsden for a role. She also told a funny story of freaking out when Ann Dowd came in to read for a small part. Leslye also had nothing but kind words for everyone else in the cast.
As for what’s next, she’s got no idea in terms of directing, but she wrote a script for the remake of ‘About Last Night…’ and was quick to point out that it’s literally a remake of the film, having nothing to do with the David Mamet play that the original flick based itself on.
Our time was up after that, but it’s clear that Leslye Headland is a unique voice in cinema right now and she certainly has a future in the business if she wants it.
The main event was next, as Lizzy Caplan, Kirsten Dunst, and Isla Fisher came in for a chat. They actually seem to enjoy each other’s company, often whispering amongst themselves or telling an inside joke between two of them when the other was speaking. It definitely made for a fun interview, that’s for sure.
In terms of signing on to ‘Bachelorette’, Kirsten said that she wanted to do a comedy after ‘Melancholia’ and that all of the scripts she was getting were depressing indies until this one came along. Lizzy said she was a fan of this type of comedy and loved the play, which made sense. Isla joked that she had already played a bi-polar nymphomaniac so “playing a coke whore just made sense”. She also said it was an added bonus that the flick was filming in New York at the same time her husband Sacha Baron Cohen was filming ‘The Dictator’, so it made for a comfortable environment.
On their characters, they each had some interesting insights. Kirsten said the role appealed to her because Reagan is the opposite of who she usually plays and that it was fun to not have to be sweet and cute the whole time. Isla likes that Katie is always trying to have fun, but recognizes that the character’s issues stem from that, which was interesting to her. As for Lizzy, she spoke of how she liked just how plain old damaged her character Gena was.
The girls were also asked about the reality TV shows ‘The Bachelor’/The Bachelorette’, with Kirsten and Lizzy saying that the watch and Isla saying no. Dunst said she loves trashy TV, while Fisher admitted that with small kids, you don’t get to watch a lot of television.
They all were aware that the film is dividing audiences, but they found that to actually be a positive. Fisher mentioned that it’s sadly relevant to people, Dunst suggested that some find the movie shocking because it’s females doing the acts instead of males, while Caplan said the film bothers people in the best way since the girls don’t look like train wrecks…they look like normal women and their lives aren’t falling apart, so it rubs people the wrong way.
When asked about their favorite comedies, ironically this mostly turned into Isla and Lizzy gushing to Kirsten about ‘Bring It On’, something I found amusing to watch go on and let to a joke about Dunst needing to do a Broadway double feature of ‘Bring It On’ and ‘Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark’.
We sadly got cut off before too long, but Dunst did manage to remind us that she’s in ‘On The Road’ and that’s her next film hitting theaters, so take note of that.
Thoughts? Discuss in the comments!