Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Friends with Kids and er....benefits?

by contributor Courtney Cohen 
Photo Credit: JoJo Whilden

Jennifer Westfeldt is one neat lady.  She’s written, directed and stars in this spring’s cutest romantic comedy making her one heck of a triple threat, but wait- there’s more.

She’s super clever with a Yale degree to boot, she’s got Jon Hamm on her arm (these two have been together over a decade) and, as she points out on screen in her new movie Friends with Kids, she really does have great hair. 

Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm

Last Friday we sat down for a cup of tea with Ms. Westfeldt and started by asking her if any of the performances surprised her while directing what Entertainment Weekly has called “Spring’s Sexiest Cast” that includes Megan Fox, Maya Rudolph, Kristin Wiig and Adam Scott.  Westfeldt told us:

"That surprised me, well I mean not.  I wouldn’t say surprised me just because I knew how wonderful these actors were and I was so grateful that they said yes and that they wanted to do this project. But, I think the surprise is that you can hope and you can pray that if you cast it well with such talented people that you’ll be able to pull it off in what is an Indie film shot in such a short amount of time. You get very few takes, very few shooting days. We had kids and babies and toddlers."

Adam Scott
Set in New York, we asked her about the role of a good cinematographer. When you see the movie you’ll know- this is very much a love letter to New York City. 

On her cinematographer Westfeldt said: 

"Will Rexor is literally the nicest man alive. He is a wonderful partner and a wonderful collaborator and again, I don’t think this movie would have been possible without him. Every scene that you see in the film was me and Will - you know, stealing a shot when we were on location scouting - and I had to show passing of time, so we would just grab a camera whenever we could and we collected so many scenes which is what made that sort of time passing possible."  

We had to ask about the kids in Friends with Kids. We’ve all seen parents lose their cool with their little ones, but working with children and trying to direct them on camera ?!! We couldn’t even imagine what that was like.

Maya Rudolph and Jennifer Westfeldt
"So the child, Theo Mitchell is his name, is the son of one of our production lawyers on the movie and I saw his picture because we were just reaching out to people in our lives. Like you know, send us pictures of your 12 month old and maybe he wants to be in the movies and (then) I saw this picture of Theo and he looked so much like Adam’s son Graham, but he had blonde hair like me so it was sort of this amazing likeness and I didn’t know what was going to happen;  but you know, Theo ended up being the brightest light on our set. 

We were all so excited when he got there because he’s so just this child that lights up the world and he ends up being the most charismatic."
After a few more minutes of oohing and ahhing about the cuteness of her onscreen son we had time for one more question for Jennifer - the future of women in the film business. She’s forged her own path and is making the movies she wants to make so we wanted to know how she felt about the other women filmmakers working today. 

Adam Scott and Jennifer Westfeldt
"Well, I think we’re actually, we’re at a really great moment right now for women. I’ve never seen as many women writing and generating their own work as they are right now. I mean Sundance had 5 movies where women were writing for themselves and it’s incredible that you know with the success of Bridesmaids, Kristen and Annie’s amazing success with that script and Tina’s success on 30 Rock - Miranda Dumai, Julie Delpy, the young Lena Dunham," she said

Jennifer Westfeldt is an incredibly gracious woman who has made a sweet, funny, charming movie. We enjoyed every minute of it. And the best part- we got to drink tea and chat!

Watch the trailer here: