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Q&A – Motherhood‘s Anthony Edwards Has a “Great Day” With Uma Thurman

Motherhood‘s Anthony Edwards Has a “Great Day” With Uma Thurman” width=”560″/>

Anthony Edwards plays Uma Thurman’s absent-minded husband in the comedy Motherhood, a movie which takes place over the course of a hectic 24-hour period in New York. Edwards, who himself is the father of four, definitely relates, but it was the movie’s realistic take on the subject matter that got him back to work, as he tells AMCtv.com.

Q: I actually live in the West Village, where this film was shot. I can see you were true to the neighborhood.

A: It’s a great neighborhood. But yeah, it’s not like in some movies where you go out the door and then suddenly you’re at Barneys uptown: “Wait a second, how did they get there in a block and a half?” This felt more realistic, and that kind of authentic storytelling is what a good character-driven comedy needs, because you’ve got to hang it on something. And not just authentic with New York — it’s more what life is like for all parents.

Q: Parents, especially mothers, often become stereotypes in movies. The earth mother, the wicked stepmother, etc. Why do you think that is?

A: Our Hollywood storytelling medium has been so male-driven and
commercially-driven, literally, in the idea of what sells. There is no
reason why the subject of motherhood can’t have a lot of humor and have
as much meaning to it as a father-son story of coming of age.

To
be able to tell a story like this about marriage and parenthood with
complexity and with humor is risky. This movie has nothing to fall back
on. There’s no car chase. There’s no huge plot point that will have a
MacGuffin ending to it. It really relies on the journey of these
characters over 24 hours, and that’s putting a lot of responsibility on
really good performances, really good writing, and moment-to-moment
connections. It’s kind of a studio’s nightmare, “Oh my God, if they
screw it up, we have no movie.” But that’s a nice line to be on.

Q: Like the scene you had with Uma Thurman in the car — what was it like to shoot that? 

A: That was a great day, and a complicated one, because we had
rain coming in and out. It was a big thunderstorm time of the year, and
we had to move the car, and we were losing light — all the time
pressures of that. There was a lot of dialogue to get through, and
we’re shooting on the street, not a sound stage. At the time, I didn’t
go, “Oh, we nailed that scene!” because I was too busy doing the scene.

Q: If you had found a rare Emerson book, as your character
Avery does, what would you do with the book, or the money that’s it
worth?

A: If my wife was in the situation Uma’s in? I’d like to think I
did what Avery did. It would be a selfish thing if you didn’t put your
family before yourself. Most people do, it’s just no one writes a song
about it. But my wife doesn’t need the $27,000 that the book is worth,
so it would go to raising funds for a children’s hospital in Kenya.

Q: When you took off from ER, it was because you wanted to move into directing. Is that still the case?

A: Yeah. I have projects and things coming around. I’ve just
spent so much happy time in the last six years of not working, that
when I do work, it’s because something like this came up, or the Rob
Reiner movie [Flipped], or doing David Fincher’s Zodiac.
If I was just an actor, I would just do theater. That’s really where
you put it on the edge, and that’s where the fun and joy of
in-the-moment acting is for me. Film, the actual process of it, is
tedious, if you’re just an actor. But the mechanics of it, the
organization and the collaboration, that’s a part I love.

Q: In Flipped, you’ll play the opposite of your part in Motherhood

A: I play the dad who’s the most checked out — he’s not there
and drinks too much. We’re a really unhappy family. Aidan Quinn gets to
be the sensitive and lovely dad. Go for it, Aidan, have fun!

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