Life As We Know It pairs Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel as polar opposites forced to put their differences aside so they can raise their best friends’ orphaned child. While the situation sounds primed for a sitcom, the movie hits honest notes when it comes to parenthood, dating, and the difficulty of making sacrifices so that someone else can live a better life. When we sat down with these two gifted comedians, we discussed bad dates, good adoptions, and getting in tune with one’s inner child.
Q: The movie begins with the two of you suffering through a nightmarish blind date. Were you drawing on personal experiences to make that scene believable?
Katherine Heigl: [Laughs] I’ve actually never been fixed up.
Josh Duhamel: Me neither. I’ve had plenty of awkward moments.
KH: Oh, yes, lots of those.
JD: But I was always in relationships. Dating always scared the crap out of me, for this reason. This is a good example of why I didn’t date.
KH: But then how did you wind up in the relationships?
JD: Well, I had to make very sure that I wanted to date this person.
KH: So you would just stalk them for a while.
JD: Yes. I would do a complete recon.
KH: [Laughs] Dig into their background.
JD: Yes, and I’d make sure that I wanted to be with them before we started dating.
KH: That’s so interesting and weird.
JD: No. Do you know when you really feel like you don’t just want to say, “Oh, I might like her. I guess I’ll go on a date”?
KH: So you never met anybody in a bar and just went out on a dinner date the next night and had a terrible time? That never happened to you?
JD: I’m sure it did. I was just so drunk from the night before that I don’t remember. [Laughs]
KH: I have only one bad one. No, I’ve had a couple, but the worst was a trainer. I was eighteen or twenty pounds heavier and was trying really hard to work it off at the gym. My trainer asked me out. But he took me to Sizzler and he gave me his head shot and asked if I could get him into my agency. I knew it wasn’t the extra twenty pounds that turned him on.
Q: The baby in the film is played by a set of triplets. What were they like as co-stars?
JD: Before we started shooting, [director Greg Berlanti] had me go to
Atlanta to acclimate myself with the kids and have them get comfortable
with me. And that was huge for us in the movie because they really
responded to me. Katherine was in the middle of adopting her own child
at the time, so she couldn’t come early. But I went out there and got to
know these kids really well. It was helpful then because we didn’t have
to take them off the set all of the time. They could stay there and play
and live on the set while we were shooting, which helped make them feel
Q: And could it also be because all girls like you?
KH: They could be little boys. It doesn’t matter. Children like Josh.
JD: I have an affinity for kids, and they seem to like me. I think
it’s because we can understand each other on the same emotional level.
Q: Katherine, how did you acclimate yourself once you made it to the set.
KH: I took control! It’s an alpha thing. They just needed to know who
was in charge. No, I’m kidding. Thankfully, I had just gotten familiar
with the holding and comforting of a child, so I could do that mothering
instinct a little bit, though it was still so new to me. But [Josh]
was fantastic, working hard to get to know those babies, and I had to
kind of do it cold, so they did not like me as much.
JD: That’s not true.
KH: But at least I had one in my trailer who did.
Q: Speaking of that, because you were a new mother, did you sense
parallels between your personal and professional life while filming?
KH: Yeah, it was all parallels. I was living on camera what I was
living in my life, down to the tiniest little things. The outfits that
they’d put the triplets in for a scene my daughter might have come to
work in that day. I watched the movie recently and thought it was kind
of a living journal because it reminds me of those first few months with
this 9-month-old baby who was so new to me — and I was so new to her — and all of the little things that go along with that. What kind of
diapers you use, what kind of wipes. We had the exact same pack and play
as the one we used in the movie. It will forever remind me of that
time. It was really intense and really glorious and certainly
overwhelming. But my character, Holly, was me, and I was her. I didn’t
have to act.