Jennifer Westfeldt Interview on Jon Hamm

Jennifer Westfeldt on Directing Longtime Love Jon Hamm and Whether You Can Balance Babies and Love

Jennifer Westfeldt stars in Friends With Kids as a woman who has a baby with her male best friend (played by Adam Scott) and tries to keep things in control. The multitasking actress didn't just show off her talents on screen: she also wrote and directed the comedy. I sat down with Westfeldt to talk about the film, whether she really thinks couples can balance kids and romance, and her talented cast, which includes Adam Scott and Westfeldt's real-life love, Jon Hamm.

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Transcript

we're together so, we wouldn't wanna play opposite with each other and he would wanna see that. And is it tough to direct someone that you also live with? So, as the writer of the film I feel like you trust yourself to play the protagonist, but why Adam Scott opposite against you, why did you trust him to play that part? The first day that I finished the first draft of the film we invited some actors over to just to a totally cold reading around our dining room table and Adam came and let Jason that first night and he was just amazing and after that moment it was just really difficult for me to ever imagine or think about anyone else. But I have been doing it. So I sort of, what's the talk with the bomb with that idea after that first reading. And you cast your partner, Jon Hamm, you cast him in a couple of your films. He's in all my movies. Yeah, he's a supporting character in this, but did you ever once consider that he could play Jason? You know, we couldn't, I mean mostly because, you know, we're together so we wouldn't wanna play opposite each other and who would wanna see that. But beyond that, I think that he was really drawn to the role of Ben, and we both thought it was an interesting way to use his sort of amazing talent. He's one of these actors who I think really makes pain and darkness super compelling. And for me, his character sort of functions as the voice with the audience. In that kind of climactic scene, he's sort of, not saying it nicely but he's basically saying sort of what everyone in the audience is thinking.Yeah.So, it felt like an interesting way to use him and that was the part that he really wanted to play. So, we were excited to do that. And is it tough to direct someone that you also live with?You know, it's funny, it wasn't, but everything these guys, you know. Everything they do is amazing, so it's not as if it's, you know, a challenging job to direct them. They're all phenomenal actors. And the couple dynamics and a lot of the dialog about relationships sounds very real. So, I was wondering did you draw from your own life for those? No, the people are really based on people we know. It's more about observing trends and then trying to put those trends into various some you know imagined characters. Right. And we see each couple struggle so I was wondering if you had any advice for couples who are trying to balance that family life with kids, with also keeping your romantic relationship strong. I mean, you know, I don't have any advice because I don't have kids yet. So, I can't know with that really unbelievable change will look like. But I think that, you know, certain friends report that they always have a date night, that they always make time for each other and I think that's important. I mean I think it's such a game changing situation to have a child. mostly in our first year, I feel like people, that's when they're really not sleeping and really not ready for the lights to be just incredibly different. But we do have friends just make it a point no matter what every Saturday night, you know, even if it's an hour and a half, we'll like get a babysitter. But I don't know, I mean I can't speak to that. Well, for the character in the movie you recruited Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph, these are really funny actresses. but both of them have really have you seen. Yeah. Did you want them to bring more comedy or was there a reason why you chose them? No, I mean, you know, Kristen was on board early she was interested in playing this role in particular before she even shot Bridesmaids. And I think she was drawn to it because it gave her an opportunity to do something people haven't seen her too. I think she's an amazing actress and she's an amazing comedienne but I think she can do everything. And I think that was really cool her and for us to let other people see that she can do anything and that she can be dramatic and real and obviously hilarious. And I think Maya has similar feeling about the script, you know, she's a mother of three and as funny and loopy and genius as she is in everything and in broad comedy, I think she was trying the best because it was a little more grounded, a little more real than some of the things that she's had an opportunity to do. So, yeah, I think it was fun for us to show just the remarkable range that these woman have and really everyone in the cast has.



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