Annette Bening is better than "all right" in her latest film about family dynamics. In fact, her portrayal of Nic, a lesbian head of household in The Kids Are All Right is brilliant. Playing opposite her partner Jules (Julianne Moore), Nic copes with familial transitions (and her loss of control) as her children, Joni and Laser (Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson) contact and embark on a relationship with their dad, sperm donor Paul (Mark Ruffalo). While the subject matter is heavy, laughter is also doled out in hearty doses. At the center of the story is a typical family dealing with life. We had the opportunity to interview Bening, a real life mother of four, when she was at the San Francisco junket.
LilSugar: In the movie, the kids want to meet their sperm donor. This is a real issue for people and will continue to be as parents use alternative methods to have children. What appealed to you about the film?
Annette Bening: We’re seeing the children of all kinds of different combinations of people, adoptions and international adoptions, and in vitro, and sperm donors and all of that. I certainly am no expert on all of these subjects, but I think that the movie is very much in the mix of all that and trying to talk about it in a contemporary way. From a very simple standpoint, I just loved the story when I read it and thought it was so beautifully written and thoughtful and very specific about this particular family. It really is a very classic family, what’s going on in the movie — the parents and the kids, and the partners, and betrayal and infidelity and what happens — are all really classic issues. But I think that the writing, the questions that the children have about where they’re from, what is biology, and what is your environment and then also the attachment that the moms have to their kids as well as the sperm donor, which is a horrible way to describe Mark Ruffalo [laughs] but Mark Ruffalo’s character, then his experience and story and what happens to him. All of that – I find really interesting and trying to talk about what is going on right now and dramatize what is in the hearts of a lot of people who are in these families.
To see what the actress said about humor's role in the film,
LilSugar: What about the element of humor in the movie? For such an intense subject, it (the humor) was so natural, as if the audience was peeking in on a real family. Was that all scripted? Any improv?
AB: That was pretty much all scripted. I don’t think we improvised at all. I think the humor, thank you for bringing that up, that is so important and it’s harder. That’s why more movies don’t have it, it’s much easier to write in an earnest way. In fact, I was just looking at a script this morning and it was that whole element of having a sense of humor is so vital. I guess part of it is that we have a job to entertain. It’s kind of simple in that way. We didn’t have that responsibility when you’re trying to talk about something sensitive in whatever way that means something has to be beautiful, something has to have a sense of irony or humor, wit, whatever you want to call it. And that’s what I love about the writing.