Featuring one of the biggest and brightest casts of the year, Men, Women & Children made its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival last month. Among the stars in director Jason Reitman’s latest is Rosemarie DeWitt, who co-stars opposite Adam Sandler as one of the film’s many couples grappling with how technology is affecting relationships today.
Sitting down with Rosemarie during the festival, we talked about what it takes to be part of such a big ensemble, her own approach to keeping up with technology, and what to expect when you share the red carpet with teen-heartthrob Ansel Elgort.
Check it out below and enjoy!
How’s the festival been for you so far?
Rosemarie DeWitt: Good! It’s been all Men, Women & Children, and Ansel Elgort. Talking about the movie when you go on the carpets is like Beatle-mania. The young girls are all very hyped up about him, [it’s] that female hysteria that accompanied that old footage of The Beatles.
Who from the cast is in Toronto?
RD: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner, Kaitlyn Dever –mostly everybody from the cast. Last night for the premiere we had almost everybody.
It is a big cast. How did you get involved with the film?
RD: Jason [Reitman] called me and emailed the script, and said why don’t you read this, and then let’s have lunch. And so we had lunch. I came in ready to talk about the script and two minutes in he told me his idea for it and said, “do you want to do it?” I said, “sure,” and then I thought, “maybe I should have run this by my husband first,” because there are a lot of intense, intimate sex scenes. Although, I think [Jason] directed it with so much restraint and they’re done really tastefully.
Did you read the script or the book first?
RD: I read the script first, and then the book. Normally, I would spend a lot of time with the book, but the book is, while really well done, it’s a lot more explicit than our movie. It was really kind of rough, and if anything was scaring me then I would just go back to the script and say to Jason “are you sure we should be doing this?” and he’d say “yeah.”
How did you know Jason was right for this job?
RD: Well, he wrote it – he adapted it with Erin [Cressida Wilson]. So you know he’s got a reading on the material because the script is great, the scenes are really tight; it’s all on the page. And, also, besides being a huge fan of his other movies, his vision was so clear, and working with him on set that was evident as well. There’s something to be said for being given a tremendous amount of freedom as an actor. In this case, we had freedom, and then Jason would get very specific with the moments he needed to work, or just a direction he wanted your character to go in, which maybe sometimes didn’t make sense on the day, but seeing the movie you see what the movie was from Day One. Which you have to, with a movie like this, because there are too many moving parts. There were too many threads and storylines.
It does touch on a lot of concerns about technology and relationships. Where does your story come into play?
RD: Adam Sandler and I play a couple that are in a marriage. Imagine a plant that’s been on your front porch for a really long time, or that’s been in your apartment that you just haven’t watered. This relationship hasn’t been tended to. It’s like a garden: it hasn’t been weeded, or given water, and they’re both starving for connection and intimacy. She’s stopped feeling desire for her husband, and desirable. So, she, I wouldn’t say innocently, goes on a website to have an affair. She types in, “I want to know what it’s like to enjoy sex again, I’d like to be with someone who finds me beautiful.” And then down the rabbit hole she goes. Then other people go online, and get into trouble, like our son, who is innocently starting to come into his own sexually, and he is getting really curious. He starts clicking around and it throws him off course, and you’re really sad for his future relating to women and girls.
The film doesn’t necessarily say that the Internet and connectivity is inherently bad. It doesn’t seem very judgmental of her actions, or her husband’s.
RD: I don’t think anything is inherently bad: it’s how you use things, and how you relate to them. I think that it’s more that this is the human condition, this is what it’s like to be in a long marriage. You know, how do you keep it alive and robust? And young boys do fumble around, and try to figure out girls and how they’re going to get together. It’s just where we do it has changed. It’s referred to in the movie, where Adam Sandler’s character talks about how his generation involved his dad’s Playboy magazine stash before the Internet. We’re trying to help our kids navigate a landscape that none of us are familiar with, so I think this movie, maybe it has a message, but I think it’s asking “how do we do this?” How do we find connection and intimacy and love in this age that we’re living in. Because it’s not going away. It’s not saying it’s bad, it’s saying, “this is what it is.”