Have you guys seen the trailer for Larry Crowne yet? No? Well, here it is – watch it quick before you proceed with snippets from the W interview:
OK, now that you’ve absorbed all of that. This? Might just be the best movie of the year. Seriously. I know a lot of you probably expect that I’d love movies like The Devil Wears Prada or something based on those fucking nitwits out of the Real Housewives series, just judging by my aptitude for bitchy snark, but really? All of that other stuff is just crap, and I’m a total softie at heart who loves movies about people overcoming things and also? Disney movies. It’s true.
Anyway, Julia Roberts (who, in my little-girl-eighties heart is still totally a woman to be idolized and I DO) and Tom Hanks (my all-time favorite Hollywood actor) are teaming up for this movie, and the film’s duo recently did a piece with W magazine. Here are some highlights:
Lynn Hirschberg: Larry Crowne, which you cowrote and directed, is about a man, played by you, who loses his job at a Walmart-like store. Instead of wallowing in self-pity or descending into poverty and despair, Crowne decides to go back to college. It is a profoundly optimistic movie—an ode to opportunities in the worst of times. Was that your intent?
Tom Hanks: Yes. The movie is about combating cynicism. People are naturally optimistic, but you have to choose to walk away from cynicism. You have to say, I am going to combat cynicism today. I had this idea about a unique guy who loses his job and then, at the end of the movie, realizes that it was the best thing that ever happened to him. He thought he was going to die, but it turned out great!
Is that a commentary on America?
In a way. People are afraid of change. People say, I can’t do this or that. Why? Because I’d have to change something. Well, yes: You should change. The idea of change makes them nervous, but I think change is good. Always.
Did you write the part of your teacher for Julia Roberts?
Yes. I had some teachers who looked like Julia. I would see them and think, I love you. So there was never anyone but Julia. Still, even after she said yes, I was the boss. That meant I got to say, “You don’t wear this dress, you wear that dress.” And Julia’s Julia—she can be intimidating [Laughs].
Here’s the highlights from Julia’s segment of the interview:
Lynn Hirschberg: In Larry Crowne, you play a professor at a junior college who teaches public speaking. Did you go to college?
Julia Roberts: No. This was my first college experience. And the first time I had to speak in front of a classroom, I was apoplectic. All these faces looking up at me, thinking, What is she going to teach us? I needed to find my composure. It was very hard—it was terrible, in fact.
If you went to college, what classes do you think you would take?
What did Tom say?
He said he’d take history classes.
Oh, come on—does he need to learn more history? If you cut Tom Hanks open, you would find history books. Enough with the history [Laughs]. I guess I’d take a class in homeopathy or psychology—something that I would use in my life. I did actually start taking sewing classes recently. I can wear what I’ve sewn, if I’m not in a strong wind. And I’m taking piano lessons with my kids. We can blame this new frontier on Tom Hanks. I sat next to a musician at a dinner party at Tom Hanks’s house, and I started thinking about piano lessons. In your 40s, you’re supposed to learn new things so your brain doesn’t turn to mush. So I’m practicing scales.
Your character is something of a mess. She drinks a little too much.
I spend a lot of the movie woozy. Why did Tom Hanks think of me when he thought of a drunken schoolteacher? What does that mean? He has me chugging margaritas. It’s hard to chug a margarita! [Laughs] I asked why it couldn’t be straight liquor, and he said it was funnier if it was a drink made in a blender.
Both you and Hanks are known for romantic comedies, and yet in recent years you’ve both stayed away from that genre.
I think it’s called growing up. Light and funny has a more compelling quality when you’re younger. But I haven’t abandoned the genre: I love falling down; I love Lucille Ball. It’s just that a lot of those stories revolve around problems that I can’t convincingly portray at this age.
I’m sorry, but I just LOVE BOTH OF THESE PEOPLE SO HARD. Are you guys as excited to see this movie as I am?
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actually, yes. Tom Hanks can do no wrong.
AGREED. I might even see it opening day (and that almost never happens, unless it’s a Harry Potter movie).
“Larry Crowne” is for audiences who found “Big Fat Greek Wedding” too edgy.
And I counted four Magic Negroes in “Crowne,” which may be a record.