Jennifer Morrison and Mia Maestro Talk SOME GIRL(S), Why They Joined the Project, Translating the Play to the Big Screen, ONCE UPON A TIME, and THE STRAIN

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Based on the Neil LaBute play by the same name, Some Girl(s) follows a successful writer (Adam Brody) who, on the eve of his wedding, travels across the country to meet up with ex-lovers, in an attempt to make amends for past relationship transgressions.  On his journey, he reunites with high school sweetheart Sam (Jennifer Morrison), sexually free-spirited Tyler (Mía Maestro), married college professor Lindsay (Emily Watson), his best friend’s little sister Reggie (Zoe Kazan), and Bobbi (Kristen Bell), who is the one that got away.

At the film’s press day, actresses Jennifer Morrison and Mía Maestro spoke to Collider for this exclusive interview about why this project appealed to them, why this play translates well for the big screen, shooting such long and complex scenes, and whether either of them would consider going on a journey to reconnect with their own exes.  Jennifer Morrison also talked about what it’s been like to juggle movies with her role as Emma on the ABC drama series Once Upon A Time and the adventure of working on a show that centers around magic, while Mía Maestro talked about what drew her to the FX drama series The Strain, based on the vampire books by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo del Toro, who will also be directing the pilot.  Check out what they had to say after the jump.  

some-girls-mia-maestroCollider:  What was the appeal of this project for you, and how did you come to it? 

MIA MAESTRO:  For me, it was first Neil [LaBute].  I’ve been a fan of his plays for a long, long time.  I admire his work, immensely.  So, when I got the offer, I was like, “Yes, I would love to do it!”  I had seen the play before, so I knew the character and loved it.  And then, it was the cast – just working with everyone and being a part of this great ensemble cast.   And also, it’s not that often that you get to play such a great scene, with so many ups and downs and emotions.  I had a 20-page scene to perform. 

JENNIFER MORRISON:  Yeah, it was one of those no-brainer situations.  I was also a huge fan of Neil LaBute.  I’ve seen tons of his work and read everything I could get my hands on.  I think my poor agents, at the time, were probably harassing them, to no end because I was like, “If I don’t get this movie . . .”  It fit in my hiatus window and it was one of my hero writers.  It’s very rare that something comes along where you’re like, “I don’t care what it takes, I have to do this.”  That’s how I felt about Some Girl(s).  Also, once the cast started filling out, that was the icing on the cake.  There were all these women that I admire and love the work of, and we all got to be a part of such great material together.  

Were you totally bummed, then, that you didn’t have at least one scene with all of you together?

MORRISON:  I know!  

MAESTRO:  It’s nice to see each other now. 

Are the characters that you’re playing the only ones that you saw yourself playing?

MORRISON:  I was originally meeting for Sam or Bobbi.  I secretly wished I was young enough to play Reggie.  But, I automatically identified with Sam.  I feel like that always ends up working itself out, and you end up with the right role for who you are, what you’ve been through in your life, and things you’re interested in doing, as an actor.  

MAESTRO:  I came a little bit later in the project, so they just asked, “Do you want to play Tyler?”  I didn’t think about it.  I knew the character, so I said, “Yes, I’d love to!”  And it was fun.  For some reason, throughout my career, I don’t play sexy roles too much. 

MORRISON:  Really?!  But, you’re so sexy!  

MAESTRO:  No!  So, I was like, “Oh, my god, I get to play sexy.  What do I do?”  It was a challenge for me, actually.  But, it was lovely.

some-girls-jennifer-morrisonMía, did you enjoy also getting to play Tyler’s vulnerable side?

MAESTRO:  Yeah.  She was hurt, and maybe it was not as dramatic as what had happened to Reggie, but there was still some hurt in her.  I think it happens with all of us, in different relationships.  We all have something that we have to learn about ourselves, and that’s why we chose that person to be with, in that period of time.  That was fun.

Do you feel like it was important for each of these women to take their power back by telling this man that he hurt them, so that they could move on with their lives?

MORRISON:  There’s something to be said about the fact that these women all had the courage to show up.  If they were broken people that didn’t know who they really were, they probably wouldn’t or couldn’t have.  It says a lot about the strength that they’ve found, in their own lives, and the identity that they’ve been able to find in themselves, since the time that they knew him or saw him or dated him.  And so, it is interesting to see them next to him, who is in a place in his life where he’s still searching for his identity.  It gives them the upper hand, in a way that they may not have realized, walking into the situation.  They’re able to say, “You did hurt me,” and own that statement because it’s the truth and they have that much courage and strength to have that much identity to do that.  It is interesting that they all do end up in that situation. 

MAESTRO:  There’s the strength of showing up, but also staying, throughout the whole conversation.  They listen and are present when a lot of people would have just left.  

MORRISON:  They actually got more closure than he did, probably. 

Jennifer, what was it like to slap Adam Brody?

MORRISON:  Well, you never actually slap the person.  It was fun for that particular character, only because she’s not intending to do it and she doesn’t mean to do it.  It’s such a gut reaction to everything that’s built up to that moment, and it just happens.  I also love that she comes back and goes, “I’m so sorry!  That’s so not me!”  And Adam is such a sweetheart.  He’s a friend, and I’ve worked with him and known him from before, so I was being so careful.  He was like, “No, no, just slap me!,” I was like, “I’m not going to slap you!”  There’s always the technical stuff, with the camera angle and whether it looks like you’re slapping him or not.  There’s always technical stuff involved with that, that’s probably funnier than what ends up on the screen.  Working it out is always more of an adventure than what it looks like on screen.  

Unlike a lot of plays that don’t really translate well to film, this play really seems well suited for that.  Why do you think that is?

MORRISON:  Neil is just amazing!  I feel most of his stuff translates to any medium.                                                                                                           

MAESTRO:  He also worked a little bit on the script, to translate the play to a screenplay format.  It’s also Daisy’s work.  She shot it so well.  Even though there are long scenes in one location, she shot it in such a way that it keeps the audience really interested and involved in what’s happening.  I think it’s a combination between the two of them.  

Some-Girls-Adam-Brody-Mia-Maestro-Daisy-von-Scherler-MayerMORRISON:  There’s something nice, too, about seeing him transition from city to city.  It made it feel bigger.  We only experienced the hotel rooms.  That’s all we were there for.  We all felt like we shot individual short films, or something.  But, to then see it put together and go through that journey of watching him go from city to city with the phone conversations in between, and get to each hotel room and how he handled each situation, there was something very cinematic about that, that made it feel big, in a way that made sense for the screen, compared to the stage.                        

MAESTRO:  Also, our DP, Rachel [Morrison], did a beautiful job.  It’s hard to shoot a beautiful day scene in a tiny stage, and she did such a great job.  I think that helped so much, throughout the whole arc of the movie.  

MORRISON:  She was awesome!  She moves and acts like a rock star.  She’s just one of those people who you watch and think, “You’re just cool!” 

The scenes in this film are so much longer, more complex and dense than what you typically do, in a film.  What were they like to shoot? 

MORRISON:  I loved it!  It felt like shooting a play.  It felt like you got to go do a play, and then it happened to be on camera.  It was definitely a luxury.  We got to shoot most of it in order, which you never get to do.  And it was all in one location.  There’s something very luxurious about that. 

MAESTRO:  It was challenging.  Normally, with a play, you have at least three weeks of rehearsals.  You know your text, but then you get really acquainted with it, throughout the three weeks.  Here, we had to show up and rehearse, for one day, and know the whole text perfectly.  And then, the next day, we would be shooting.  I was quite nervous before we shot.  And my scene was the first one.  We met a couple of times and were like, “What are we gonna do?”  We ran the lines, which was really good.  I was more nervous than how I normally am, on different projects.

Could you imagine any scenario where going on a journey to see a bunch of your exes would turn out well?

MORRISON:  I don’t know.  Theoretically, it might sound good, but I just feel sick, thinking about it.  I try to imagine that, in my own life, and I’m like, “I don’t want to go back to any of those situations.”  You choose people in certain times of your life for a reason, whether you realize it or not.  But, once you’re past that reason, I don’t know. 

MAESTRO:  I’m really good friends with most of my ex-boyfriends. 

jennifer-morrison-some-girlsMORRISON:  She’s just a better person than I am. 

MAESTRO:  It’s not that we didn’t have fiery or fighting relationships, but I’m really good friends with most of them.  They’re amazing human beings.  Some of them are my best friends, so I do spend a lot of time with them, and it’s great.  They know you so well.  They’re kind of part of your family.  Your parents love them. 

MORRISON:  It sounds good, in theory.                                                                       

MAESTRO:  I don’t think it’s about having closure.  I think some people let go of certain things, and some people don’t.  I do let go of a lot of things.  And I always think that whatever is coming next is much better than whatever was before.  If you have that attitude in life, than it’s like, “Wow, we had a great time.  It didn’t work out, but you’re amazing.”  

MORRISON:  I just want to be her! 

Jennifer, how is it to juggle working in both film and television, especially with a network TV show? 

MORRISON:  I love to work, so ultimately, that’s the core of the insanity of how many days of the year I end up working, but I feel so lucky.  There are so many people that I know, that are incredibly talented, that are just trying to get a day on something.  When you think of it that way, it’s hard to ever be frustrated about being exhausted because you’re just lucky to be exhausted.  For me, doing something like Some Girl(s), that’s my life force.  When you do a show for nine months out of the year – and this is now the second time I’m doing a long-running series – you’re so starved for something new and something different.  I feel like it would be a real disservice to Once Upon A Time, and to Emma, if I didn’t do something different on my break because that’s what’s going to reinvigorate me and actually make me better at being Emma, when I come back, and so that she can continue to evolve and continue to be interesting and reveal new things about herself, to an audience.  If I didn’t pursue those things in between, I feel like I would not be growing the way that I should be.  

With the way things were left in the Season 2 finale, are you excited to return for Season 3 and see where things will be going next? 

some-girls-adam-brody-kristen-bellMORRISON:  Yeah!  There’s an incredible adventure to that.  I’m actually lucky on that show because my character should never know what’s coming next.  Not everyone is in that position, and that can be harder on some of the other actors, in terms of if their character should have known something was coming, or that they were a part of something that was coming, but there was no way for them to know that.  Emma is always in a situation where she doesn’t know what’s coming.  That’s a natural part of the character, which is great.  But then, we have the weird thing of trying to figure out how to make magic beans seem real, and how to make magic invisible chalk seem feasible.  It’s weird because the whole company of actors has found a way to believe in it, and that’s luckily translating to audiences.  It’s not like showing up and being like, “Oh, we’re in a scene together.  We’re going to have a conversation, and we’re going to see where it goes emotionally and see what happens.”  That never happens.  You show up and go, “Okay, the magic beans.  If you don’t have a bean with the compass, then you can’t go through the portal.  And you have to have the Mad Hatter’s hat.”  You have to build this logic.  I’ve never, in my life, used so much substitution.  You start to feel like a crazy person, if you talk about magic, all day.  The magic is love or passion.  I have to find much more tangible things to assign to everything, so that the stakes feel real.  Otherwise, you’re like, “I’m in a soggy field, talking about magic beans.  What am I going to do?”  It’s a whole different challenge. 

Are you still working on The List?

MORRISON:  I am, yeah.  We finish on Friday.  It’s been really fun.  Patrick Fugit is awesome.  Karen Gillan is awesome.  It’s one of those situations where everybody in the cast is just awesome.  Every day, we show up and we’re like, “This is so easy.”  Everybody is so perfectly suited for their role.  Everyone has worked so much.  We had scenes with 10 people.  You think that’s going to be a nightmare, but everybody was there and everybody was on it and everybody had done the homework.  That so rarely happens, I feel like, in situations with a bigger cast.  There was just an ease and an effortlessness to how everyone’s patterns and cadences all just fell together.  That’s very rare.  It really is unusual to feel like it doesn’t matter who you’re showing up with at work that day because you know it’s going to go well and that it’s going to be okay.  

Mía, what drew you to The Strain?

some-girls-adam-brody-zoe-kazanMAESTRO:  It’s a short schedule because it’s for FX.  It’s Guillermo del Toro, who’s one of my favorite directors, in the world.  This is his show.  He’s written three novels with Chuck Hogan, who’s a wonderful writer.  It’s the show based on the three novels that both of them have written, and it’s about vampires taking over the world.  Guillermo is directing, and he’s going to direct as many episodes as he can.  It’s actually a dream come true.  I’m really excited.  I’m excited about the cast.  It has Corey Stoll, who I admire so much, and John Hurt and Kevin Durand.  They’re still figuring out who else is going to be in the cast.  It’s the type of scenario you always hope you’ll get.  Because of the short schedule, it will allow me to do independent films, and other types of films.  I have two films in Argentina, one with Gael García Bernal, who’s a good friend of mine.  So, it’s gonna be fun to be able to do TV and films, at the same time.  

And these are very different vampires from the type of vampire you played in Twilight.

MAESTRO:  It’s very, very different from Twilight, yeah.  I’m excited about that. 

Some Girl(s) opens in theaters and is available on Vimeo On Demand on June 28th.

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