Do you really work from the script, or do you let the actors work things out? You mentioned rehearsal …
We do some rehearsal, but not a lot. There’s not like a “Let’s see where this scene goes …” not at all. If there was more time, and I had great actors like that, I wish—that would have been a blast. But there was no time to do that, really. We’d rehearse something, and he’d make a joke, and I’d say, “Keep it.” Or he’d say, “Can I say that?” And I’d say, “No, you can’t say that.” She had a lot of improvisation as well. Everybody did, to some degree, but mostly the two of them. They were really good at it.
You and Catherine Keener have worked together on all your movies, and this time she’s a little different of a character. What’s your relationship with her, and do you always write characters with her in mind? Why wasn’t she Eva?
To some degree—I mean, I adore Catherine, and obviously love working with her—I did feel like maybe I shouldn’t put her in the lead, because my movies are so similar to one another a little bit, and it would challenge me not to picture her. It was very hard, and I think I probably still wrote it with her in mind, because she’s so perfect.
But I was sort of interested in seeing what it would be like to have a different lead, and she understood completely. And then when the part of Marianne had to be cast, I was like, “Catherine!” I mean, how fantastic would she be to play this kind of snooty poet? And it’s not something she’s done for me. I was thrilled she was still a big part of the movie, a very pivotal role.
One of your hallmarks is your insight into the intricacies of female friendships, going back to “Walking and Talking.” What did you set out to explore in this movie?
You know, I never set out to do something different—except for that casting thing; that was a conscious choice. I don’t know—I have a lot of close female friends, and that’s a huge part of my life, and she had to have a good friend. And so it’s very easy to write. [Eva and Sarah] are very different from one another. I love writing that stuff.
And the same with the daughters. You know, I don’t have a daughter, but I am a daughter. And I think I may use me being a daughter more than me being a parent in those scenes; I can relate to the kid. Like in “Please Give,” I related to the daughter—I had really bad acne, and that was a huge part of my adolescence, so I was more her in that. So I don’t know; I’m kind of everybody.
It’s interesting. I would have assumed you had a daughter after seeing this, because there was so much there.
I’m very close with my sons, but they are not girls, in any way [laughs]. God forbid they go off to college! No, not yet, I have three years. They are twins, so…
Yeah, so if all goes well, they go off to college at the same time. And I’m just going to fucking fall apart, I think. [laughs]
You also explore the rich layers of divorce and you said that that grew out of your own experiences—what’s your advice for people?
I don’t know. I can’t give advice to anybody. But if I were to give advice to somebody, I would say watch for those red flags. Listen to when your gut tumbles a little bit. Listen when he does something a little weird—he’s weird!
And there’s that saying that if something bothers you a little bit when you are dating, it will only get worse over the years.
Probably. I mean, I’d like to be the person who isn’t bothered by small stuff, and I’m working really hard to be that person. The end. [laughs]
A new clip from the film below. Fox Searchlight will release “Enough Said” on September 18th.