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Who Is Simon Miller Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

Robin Lively

This is an interview with Robin Lively and Christine Baranski on August 2, 2011 about the movie Who Is Simon Miller.

Question:
What would you say is the most important thing that you learned from the time you spent making this film?

Robyn Lively:
You know, I think that it honestly it just reinforced how important the family dynamic is and how important it is to trust each other. And of course this is suspended reality. I don't know many families who are going through this. But I did love how fiercely, like Meredith, my character, loved her family and trust her husband and how far that went. I mean she could have thought so many things were going and it could have potentially destroyed them. But again it's keeping your family together. It was great for me being a mom and having a family and a husband and it just reinforced that for me anyway.

Christine Baranski:
I got a kick out of, honestly, the we're dealing with the covert agencies and people with all these extraordinary skills that you would think are not available to people in general. And yet what impresses you is how savvy these kids are particularly the son because he now is living in an internet age and his mind the younger generation their minds are now working in ways that can resolve things that are quite complicated. We see it in the world around us now. The world has so changed.

And the fact that this family could actually go off and solve the riddle of where their father is and keep solving problems by virtue of like the skills that they have the language and the internet and their gut instincts and their ability to solve problems. I mean I thought that was very cool. I think young people will get a kick out of this film for that reason. They really outsmart the smartest people in the room.

Question:
What was your most memorable moment from the movie?

Christine Baranski:
I like to laugh.

Robyn Lively:
It's a good question. I should have pre-thought of. Gosh we have so many great moments just together as a cast and we all got along so unusually well that there wasn't really a moment that was like standout. They were all standout moments. I don't know. I'll have to think about that.

To me like I love the kitchen scenes with the family interacting. And I love the scene where the train station scene, where the dad is vulnerable and he comes clean, and the emotion that he has in. You know, that how hard it's been for him to keep these lies from his family. I loved that scene. That one I loved. That was a great moment.

Christine Baranski:
That's wonderful. I have to say for me, I have never played a spy. I've never been in a raincoat holding a pistol. So I had fun. I love to see the move.

Robyn Lively:
You held that gun so well.

Christine Baranski:
Turning the staircase is my little gun in my raincoat. I thought, oh this is like, this a James Bond kind of moment. And so I got a kick out of it and of course, everybody had to go down the stairs and I had the gun. And then, of course my stand-in gets thrown over the banister and then I get taken off like a bad guy. But I like seeing that kind of for a minute you kind of feel like a little James Bond-ish and that was, for me, that was the most fun that day on the set, being a really bad guy with the bad girl with the gun in the raincoat.

Question:
Can you both talk about what it was like to film in Montreal in terms of what that city had to offer?

Christine Baranski:
I had never been. I had never been and I was just enchanted. I have to say, I came straight from shooting The Good Wife and I was supposed to go to Paris on my birthday and I got the job. And I was like, well this is a terrific job and I'm going to doing it. So I cancelled Paris and then found myself in Montreal eating at all these little French bistros and I was living in the French Section. Oh my, God.

Robyn Lively:
And then we ended up running into almost everywhere, Christine.

Christine Baranski:
I know. It was fun. It was really kind of like a vacation. I mean I know when you film, you work long hours. But the setting of Montreal and where the sun looks amazing.

Robyn Lively:
So many locations. I couldn't believe how well it played out when I saw it, I was like, my gosh this looks beautiful.

Christine Baranski:
Beautiful. Yes. The cinematography was beautiful.

Robyn Lively:
We filmed a lot of old Montreal.

Question:
How did you both relate to the story? And how do you think people will relate to it?

Robyn Lively:
Well, I, being a mom, completely related to the family dynamic. And I don't have kids this old yet, but I absolutely - when I first read it, I just fell in love with the dynamics of the family, and how much they loved each other, and they stood up for each other, and they had each other's backs. And although Meredith goes through her trials with her husband and not trusting him as well she shouldn't, she always still had faith in him. I think that says so much. She knew that she married a good man. She knew what he was all about even though they're on this wild goose chase and she could have bought so many things.

Christine Baranski:
They were really just the scene when they're packing up to go, and they get the call saying from the father saying, just stay where you are. Stay together. And they could have just locked the bedroom door and just hid in the closet and just and their instinct was. I know, it's pretty scary. They are just so brave and it's like, no we've just got to do something. And the fact that they are that brave and the best thing that they do as a family, as a unit, is trust each other's instincts and their own thing. That their gut feeling kind of wins the day.

Question:
What about your spy character though? How did you relate to her?

Christine Baranski:
I liked playing that character because I've never played a spy. And I've never had the gun and the raincoat and the kind of attitude. It was fun to do. But what I loved about her is when you read the script, she's so sincere. She's so like the way say she ingratiates herself it's like just being, like so trustworthy, so sincere.

Then it's like it's quite I would hope a surprise that she really winds up being the one who is the person going rogue and trying to get her $3 million and she's a betrayer. But in that world and in so many lines of work, total sincerity is the way you view people and that's her MO throughout is to just win their complete trust. So, suddenly it's Sarah who says, Mom, you got to trust me on this. It's Amanda She's not to be trusted. It's cool.

Question:
Robyn, you said the movie you thought was based on a kind of suspended reality. Do you think that the show has a realistic message in terms of what it's saying about double lives, or that people never really are who you think they are, or they might be different than who you think they are?

Robyn Lively:
I think though, and I've been saying this, I think the key with this film and I think that people can relate to is like the bottom line is, and the message throughout is that we trust each other. And Simon gives Meredith every reason to not trust. But she still hangs onto that trust because she knows him. She knows what kind of man he is. She knows who she married. And although all these crazy things are happening, she still believes in him. Even when she should be - and you know what, I do love that scene where I say, you know what? I'm not upset, I'm furious. I'm devastated.

Christine Baranski:
Right. Yes.

Robyn Lively:
She does have all of those feelings of just like, oh my gosh, what's he doing to us? Who is this person? But yes. You know, and I love that we stick together, and we encourage each other, and we encourage each other's strengths, and we work together as a family.

Question:
Christine, what genre do you think that you have placed the movie in and what type of audience do you think it will attract?

Christine Baranski:
I would call it a family spy-caper I mean you mentioned the plot being a bit fantastical. And I think that's part of the style and the charm of it. Yes, you're supposed to make an imaginative leap in it. This family just thrusts into this extraordinary situation that they just, they're just going by gut instinct throughout. And I don't know if it has a particular genre, but I know that if you're thinking about the families just sitting down and enjoying an evening together, it has something for adults and for certainly for kids.

You know, will enjoy it and it is a family story. It's a great It's a great adventure story and it's a love story between the husband and wife. And it's the kids turn out to be like way beyond what you thought they were capable of. And, I don't know, I hate to use the word heart warming but I think it is. You know, it really comes to a very happy end. It takes you to all kinds of places.

Question:
What kind of preparation went into this role? Did you do specific research on missing persons and spying or anything?

Christine Baranski:
That's interesting. I got the job so quickly. I kind of just showed up in Montreal and started. But I thought that the story itself was pretty clear. And I did do some research into the life of a CIA operative and what they're covert life is like and such like that. But it's not like I had months of preparation. No.

Robyn Lively:
Right. And I have a lot of experience being a wife and a mommy so. I came to the table with some good experience there. But I actually don't have experience with being the mother of teenagers so my kids are in the making there. Not well they still have quite a while. Also I was supposed to have been like a Piloxing expert so I'm thinking, my gosh I need to start like stretching and working out and like kicking. The only thing I got to do in the movie was kick a towel from the hook. I thought I did it well. Didn't you Christine?

Christine Baranski:
I thought you were great. Absolutely.

Robyn Lively:
Thank you.

Question:
Robyn, do you think your generation from Teen Witch will be tuning into the movie?

Robyn Lively:
I knew you were going to say that.

Robyn Lively:
You have no idea how endearing this is to me. This little movie that I did, Christine, was in the 80s. And it's become like a cult-classic. They have the night screenings and it's such a sweet movie. And I got to tell you, my fan base from Teen Witch. I adore them. And I enjoyed the movie and actually was doing a blog, a chat room as we were watching Who is Simon Miller. One woman said, by the way, I'm a huge Teen Witch fan. I was like, yay! So honestly, I really hope so. I hope that they watch. Because I know that I do have quite a few. And I think they'll love it.

Question:
Christine, you always seem to play such a strong female character. Is that something you take into account when you take on roles?

Christine Baranski:
You get cast in things and more often than not, I play strong female characters. I'm playing one now on CBS playing a lawyer and then I went right into this. Kind of I must tell you though what I'm enjoying about my career these days is I've done so much comedy. And now as I said, I'm playing a lawyer every week on The Good Wife, and when they offered me this I thought, oh my gosh, a spy. This is really dramatic role. She turns out to be the bad guy. And I loved it. No laughs but I like am having great fun doing a new genre for me.

Question:
Was there any particular scene that came out differently than you would have expected?

Christine Baranski:
Oh. You know, I was so delighted of the quality of this film. Everything came out better than I expected, which is not to say I didn't expect it to be good. And I'm not just saying that. I think the direction, the photography, the acting of it, it's very credible. It's a fantastic little piece and a family adventure. But it really has a great deal of credibility and it looks beautiful. It looks like it was shot in Europe and it was shot in Montreal. Totally, and I watched it and I thought, wow, this really it's not like you have a lot of time to shoot something like this and it really is very high quality.

Robyn Lively:
Yes. I think when you go into these things, you have an idea of where you the tone of the scene. But once you get everyone together, the whole dynamic changes. And the scene blossoms into something that you really could not have ever anticipated. If find, like I was mentioning one of my favorite scenes is of the train station. When Simon comes clean and says, I'm so sorry that I've done this to you guys.

Christine Baranski:
Yes.

Robyn Lively:
That scene I was not expecting to cry in that scene. But he touched me so much I was like, oh my gosh. I loved that scene. I really, really loved it. Really sweet.

Question:
Do you guys have any upcoming projects that you can talk about?

Christine Baranski:
I'm actually like shooting this show called The Good Wife, but it's for another network so I'm not going to plug it. But it's a CBS show and that's what I do from now until the end of April.

But I was able to do Who Was Simon Miller right after I finished shooting that one and so just looked at Montreal happily and did this project for Joel Rice, with whom I'd worked before. And it's airing this Saturday.

Robyn Lively:
And our director was amazing. He was so great. I loved him.

Christine Baranski:
Wonderful. It was a great crew. Most of the time they were speaking French and the whole thing. It was like being in Europe making a film, honestly. It was very fun.

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