Navigation Bar - Text Links at Bottom of Page

MONA LISA SMILE

About The Production
As part of the rehearsal process for Mona Lisa Smile, the cast spent several weeks learning the etiquette, elocution and dance styles of the early 1950s. Producers Goldsmith-Thomas, Schindler and Paul Schiff hired etiquette expert Lily Lodge to train the actors to carry themselves as women did half a century ago.

"We had to learn things like when you shake hands, how to light a cigarette properly, how to cross and uncross your legs, what silverware to use at the dinner table," explains Ginnifer Goodwin, "stuff I'd never thought of before."

"It was impressive," smiles Julia Stiles, who took time out of her studies at Columbia University to appear in Mona Lisa Smile. ‘"I started the rehearsal period saying to my mother, ‘I don't know how they're going to do this because I'm such a tomboy," Stiles continues. "But now I know how to sit like a proper young lady."

Yvonne Marceau provided the young women with tango, waltz, swing and rumba lessons, which proved to be quite a valuable learning experience in terms of the characters the young women were playing. "Ballroom dancing is so dependent on the guy, because he leads," explains Stiles. "When we started the lessons we behaved like very modern girls and tried to push the guys around and lead them. Finally, we had to remember that they were supposed to lead us and we had to be much less aggressive. That turned out to be very applicable to the time period and our characters."

The lessons also helped the actors bond. "I was pretty intimidated at first about working with Julia Roberts," laughs Dominic West, who plays a fellow teacher at Wellesley. "But once you've danced a few fox trots with her, then it's a lot easier."

In fact, Roberts instilled a tremendous sense of camaraderie in the cast and crew throughout the filmmaking process. "Julia became such a natural teacher, leader and big sister to these young actors," says producer Paul Schiff. "She provided that leadership with tenderness, grace and charm, and did it in such an open way. She invited everyone in so that it really became an ensemble."

Like the character of Katherine, Roberts proved to be an inspiration for the young actresses working with her for the first time. "I never pretended I wasn't working with Julia Roberts," says Gyllenhaal. "I was fascinated by her, the way she moved, the way she walked, the way she connected with people. She's a focused, clear, strong woman, which is key to her appeal around the world. At the same time, there's a vulnerability. She can get so emotional that you think she could crack at any moment. That's why her characters seem like real people, women who are strong, complicated, overwhelming and sometimes overwhelmed."

"I'm floored at what a good actress she is," adds Stiles. "I've been watching her very closely take after take and every time she does everything with a new slant so that it seems like she's doing it for the first time."

Roberts' inclusiveness proved to be essential for Dunst, whose character's antagonistic behavior distances her from the other characters. "You sometimes take on the feelings of the character you're playing and I would get really sad at times," explains Dunst. "Everyone was so communal and I was on th

TOP

Home | Theaters | Video | TV

Your Comments and Suggestions are Always Welcome.
Contact CinemaReview.com

2014 7,  All Rights Reserved.

Google

Find:  HELP!

Google