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Q & A with Rodrigo Garcia (Writer/Director)
Q: You both wrote and directed this film. Which process do you enjoy more?

Writing is harder for me. More riddled with insecurity. Is this good enough, different enough, suspenseful enough, human enough, real enough? Do I even like it? Will good actors be interested? The many versions of the real monster, who cares? Of course when it's going well, there's nothing like it. It makes me feels refined and good. Most of the time it's a slog that fuels self contempt.

Directing is more physically demanding. My problem then is not isolation, but the opposite, constant interaction. Overdosing on people. Having to pretend that you're the director. But to see what you imagined in the loneliness of your desk late at night live and breathe in front of you is intoxicating.

Q: How did the film get off the ground? What was the process in getting the film made?

It was a many-pronged approach. (Or is that a many-prayer approach?) Alejandro González Iñárritu sent the script to Naomi Watts and encouraged her to do it while Julie Lynn began the search for funding, other cast members and a first rate crew. An initial offer to Annette Bening did not pan out because of other commitments and that was a big disappointment. We had flirtations with studios, but the threats of strikes compromised that. We got Kerry Washington on board at this point, but then Naomi became pregnant and we decided to postpone and wait for her. (That we postponed because she was pregnant we all thought would bring us good luck, given the nature of the material). Waiting for her contributed to Annette becoming available again, and then Sam and Jimmy signed on. That was a great high, the cast that lined up. Cherry Jones! Finally, when we had everything in the world but financing, Lisa Maria Falcone and Tom Heller of Everest Entertainment stepped in and made it possible. WestEnd in London also was very supportive with foreign pre-sales.

Q: What was the most difficult scene to shoot?

I went into most of them scared and was at ease right after the first rehearsal. So all of them, then none. I suppose the scene with young Karen and young Tom filled me with apprehension more than others. Fourteen-year-olds making out. Really? I have to direct that? Their seriousness and professionalism saved my behind.

Q: What is your favorite scene in the film?

I've never worked on anything that has so many scenes that I'm happy with. Here are three: 
-- When Karen finds out what her mother really thought about her. 
-- When Paul offers the world to Elizabeth. 
-- When Lucy introduces herself and her husband and their dreams to Sister Joanne at the adoption agency.

Q: Where did you shoot the film and how long was the shoot?

We shot in locations in and around Los Angeles for 29 days.

Q: Many of your films are centered on women, with men playing second fiddle. What is it about women that you find so fascinating?

Ever since I began to write, my women characters have been more complex than the men, but I don't know why. Since my movies are not essentially about women but about subjects that interest me, the sex of the characters is not always that important to me. Like any filmmaker I use the strongest tools that I have, and female characters are it. Jason Isaacs said to me that I write about women because it frees me to write about emotional subjects more emotionally. I like women and feminine things. Anything from the gregarious nature of women to pregnancy to a woman's face trying to pick out clothing or seeing a handsome man. How they love their loved ones and how they drive each other crazy. The ways they pursue the things they want. Of course I don't really know what they're thinking—but what fun to imagine it.


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