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TOM HANKS - SULLY

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TOM HANKS - SULLY

“I’ve got 40 years in the air, but in the end, I’m going to be judged on 208 seconds.”  
(from the movie, “Sully”)

Tom Hanks is considered Hollywood royalty, as the youngest person to have ever received the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award in 2002. What some people may not know is that the 56-year-old actor/director is related to one of America’s greatest presidents—Abraham Lincoln. Genealogists confirmed that indeed he is a descendant, as third cousin, four times removed, from Lincoln’s mother, Nancy Hanks. Upon Hanks announcement of the compelling news of his ancestry, it was only fitting that he narrate the film, Killing Lincoln.

Hank’s resemblance to Lincoln is quite intriguing, adding further credence to the actor’s history of dedicated work in the film industry. His willingness to do whatever it takes to convey the perfect image of a character has been seen over and over again—gaining 30 pounds for his role in 1992’s A League of Their Own; losing 35 pounds and even thinning his hair for the role of a gay lawyer with AIDS in 1993’s Philadelphia; and drastically altering his weight up and down for his role in the 2000 film, Cast Away, which he both gained weight for and later lost 55 pounds.

The committed actor won the 1993 Best Actor Academy Award for his role in Philadelphia, only to be followed up the next year with yet another Oscar for Best Actor for his role in enormous box office hit film, Forrest Gump, making Hanks only the second actor to have won consecutive Best Actor Awards from the Academy (the first being Spencer Tracy). Interestingly, the two talented actors were the exact same age when they received their consecutive awards from Hollywood.

Hanks is not only a father of four: two from previous wife Samantha Lewes, (his first son and now popular actor, Colin Hanks and Elizabeth Hanks); and two with his true love, actress Rita Wilson, (sons Chet and Truman Theodore). Hanks is also grandfather to Colin’s two daughters: five-year-old Olivia and 3-year-old Charlotte.

Opening up in his interview with us, Hanks revealed how truly infected he became by the movie “bug” of reading an exceptional screenplay and the overwhelming drive to do his most recent film, Sully. The multi-talented man who has effortlessly bridged the genres of comedy and drama put a hold on his life, once again, as he says commonly happens in Hollywood, in order to take on the role of real-life famous airline pilot, Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, in the new Clint Eastwood directed film, Sully. It’s the story of a man who acted heroically in the moment of crisis, aborting a flight mid-air on Jan. 15, 2009. Flying out of New York’s LaGuardia airport, the airplane hit a flock of geese, causing the loss of both engines at the lowest altitude recorded in history. In the flight, which only lasted 208 seconds, Capt. Sullenberger made an unprecedented landing on the Hudson River, saving all 155 passengers and its crew, and was touted in the news as the “Miracle on the Hudson.” The controversial screenplay written by Todd Komarnicki has ruffled some feathers, depicting the 18-month investigation by the government’s NTSB to be possibly overly accusatory of the heroic pilot. But let us remember, it’s a movie, and certainly some creative license comes along with that.

STRIPLV: So you were in the middle of planning a well-deserved vacation right when the screenplay, Sully, crossed your path?
HANKS: (laughter) Yeah, yeah! Show business all the way! Show business gets in the way of everything... Pregnancies... You know, I could go through and tell you like, in one movie: “Here, I only have three kids, and in this next scene, I now I have (snaps fingers) four kids,” ‘cause one was born, you know, in between shooting one thing or another. Life gets in the way. I had worked, you know, I had put my head down and plowed through an awful lot of great stuff. And I’m certainly not complaining. But I knew that I was tired, and had in my head a period of non-activity. But, as is often the case, something comes along, and it’s just… It’s not… None of it is about business reasons. That’s not what you work through. The fact is I read the screenplay, written by Todd, and I read it in seventeen minutes. And I was infected with, you know, the “bug” of imagining the story. And once that happens, you’re doomed. The only thing you can do is hope that it works out schedule-wise. And I talked to Clint. We know each other enough in order that the pleasantries didn’t go on for very long. I met him before (mimes a phone conversation from one ear to the other) He said: “Hi. Where are ya?” “I’m in the car.” “Oh, where are ya?” “I’m driving into L.A.” “Oh, okay. Well, I’m in Budapest.” and “Hey, this is great!” “Yeah, it is great.” “When do you want to start?” “Well, I think we have to start in October because we need the Hudson River...” Alright, well…” And then, that’s all it was. It’s just the logistics on the calendar.
STRIPLV: Having never worked with Clint before, although knowing him, how did you find the experience, having both of you with these incredible careers?
HANKS: Well, it’s a two-fold thing. One is: Look, I’ve seen all the movies of Clint Eastwood, and the ones that are amazing are super amazing, you know? Oh, my gosh! I mean, you just run down this list. I know how movies are made. So when I see them, and I see what Clint has done with a minimum amount of fuss, and yet at the same time with every cinematic trick that exists—it’s quite astounding—just from a fan of him making movies. Then, him as an actor, I mean, you know, geez, he’s got some pretty iconic graphic performances in films. That’s one side of it. So, fan, and co-worker—that’s one aspect of it. The other side is: I made a survey of people who have worked with Clint. “So, what’s the deal? Are the stories true? Do you only get one take? Do you not know sometimes when the camera’s rolling?” And they all said, and rightly so, they said: “You know, it’s not a lot of takes, but there’s a lot of coverage—which means that you have seven, eight, nine, maybe even more opportunities to do what you want to do in a scene. And I, to back that up leaving this, I never felt as though we missed, [or] we left something on the table in the time that we were shooting it. And sometimes just the opposite—I felt as though because he moves so fast, we were able to go on and find other aspects of the scenes that only came out because we had big momentum going with us.  
STRIPLV: You spent time with the real Sully.  
HANKS: The real Sully Sullenberger.
STRIPLV: What resonated with you about this man, that became very important?
HANKS: You don’t want to screw up somebody’s life, for one thing. And I do not ever want to project upon them some editorial aspect of their behavior. They behaved as they behaved. What happened to them happened. And the results are completely subjective to themselves. I want to be authentic to all those things. I want to be accurate to all those things, even though in a movie, I will say things they never said, and be in places they never were. I will be interpreting moments that are nothing like what actually happened, but I want to do all those armed with as much authenticity as possible. Part of that is, you know, a guy like Sully, he walked me through the script. He had a big, dog-eared, notated version of one of the early drafts, and he was going through it—even scenes I’m not in: “…because I know you’re not in this, Tom. But I want you to know,” as though it were the Gutenberg bible. And on one hand, I said: “Look, that’s easy to change, Sully, you know? We can change these names and any verbiage in there can be altered. But what’s the other aspect of it? What is the stuff in here that is editorial?” Or what’s the word I’m looking for is: Is it an objective or a subjective moment examination of went on? That’s the stuff that’s more important. Now, oddly enough, there was procedure that was in the screenplay that, by altering it, became more emotionally authentic to what went on. There were other things to it that were just slapped in for the sake of it. Like, for example, Jeff Skiles has never had a drink in his life. And there was an early draft of the screenplay, and they said: “Do you drink?” And he said, “Oh, I haven’t had a drink for eight years,” meaning that he had been an alcoholic? No, he hadn’t. And Sully was like, “You can’t say…that Skiles was ever…” And so, well then, it’s out. And he goes, “Oh, alright.” (chuckling) So, knowing how it works and knowing what we’re gonna have to do sooner or later—I felt that was my job, in order to weigh the differences in between with him and Sully. And there was some stuff. I said, “Well, you might have to fight Clint on that,” or “I don’t know how key that is to what Todd wrote.” But by and large, all of it was in order to get to this place in the film, in the relationship that I had with Sully, me and him. I wanted the jungle drums to be beating. I wanted to hear the same drums that he heard. And whether we did that or not is open to interpretation. But, you know, between his book, you’d have to ask him, “How authentic?” I don’t know if we did everything exactly perfect, but… The big aspect is his book does not have the period of time of waiting for the NTSB hearing, and hearing the results of it. I said, “Why isn’t it in the book?” He said, “Because it hadn’t happened yet.” (chuckling) He had written the book before that happened. So finding out about the pressure of that, this could have been a screenplay in which that was truly fake, and just ratcheted up because you’ve gotta make a movie about it. And it turned out to be the opposite. It was actually much more emotional for Sully. The 18 months that he spent. The only thing we did is we compressed it. So you don’t really know how much time went between the two. But that ended up being even more so than what Todd wrote. But the good news about that is that you carry that around in your head. It’s not something that, you know, you don’t place placards right next to it. You just do it.
STRIPLV: Why do you think that the events of that flight on January 15, 2009 were so remarkable?
HANKS: My philosophy is this: It’s because of what didn’t happen. We’d gone through 9/11. The last thing the world needed to see and the last thing New York City wanted to experience was a bunch of dead people against the skyline of New York City. They did not need to see more wreckage, more flames on the water. They did not want to experience a moment where, guess what? Everything fell apart one more time. The opposite happened, (chuckles) which on one hand is something to celebrate. But the bullet dodged, I think, is why it has this emotional resonance. Can you imagine what the next 10 days would’ve been like in New York City, with the river right there, with the bodies that would have to have been pulled out of the water? And all the stories… The New York Times would have run that same story of all the little pictures of all the people that had been lost, and in that picture you would have seen some sense of what America is, the different fabric—regular, ordinary lives of people in New York and Charlotte, North Carolina, the crew. You would have seen it all again. And it would have been a massive, long moment of national mourning. And instead what happened was, our institutions proved worthwhile—the people were prepared, the professionals actually did their job. And guess what? We all survived what seemed to be an act of God—by way of a flock of Canadian geese, flying. Now, I think that’s why… You can celebrate what Sully did and his instincts, and all that stuff, by all means. But I think that the resonance that I felt… this is what I felt when I read the screenplay—because it had even more moments in it of people who are in New York City who are looking out. You know what they were seeing? Another low-flying passenger airplane, you know, coming in (holding his hands over his face in panic), coming in, at the level of the buildings of New York City. No one wanted to see that. No one wanted to see that again! And they did, and it turned out to be one of the best news stories of the decade. So I think that’s what it is.

CLINT EASTWOOD - ENIGMA

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CLINT EASTWOOD - ENIGMA

Clint Eastwood is one of Hollywood’s most legendary stars, and though his talents are widely multi-faceted, the world often still sees him as his original character of Dirty Harry spouting the iconic line: “Go ahead. Make my day.”

The fact is that Eastwood is anything but the one-dimensional police inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan. And though the 6’ 4” charismatic Californian may have been a late bloomer, (at age 34 appeared in his first major film, waited till age 38 to start a family, directorial debut at 41, and received his first Oscar nomination at 63), Eastwood has given the world a lifetime worth of cinematic pleasure. First starting in the industry as an actor, then as an award-winning director, at the age of 74, he became the oldest in his field to win an Oscar for Best Director for the 2004 film, Million Dollar Baby. It’s actually been much of Eastwood’s behind-the-scenes talent that has made films shine. It’s been his direction that captured the Oscar-nominated performances of 11 different actors: Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman, Angelina Jolie, Gene Hackman, Bradley Cooper, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Matt Damon and Marcia Gay Harden, as well as himself, when he starred in the 1992 film, Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby. Eastwood also adds extra sparkle to movies through music as an accomplished jazz pianist. He has written for both the soundtracks (31 credits) and musical compositions (8 credits, one of which was on his Oscar-winning direction for Million Dollar Baby).

Eastwood’s unique style of direction is well-known throughout the Hollywood community, insisting his actors wear as little makeup as possible, printing first takes, resulting in quick turnarounds that stay on schedule and on budget, and absolutely no test screening of his films before release. His approach is even as different as his command of saying, “Okay” to start and stop each take, rather than the traditional “Cut” and “Action!” The legendary movie great is semi-fluent in Italian and credits Marilyn Monroe as his inspiration for his distinctive voice. He felt the temptress’s breathy, sexy whisper made a great signature, and decided to create his own male version, which was just as successful at capturing the hearts of fans across the world. Yet when it comes to his personal life, Eastwood keeps it private, never having discussed his two previous marriages, nor that he has eight children by six different women, one of them being his son, Scott Eastwood, who made his film debut in 2006’s Flags of Our Fathers, (directed by his father), and more recently has been seen in Fury, Suicide Squad, and Snowden.

Eastwood sat with us to discuss his newest endeavor, the heroic yet controversial story of the “Miracle on the Hudson”, made into the film, Sully. With his traditional stern demeanor speckled with his warm smile, Eastwood revealed his motivation for taking on the screenplay by Tom Komarnicki, based on the book, “Highest Duty”, by the real-life pilot himself, Capt. Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger, and co-writer, Jeffrey Zaslow, working with the talented Tom Hanks and Aaron Eckhart, and shares his own personal story of landing on the water on an aircraft.

STRIPLV: What did you think when you first heard the real “Hudson Landing” story?
EASTWOOD: Well, I was fascinated by it, as were most people—but especially, that iconic picture of the plane floating on the Hudson River and all the people standing out on it, or a good portion of them out there standing on the wings. And I thought: ‘That’s an interesting, great shot.’ And the fact that nobody perished in the landing was great, and it was kind of a good news program all-around.
STRIPLV: It was at a time when there was so much… well, other kinds of news.
EASTWOOD: Yeah. Well, there was—especially for New Yorkers. It became a subject of discussion, because it was not too long after 9/11, and the economy was bad there at the time, and everybody was slightly on a depressed thing… kinda (chuckles) like they are today. Anyway, it was a fascinating story and I didn’t know that there was a conflict to it. So when it came up, it was presented to me as the idea for a movie, and I thought: ‘Well, it was such an uplifting story—where is the conflict of it to give it the drama?’ And later on there is a conflict to it, as we find out in the plotline. I read that and then I realized: ‘Well, I want to make this now.’ It’s got good dramatic to it and it’s got good human factors.
STRIPLV: Tell us about going up to meet the real Sully and his wife, Lorraine.
EASTWOOD: (chuckles) Well, he was pretty much like the news coverage. The news portrayed him as a very low-key, sort of humble gentleman, but a very efficient man with a great history in aviation. And he was like that. I went up to Danville [California], and met with both he and his wife. And it was great, because he was exactly like I always kinda pictured him. In fact, we sat there, and my first questions to him were: “How did you like the script?” And he said, “Oh, I think it’s a good script.” And I said, “Oh, you think it portrays things accurately?” (Because I wanted to see if there was anything that he thought was made up that didn’t look right.) And he was extremely pleasant and very supportive of the deal. So I said: “Who do you see playing you?” And he said, “Well, I don’t know. We’ve talked about that a little bit and a couple things…” I said: “What about Tom Hanks?” And he said, “Yeah!” He thought right away and said: “He’s terrific!” And so that’s what happened. We came back and made an overture to Tom Hanks. And at first Tom wasn’t sure about the timing and everything, because he’d been doing other projects. But he did read the script and liked it a lot. So, he found that he wanted to be participating.
STRIPLV: What was it about Tom that he was your first choice from the beginning?
EASTWOOD: Right from the very beginning. It never was offered to anybody else. Well, Tom has a certain presence, and a certain humbleness in his presence. He’s not an extrovert-ish… I mean, he can be. But he comes across as a reserved type of guy. And he just seemed like he’d be able to get his arms around the character. I can’t think of any downside to him. He’s the exact same age in real life as Sully was when the incident happened. Everything fell into place.
STRIPLV: Aaron Eckhart is a huge fan of yours. What made you cast him in this role?
EASTWOOD: In fact, when the real Sully saw the picture, he thought that Aaron had captured the first officer in a very great way. He thought it was very much like the guy—the same sense of humor, the same kind of playfulness, prior to of course, the incident. And Aaron was just about the same age. Everything fit. I always believe that one of the most important things in making a film is casting it correctly. And sometimes you’re very elated when that happens and it turns out to be just right. And sometimes when it turns out not just right, you’re figuring, well, what other gimmick can I put here to cover up the fact that this is nothing like the person that you’re portraying there?
STRIPLV: Why was it so important to be truthful and authentic in telling this story?
EASTWOOD: Well, I think it was important to be authentic because it isn’t that long ago, you know, we’re talking seven years. If it’s something that’s historical or centuries back or half a century or century back, it’s not such a big deal, but you try to get it accurate there, too. There’s still a ton of people that were standing there on either the street when they saw all this happen, or they were in office buildings or hotels, or whatever, and they looked out and saw this plane hit the water, and then all the people out on the wings, and everything. And all the newscasters were covering it. It was covered worldwide pretty well. I was talking to some people from China the other day. They knew all about it. It’s still in the memories of everybody—the real event. 
STRIPLV: I understand you had your own brush with a water landing?
EASTWOOD: I did. It was something similar, except it was a military plane. It was a Douglas AD. I was in the army at 21. I was drafted at age 21. At that time, during the Korean War, if you wore your uniform, you could fly free on any other branch of the service. So I wanted to go back, after basic training to Seattle, where my folks were living at that time. So I went out to Monterey Airport and got on a free flight to Seattle. But nothing comes for nothing, sometimes, anyway. When coming back on that Sunday night, I called up San Pointe out of Seattle and asked if they had any openings on a plane. They said, no, they didn’t have any—nothing was going there. Then they said, “Well, wait a minute. We do have two Douglas AD’s, and they’re taking off, and it does have a compartment in the back.” It’s used for radar and various things, because these things were used during the Korean War and WWII as torpedo bombers. And they said: “You’re not claustrophic, are ya?” I said: “Oh, no. I’m not claustrophic. No problem.” Because these compartments are tiny, and you can’t see out much. You’ve got a little, tiny porthole on the side. We took off from there and we had all kinds of bad weather. Had to change course and had all kinds of problems, oxygen running out...and then finally we got to San Francisco. We were going to Alameda Air Base, and it was all stormy. Very stormy. And so I began to wonder: ‘Maybe we’re going to end up landing on Mount Tamalpais or something.’ But the radios didn’t work, so he went out to sea and finally found a hole through the clouds. And they got down under the clouds, and you could see the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, and the last word I hear on the radio before it went out is: “Two hours estimated gas,” or something like that—some ridiculous amount. So he went up the coast by Point Reyes, Northern California, and we were off several miles. We landed it in the water, and the same thing—the engine gave out. The same thing as in the movie. Nobody told me anything because I couldn’t hear anything. So I tightened my seatbelt down so much I was getting gangrene. And we hit the water, and bounced along pretty good, much like the plane does in Sullenberger’s case. And then the plane went up [vertical] and started sinking. Meanwhile, I’m unbuckling and getting out, and the plane is facing downwards, but it had big flaps. So I’m standing on the flap. The pilot comes down from the cockpit and says: “What do you think?” I said, “Looks like we’re going swimming.” And so we jumped in the water and started moving toward shore. Now this was late afternoon, and it turned dark as we went. But you could see the shore, because it had phosphorus in the water, and very eery, because phosphorus makes the water all kinda glow all around. And you could see by the way that it was crashing on the shore, that it wasn’t gonna be a good place to land. So we made it, crawling over kelp beds and doing all kinds of stuff like that, and finally made it in. He thought I had drowned. I thought he had drowned—because we had lost touch with each other because of the waves. I started hiking South. He hiked North. Finally I ended up at a RCA Relay Station up on the cliff, near Bolinas, California. 
STRIPLV: That is an amazing story! When is that movie coming out? (laughter)
EASTWOOD: Well, it has to do with nothing really today—except that it was an interesting choice that I’m given a movie about a water landing that was successful to direct. So I guess, (smiles) I’m as knowledgeable as anyone they could have gotten.

MILA KUNIS - BAD MOMS

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BAD MOMS
MILA KUNIS
with KRISTEN BELL
and KATHRYN HAHN

Hot and hilarious make for a winning combination in these bodacious beauties taking on the role of motherhood in the hit comedy film, Bad Moms, starring Mila Kunis, Christina Applegate, Kathryn Hahn and Kristen Bell.

Mila Kunis is considered one of the sexiest women in the world. The petite 5’ 4” seductress may be well-known for her sultry, raspy voice—but many may not know she speaks three languages: English, Russian, and some Spanish—or that her beautiful eyes are two different colors: her left eye is brown and her right eye is green.  

The Ukraine-born beauty proves her comedic acting chops are spot-on once again in her newest comedy. From the 14-year-old tart on the Fox television sitcom, “That ‘70s Show”, to the 2010 thriller, Black Swan, Kunis has certainly shown her talent range from comedy to serious drama, when she dropped 20 pounds and trained for seven weeks as a ballerina. That film garnered her Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild best supporting actress nominations.

Kunis married the man who she had her first on-set kiss with, fellow actor from “That ‘70s Show”, Ashton Kutcher. They gave birth to their first daughter, Wyatt, September of 2014, which made the role as Amy in Bad Moms a perfect fit for Kunis, which she began filming 16 months after entering motherhood. The couple is happily expecting their second child sometime this fall.

Kristen Bell is possibly known best as the narrator for the ever-popular hit teen television series, “Gossip Girl”. Other fans grew up loving her as the seventeen-year-old detective from the popular 2004 TV series, “Veronica Mars”. The Michigan-born girl-next-door hit the big-time as the voice character of Princess Anna in Disney’s 2013 blockbuster film, Frozen, and fans just ate her up as she sang on four songs on the movie’s soundtrack. Remember: “Do You Wanna Build A Snowman”? That’s Bell. It was during that film, in March 2013, she and husband Dax Shepard had their first child, Lincoln (whose name can be found in the film credits as “Production Baby”). Bell was also filming the hit Showtime series, “House of Lies” while she had been six months pregnant and a body double was used for most of the scenes. A year later, the couple welcomed their second daughter, Delta, and Bell returned to work three months after giving birth in order to shoot the film, The Boss, starring opposite Melissa McCarthy. And after five successful seasons, “House of Lies” just ended its series finale this year.

Voted PETA’s “World’s Sexiest Vegetarian”, Bell loves animals, often volunteering for animal-related charities. Her roots remain strong in the heartland, as she is still a diehard Red Wings (hockey) fan. Just this spring, Bell began promoting mental health awareness, opening up to the world about her own personal struggles with anxiety, depression and ADHD, of which she’s been taking medication for since childhood.

Kathryn Hahn took a hold of our hearts with her role as the amiable grief counselor, Lily Lebowski, in NBC’s prime-time drama, “Crossing Jordan”, which ran for seven years (2001-2007). But in between, the hilarious brunette hit the big screen in 2003 as Kate Hudson’s health editor roommate in the romantic comedy, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, then there was 2004’s Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, 2008’s Step Brothers, and then she starred opposite Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in the starkly serious 2008 drama, Revolutionary Road.

2012 saw the Cleveland, Ohio native Hahn back working in television on several different shows like: “Parks and Recreation”, with fellow funny girl, Amy Poehler for the next four years. Hahn’s comedic chops have on occasion been compared to legendary comedian, Carol Burnett.  

The talented actress who plays one of the ‘Bad Moms’ also knows personally about motherhood, having had two children with her husband, Ethan Sandler, (their son, Leonard – age 9, and daughter, Mae – age 7). Hahn gets to join her naughty trio of bad moms (Kunis, Bell and Hahn) in their hilariously raunchy hard-R motherhood comedy, Bad Moms, as they smoke, drink (and even make out with each other) all the while continually giving the bird to Applegate and her prim group of moms. 

STRIPLV: Mila, what originally drew you to the film?
KUNIS: I wanted to do something that at this point in my life I could relate to. And you know, being a mom was something so new to me, and so fresh that, it was kind of fun to play off of it, instead of going off and doing, you know, [stunt] wires for seventeen hours a day. This was actually really great. And the truth is, I got to work with six brilliant women—who are so funny, and so smart! And I think the idea of being in an ensemble cast like this was so appealing to me, because I wanted to do something with a group of people. I didn’t want to be isolated. And I wanted to do something fun. And so, this was kind of perfect.
STRIPLV: What exactly is a “bad mom”—according to the parameters of this movie?
KUNIS: A bad mom would be someone who would give their kid processed foods (smiling) within the film’s parameters. A bad mom would be someone whose kid probably would not wear organic clothing. A bad mom would be someone whose kid probably doesn’t shower every day. A bad mom would be someone whose kid watches one hour too much television. A bad mom would be someone who allows their kid to go past their bedtime, …whose kid doesn’t speak three languages, …whose kid doesn’t brush his hair every day, …whose kid sometimes has to wait for the mom to pick him up from school… I would say that’s within the parameters of the movie. 
STRIPLV: Mila, tell us about your role as the control freak character, Amy.
KUNIS: I think Amy’s arc throughout the film is so representative, I do believe, of most people in this world. I think that everybody can relate to it in some form. You strive for everything to be perfect. And you forget that the ‘messy’ of the life is what makes life happen. And I think you have a character, who at a very young age, was responsible for two living, breathing human beings. My character had a kid at 19, and a kid at 20. And so you’re faced with like: You have to hustle, and you have to make it work—and in order to make it work, it has to look like this. And that’s what you’re kind of fed at a very early age. You need a house, you need health insurance, you need a white picket fence. Your kids need to go to school, they need to be well-fed, they need to have organic food, non-processed, non-GMO, you need to drive an eco-friendly car—like everything, it’s constant. It’s oversaturation of information. It’s making us as people strive to be these impossible human beings. And I think that my character kinda has to come a little bit full circle, in regards to: she starts off on one extreme, goes through the polar opposite halfway through the film, and then finds her happy medium by the end.
STRIPLV: What was it like on set working with all these great ladies?
KUNIS: Every single woman in this film is a mom. And there’s something about that, that instantly you bond to. Like the first dinner we had as a cast, we realized we were all depressed because we were leaving our babies. And all of our babies are different ages, from K. Bells, whose youngest is I think, maybe thirteen months, to Jada’s, who is nineteen or twenty-months, and everything in between. Everybody was leaving their babies! And you found this like insane bond with these women instantly that made you love them, because everyday you’d come to work and be like: “Oh, my God! Three more days, and I can see my baby… two more days!” Everybody’s there to help each other throughout the day—Christina being one of those women. She’s brilliantly funny, smart, beautiful on the inside and outside, a great mother, a fantastic woman! I’ve known her on and off a little bit for the past maybe 10 years, I would say very loosely, like through a proof reel. And I’ve always been a huge fan of hers. And so when the name came up of: “What do you think of getting Christina Applegate?” and I was like: “Uh, if you can get her… (sarcastically) Good luck!” (laughter) But I was so excited to work with her. She’s great! She’s awesome.
STRIPLV: Kristen and Kathryn, how do you feel this film captures the everyday realities of motherhood?
BELL: This film is a wonderful, comedic portrayal of every moment moms have had, or even if you’ve just ever had a mom, when like, it’s hitting the fan, and things are going down the hill and everybody just needs a release.
HAHN: Yeah. Jon and Scott wrote a gorgeous love letter to their amazing, rad wives. And it’s such a crazy, beautiful escape, and it felt so good and cathartic to make, that I can only imagine how fun it would be to sit and watch it.
STRIPLV: So there’s already been a movement online crowning June 29th “Bad Mother’s Day.” (Bell and Hahn both gasp, elated at the news)
KUNIS: (nonchalantly) I know.
HAHN: No way!
KUNIS: (looking over to Hahn) We heard that yesterday, woman! Remember that one lady told us.
HAHN: (shocked) I don’t listen to people! (Bell’s jaw is still dropped wide open and still has her hands up and fingers wide open in gleeful surprise)
KUNIS: …when we did that weird interview thing for the premiere. 
HAHN: Oh, I thought she just said it! (pointing to STRIPLV interviewer) I thought it was her little idea.
KUNIS: I don’t know how it started, but I thought what a great way…
BELL: (grabbing both girls’ hands) Happy almost “Bad Mother’s Day,” you guys.
KUNIS: Happy Bad Mother’s Day.
HAHN: Happy Bad Mother’s… That’s so cute.
KUNIS: Such a cute way of going about it.
STRIPLV: So how would you celebrate that day?
KUNIS: Happy Bad Mother’s Day? Oh, interesting. You know how I’d celebrate it? Like I do every other Mother’s Day: wake up to homemade breakfast in bed that almost looks like pancakes. And then maybe go and get a massage, and then go to the park, and like, literally hang out with my kids the entire day.
STRIPLV: Kristen, how would you celebrate Bad Mother’s Day?
BELL: I would celebrate Bad Mother’s Day by following my instincts moment by moment. I wouldn’t plan anything, if that means we eat cereal all day. I strive to do that every day, but I often fail, because I’m preparing for the next moment. I would just live in the now.
HAHN: On Bad Mother’s Day, I would go see the film, Bad Mothers. (roars of laughter) Bad Mothers! Hah! I take that back. And it would be difficult to find that theater, because that movie doesn’t exist. On Bad Mother’s Day, I would go see the movie, Bad Moms, for sure, with a bunch of amazing, like-minded...
HAHN & BELL: (Bell joins Hahn and say together, with attitude) Bad mothers!
STRIPLV: This movie is so fun and outrageous. Tell us more about shooting your most favorite outlandish scene.
HAHN: (pointing at Kristen) Kiki as the uncut dick was pretty fun.
BELL: I’ve never… this may come as a shock, I’ve never played an uncut dick before. And I thought: ‘What do I want to do with my career?’ And immediately, I thought: ‘I want to play an uncut dick.’ I knew it instinctually. (Mila starts cracking up) And this movie was the perfect vessel.  
KUNIS: You did a wonderful job.
HAHN: Yeah, you were like Leonardo DiCaprio. She went into the wilderness as an uncut dick.
KUNIS: She went method for it.
BELL: Thank you. Thank you.
STRIPLV: What would you each say is the real message of this film?
HAHN: Just like, let it go? (laughing)
KUNIS: Weird, Kathryn, weird.
HAHN: I would say just release those expectations. Don’t be so hard on yourselves and don’t be so hard on other mamas.
BELL: And know that we’re all on your team, because we’re all in this together—whether that’s friends, or other mothers, or like, dare I say, the human race? We’re all in this together, and there are people out there that are like-minded. Check yourself that you’re not walking around awaiting judgement, because that’s part of the problem. Walk around confidently and go: “I don’t need to be judged, because I don’t care to be judged.” And I know that there are other like-minded people who want to be on my team and support this experience that I’m having here on Earth.
KUNIS & HAHN: Yeah!
STRIPLV: So what was it like for each of you to work with two males directors on a movie that’s about overworked and underappreciated moms?
KUNIS: Jon and Scott are oddly two people that are like peanut butter and jelly. They go together so well, but you take them apart and they’re missing each other. They direct so beautifully with one another. Scott is very tech heavy, and Jon is very actor heavy. And Scott wants everything to be real, and Jon wants to put in comedy. And they fit each other like little puzzle pieces. They’re unbelievable to work with. I literally said, I was like: “I’ll do anything for you—anything!” They’re so fun. They’re funny. This movie was written by them. If you read this movie, you’d be like: “Oh, a woman wrote it.” And you realize that two men wrote this movie, and after talking to them, you understand it’s just an homage to their wives. They love and respect their wives so much, and women and moms, in general. And they wrote a script, they gave it to a bunch of their female friends and were like: “Read this. Tell me what’s not right with this and then tell me your funny mom stories.” And I think that that reads on paper. They’re so great to work with. And I’m not just saying this. I love them so much, that every day, it’s such a lovely crew to be a part of.
BELL: They were sharp as tacks about female issues and what the female spirit was going through as they were trying to rear children, I feel like. They were so observant and so open to new ideas, because they wrote this script that is a love letter to their wives, so clear, yet they were always willing to take our feedback: “Well, you know when I’m with my kids…” They were just welcoming and lovely.
KUNIS: They had no ego. They wrote a script because they wanted to, not because they had something to prove. And I think that it shows. They legitimately had hundreds of women’s opinions who read the script, and interviewed women for their stories, and implemented them within the script. And I think that that shows, because they just wanted to make a really great film. So they didn’t have an ego going into it.
HAHN: Yeah, they’re both amazing listeners.
KUNIS: Yeah.
BELL: Yes.
STRIPLV: So what would you say to moms who are trying to do it all?
KUNIS: I think that you should try and you can do it all, but just know that there’s no such thing as 50/50 balance. And that’s okay. I think coming to terms with it and knowing it… Not just okay, that that just is the reality. And do as much as you can, where you can, and whatever time you can do it at, and know that that’s the most that you can do, and don’t be hard on yourself. But also know that like, it’s like a scale, like some things go up and down and ultimately somehow it all comes out even in the wash. But I think that trying to think that everything can be balanced is false hope.
HAHN: And not everything comes out in the wash, turns out.
KUNIS: Some things get lost, like socks.
HAHN: Some things are stained, yes.
KUNIS: Forever. (laughter)

SUICIDE SQUAD - It Feels Good To Be Bad

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SUICIDE SQUAD - IT FEELS GOOD TO BE BAD

Assemble a team of the world’s most dangerous, incarcerated Super Villains, provide them with the most powerful arsenal at the government’s disposal, and send them off on a mission to defeat an enigmatic, insuperable entity. Sounds like a hit? Whether or not critics like it, the DC Comics film is a blockbuster—and most especially with the younger crowd—which makes sense, since they’ve grown up on these characters.

The charismatically naughty “Suicide Squad” includes the ever-stunning Margot Robbie (Tarzan, The Wolf of Wall Street, Focus), Oscar winner Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club), Will Smith (Concussion, The Pursuit of Happyness), Oscar nominee Viola Davis (The Help, Doubt), and Joel Kinnaman (Netflix’s “House of Cards”, “The Killing”) from director/producer and screenwriter, David Ayer (who wrote and directed Suicide Squad, as well as Fury and End of Watch and also wrote the intense action-drama, Training Day).

Based on the characters from DC Comics, the film also stars Jai Courtney (Insurgent), Jay Hernandez (Takers), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Thor: The Dark World), Ike Barinholtz (Neighbors), Scott Eastwood (Fury), Cara Delevingne (Paper Towns), Adam Beach (Cowboys & Aliens), and Karen Fukuhara in her feature film debut.

We had a chance to interview the magnetic three Super Villians: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Jared Leto—larger than life, each in their own, unique way.  

Will Smith’s portrayal of “Deadshot” is both powerful and touching when he lovingly speaks of his daughter that he so misses when he’s incarcerated. Jared Leto’s portrayal of “Joker” is unlike any other, strongly appealing to the Millennials with his swirling, almost faded (drug-induced) maniacal approach to the dark character. But it’s Margot Robbie who steals the show. Her portrayal of the psychotic “Harley Quinn” is both captivating and alluring—even adorable at times as the lovely loon whose heart is daftly bound to someone just as demented as herself.

STRIPLV: Tell us what it was like to take on these vibrant roles, balancing what comic book fans already know and what you guys wanted to bring to your characters.
LETO: For me, it was actually the role of a lifetime. I had so much fun playing the Joker, I could easily just play the Joker a couple more times and retire. It was a buzz. But you guys seemed like you were having all the fun in the movie.  
SMITH: We were really enjoying it. David Ayer has a very interesting process of getting actors into their characters. Manipulation, domination, torture—yeah. (laughter) So we all got in a room, and essentially, it was more like therapy than it was, you know, character creations. So we sat and we talked about our lives, and we got really close [discussing] our triumphs and tribulations, and trials, and then, at the most opportune moment, Joel describes it best: “He would completely betray us.” 
LETO: That’s also how you start a cult. (laughter)
STRIPLV: For Margot, Will and Jared – What was the most challenging aspect of making this movie, and was anybody mildly injured or did any mishaps occur during any of the physical scenes?
SMITH: When you’re 47, no injury is a mild injury anymore. Yeah, I tore my calf a couple of weeks. And what’s terrible is you do it doing nothing! Like, I wasn’t doing anything! You know, we’re sparring, and I stepped back to throw a shot, and my calf popped. And you could hear it. People could hear it. And everybody was like: “Ooh! That’s not good! Whatever that sound was, it’s not a good sound!” And then the doctor told me I was down for six weeks. So on a movie like this, you know, six weeks clicks off or can click off at significant amounts of money—that I wasn’t gonna pay for it. But it was really scary to be in that position. I was like: “Oh, my God! This opportunity! Suicide Squad, having this chance, and maybe not gonna be able to deliver it the way I wanted to.” Margot, what was the hardest part for you, other than doing everything we had to do, except you did it in heels?
ROBBIE: Yeah, that was tricky. And I had less layers to hide, padding and stuff. So that made it a little painful. I only got… I thought I broke my rib at one point, but I actually just tore the muscles off the rib instead—but it was fine. When I fell off the chopper straight onto my knees… Oh, my gosh! That hurt so much! But you can’t cry in front of all those people. It’s like, “I’m good. I’m good!” I fell off a stage again in Toronto, as well again. I just popped up and was like: “Oh, that didn’t hurt.” And I was like: ‘Uh, uh. It hurts.’ 
SMITH: Just internal bleeding.
ROBBIE: But the hardest part wasn’t the physical side actually. That’s the mechanical side, and it’s challenging, but it’s rewarding and fun. The emotional stuff was definitely more difficult—exposing my most vulnerable sides in front of a room full of strangers at that point. That was incredibly hard. Trying to figure out the dynamic between Harley and Joker, and why she is so devoted to this guy that tries to kill her occasionally. I mean, things like that, it took me awhile to get my head around. But the physical side was just more fun than challenging.
STRIPLV: Can you talk a little bit about bringing humanity and humor into all the mayhem for this film?
LETO: David was really great, because from the beginning it was clear he wanted to do something different. He wanted to do something special. He wanted to make something that was something we’d all be really proud of. And I could get the sense from him that he was willing to go to all lengths in order to get that. And that was both a little scary, but also really exciting. And he’s not only the director, but the writer of the film. And I was surprised by how much freedom he gave, I think everybody, to just go completely fucking crazy!  
SMITH: No, that was just your experience. (laughter)
LETO: But what I thought was really genius about David is he was always looking for the accident. He was always looking for the mistake, and embracing that. For Margot and I, there was a lot of humor. There was a lot of things that I thought were really funny—in a very sick and twisted way… He was really wonderful in that way.
STRIPLV: We hear that Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) really delved into his part on and off-camera.
SMITH: He took it very serious! Like, he was watching crocodile videos, and you know—cannibalism and all that. And I think that, as a cast, we have a question for him. And I think that Adewale should answer this question honestly, once and for all. [directing his question to the camera] Did you eat any of your assistants? Because there was an assistant that came up missing. He had an assistant. What was the guy’s name?  
LETO: Michael!
SMITH: We all think he ate him. 
ROBBIE: I did. I ate Michael. (laughter)
STRIPLV: Tell us about working with that hilariously crazy Australian, Jai Courtney.
SMITH: He definitely brought crazy! I’ve done love scenes in movies. I’ve had quite a few movies where I’ve had really extensive love scenes. But I’ve never had a co-star that I’ve seen naked more than Jai. You know, it was like he just had a really, really hard time keeping his clothes on during the set. He didn’t feel a need.
LETO: I did see something interesting one day when I was on set. I saw a photograph of a naked man running after David Ayer, who had a look of abject terror on his face.  
SMITH: Yes! Terror—yes!
LETO: And he had the most perfect running form you only see at the Olympics. I think the most aerodynamic form, and a look of intense concentration.  
SMITH: ‘Cause he didn’t want to get caught.
LETO: I think it was a naked Jai. (laughter)
SMITH: I’m not sure. We can’t say for certain.
STRIPLV: Margot, to try to identify with your character, besides a back story, which the comic books do offer, what are some of the ways that you kind of tapped into playing your character? And is there a way that you can identify playing these female characters, but not so as badass, or smart or strong, but maybe vulnerable and narcissistic, or anything of that sort? 
ROBBIE: I did a lot of research, but the thing I found really helpful for just filling in the gaps, because like you said, we have an amazing resource with the comic books, but there are still little gaps in the back story and things you need to fill in yourself. I watched a couple of “Ted Talks” on schizophrenia, amongst like a bunch of other things. But that really helped, because the women that were doing these talks were so intelligent. They were professors. And Holly needs to be wickedly intelligent, but also kind of psychotic. But it was so helpful. And I also got recommended to read a play called “Fall for Love”, about this really dysfunctional relationship, and that, for whatever reason, helped me to unlock the whole feeling toward the Joker. So yeah, some things hit home when you’re doing all your research, and some things kind of don’t. But that really helped.

CHRISTINA APPLEGATE - BAD MOMS

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CHRISTINA APPLEGATE - BAD MOMS

Christina Applegate hit it big in ’88 in her role at age 15 on the hit television series, “Married With Children”, playing one of the most popular roles on TV at the time as Kelly Bundy, the dumb blonde and slutty daughter of the dysfunctional Bundy family. Applegate continued in comedy, winning an Emmy award for her guest appearance on the hit television show, “Friends”, and played the hilarious role of the ambitious new anchorwoman who throws co-star Will Ferrell’s character, Ron Burgundy, for a loop in the hit 2004 comedy film, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.

Then in 2008, Applegate was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent a double mastectomy, yet dove back into Hollywood with her voice on several of the Alvin and the Chipmunks film franchise, and 2010’s Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, before co-starring with funnyman Will Ferrell once again in 2013 in the comedy sequel, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. In between the comedy, Applegate entered motherhood in 2011 with the birth of her daughter, Sadie, with husband Martyn LeNoble.

2015 saw the blond beauty take on the side-splitting role of Debbie Griswold in the remake of the comedy film favorite, Vacation. As a veteran mother to her now five-year-old daughter, Applegate takes on the manic role of Gwendolyn with ease, as a very “bad” mom in this year’s hit comedy, Bad Moms.

STRIPLV: Have you ever encountered a mom in real life that’s as terrible as your character, Gwendolyn?
APPLEGATE: I’ve come across the spirit of Gwendolyn in some moms that I’ve crossed paths with in my years of being a mother at a school. So she’s sort of an amalgamation of a lot of different people that I’ve come across—because I don’t have that in me. I don’t have like that alpha mom who has to kind of control everything. So I really had to sort of pull from what I’ve seen. Not that anyone I’ve ever met has been this awful, but sort of that need. And I’ve just seen it. So it was easy to kind of pull, and then come up with sort of this other worldly person, as well, who I don’t understand—who’s like incredible wealthy, and incredibly lonely.
STRIPLV: Tell us about how your character is struggling in the story.
APPLEGATE: She’s grasping for air! This school, these mothers, these kids, the PTA, is all she has. It’s all a ruse. And it’s not put upon, it’s like this is her air. This is how she’s breathing. It’s where she finds her biggest joy, because it can take her away from what her reality is. And her reality is not good. It’s dark. Her home life is not great.
STRIPLV: What is one of the most difficult tasks in this film for your character to have to handle?  
APPLEGATE: Amy [Mila’s character] challenging her. She’s not used to her challenging her. But she also envies her. She envies sweet, young, wonderful, energetic, broken, you know, mis-stepping mom. She wishes she could be that. And that’s for me, what I’m using as looking around, going: “God, I would love to not have to curl my hair everyday, or put this on. I would love to go get wasted with my girlfriends, and not feel like I have to have everything so perfect.” I mean that’s tiring. And I know people who are very controlling in life—and their exhausted, because if one little piece is out of whack, then the whole thing falls apart. And I think she really, really wishes she could be in with these girls. And that’s when she gets resentful and jealous, and then she starts to see that this is what all the moms really want, is to just be accepted for not being perfect. And that’s killing Gwendolyn. It kills her.
STRIPLV: What was it like working with Mila and all of you six talented women working together?
APPLEGATE: We all lucked out with her as our ringleader. She’s gracious, she’s kind, she’s professional, she’s funny. She’s such a good actress. She’s lovely, she’s adorable, she’s pretty, she’s teeny, she’s awesome. I love her. But I have to say, working with six women, that I don’t know what that could be like, had the stars been aligned in a different way. But these particular six women are so incredible, and kind, and loving, and supportive. And we’re all moms, and so we completely relate to one another. Everyone’s rooting for everyone else. There’s nothing, you know… I know the world wants to think, like: ‘Is there anything catty?’ No, it’s completely opposite. These are the most down-to-earth girls that I’ve ever worked with in my life. So we really lucked out. Really lucked out.
STRIPLV: And how was it on set with directors Jon and Scott?
APPLEGATE: They were wonderful. And they also really trusted our instincts, you know. They didn’t try to like tell us how these women would be feeling, you know, because they really trusted that we knew; that we understood the characters that we were playing, the story that we were telling, and the moral of the story, and also capturing the fun of it, as well. I really liked the fact that they just were like (gesturing hands reeling someone back in), you know, when they felt like they needed to kind of guide us for whatever reason they did, but it was never about the core, because they trusted that we got it. We got this!
STRIPLV: How do you personally relate to the moms in the movie?
APPLEGATE: I went through that for a while where I wouldn’t even let anyone do anything. And it was like, you know: get up, do the morning routine, (which was an hour-and-a-half of crazy town), drop her off myself, rush back home, try to get some exercise for myself, not shower, rush back down to get her, go to pick up the lunch, then go to soccer, then get her to the playdate, get home finally to take a shower. Now I’ve got acne because my sweaty… sweat has been sitting there. And it did end up with me in a crying heap on the floor. And my husband’s like, “You’ve got to like let me do drop-off, and let me do things, because you don’t need to be doing this to yourself.” And I was like, “Yes. You do drop-off, and when you leave, I’m gonna watch “Live with Kelly”, and I’m gonna be happy… all by myself.” It’s really hard to let go of though. It took me a long time.
STRIPLV: What are the main themes of the film?
APPLEGATE: It’s about balance and figuring it out, and then trying to take care of you, too, which is difficult. It can be difficult, and make a living, you know, and work and do all the stuff you can. And there’s no such thing as balance. Everyone says: “We try to balance it out.” Well, there’s no balancing. There’s always gonna be something that loses in the end, but you can try to just give your attention as much as you can. I try to stay in the moment. That’s my whole new thing, is like, ‘Don’t get overwhelmed with everything,’ you know?

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