Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Interview with Jenna Malone and Macauley Culkin about "Saved!"

Movie Mom: This movie has a large cast of young people with a wide variety of backgrounds and styles. How did you all figure out a way to work together so well?
Jena Malone and Macaulay Culkin together at the same time: Shock therapy!
Macaulay Culkin: Other people have different processes, and you have to be respectful of that. You watch. You see how they work. Some are method; some don't like to run lines. You have to try to figure that out and try not to interject.
Jena Malone: For one scene Eva (Amurri) was banging into the wall with such force that she got crazy bruises. So I did tell her she didn't have to throw herself into it so completely!

Movie Mom: Most of the cast in this film is very young, but you did work with two of the finest grown-up actors in movies today, Martin Donovan and Mary-Louise Parker. What was that like?

Macaulay Culkin: I was only in one brief scene with Mary-Louise, and she was only around for a short time at the end of the shoot. But we worked with Martin (who plays the school principal) a lot. It took a little while to open him up. He has a very serious air. What finally got him was a discussion about the proper name for a group of ducks. I got totally into this thing about the names of groups of animals -- a murder of crows, for example. A group of geese are called a gaggle in the sky and a flock in the air. But we couldn't find the name for a bunch of ducks. Finally, we tracked it down: it's a paddling of ducks.

Movie Mom: Good to know! Macaulay, tell me how you got so adept at using the wheelchair for the film.

Macaulay Culkin: A couple of months in advance, I had the producers send me a wheelchair to try out at home. My apartment has hardly any furniture and no rugs, so it was easy to get around. I also worked with some people at a rehab facility, including a therapist and a kid about my age who had only been in a wheelchair for six months. He helped me to learn about how to get out of bed, get up from the floor, go to the bathroom, and other strategies that wheelchair-bound people have to cope with every day. One really important thing is "shifting in the chair" to prevent bedsores. As an actor, you have to get used to doing the scene from lower down than the person you are talking to a lot of the time. It was fun to learn, but that was because I knew I could get out of it any time I wanted to.

Movie Mom: And you, Jena, had to wear a pregnancy pad. What was that like?

Jena Malone: Believe it or not, this is the third time I have been pregnant in an acting role. Once was on an episode of "Homicide" when I was just 12! It isn't just adjusting to the changed shape and size of your body. You also have to remember the health issues, feeling sick and all that, making that a part of the performance.

Movie Mom: Did you visit with some evangelical Christians to help you prepare for the part?

Jena Malone: Yes, we visited a New Age youth group, really church squared. It really helped to see the kids my age together and also one on one as they talked with me about their faith. It was important to get acquainted with their ferver and absolute passion for their belief because it is very specific.
Macaulay Culkin: I went to a concert and rally in a big 40,000 seat field, with a U2-sound-alike band. What was interesting was that at the concert there were Christians picketing other Christians, Christian groups protesting the kind of Christianity being celebrated inside the field. Everyone thinks everyone else is doing it wrong.

Movie Mom: What's next for you?

Jena Malone: Well, he has a pilot....

Movie Mom: You've been doing this so much you can answer each other's questions?

Macaulay Culkin: Yes, we can! I have done a pilot for NBC and I hope it works out. I'd also love to do more theater anytime. I love the process of the six weeks of rehearsal and the immediacy of it.
Jena Malone: My next movie is 'The Rose and the Snake' with Daniel Day-Lewis.

Movie Mom: One thing I liked a lot about the movie was that while it is very tough on the way some people interpret Christianity, it is very respectful of the teachings of Christianity. What do you think is the most important message of the movie?

Macaulay Culkin: It has two messages that mean a lot together--you should have respect for your beliefs and the strength to question your beliefs.
Jena Malone: That's right. The movie is about having faith and re-evaluating your faith.

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