Speaking on Whispers and Transformations
Charlize Theron is no stranger to transformation and she masters it again in Tully as Marlow, a sometimes strong, sometimes fragile mother of three. She also played along with a pretty awesome cast that helped her tell what appeared to be just an ordinary story about an average American family, showing a peek inside of a mom navigating the rises and falls of motherhood.
At the Tully press conference, there was a conversation had. It was funny, it was candid, it was necessary. Tully vividly displays one of motherhood’s biggest whispers in the wind. And it’s a lot more than just a weekday crappy dinner or a toddler meltdown. The cast shared thoughts on motherhood, raising children and not being alone.
American vs. South African Motherhood
Q: I wanted to talk to you about what your opinion is on motherhood and how it differs in other countries and specifically, is there something uniquely American? Or something uniquely South African that stand out to you?
CHARLIZE THERON: I think there’s something about being a parent that just is the same for everybody. There was this documentary a couple of years ago called Babies. I saw it right before my kids came into my life and I it really moved me because ultimately what you see is the experiences are very different. And you know, in Mongolia you can actually tie a kid to a table and not go to jail and here that would probably be problematic.
But ultimately — it’s the one thing that I think we all share is just that we’re trying to get through every day whatever whatever we choose to do to hopefully be the best things for your kids and it might be different in how we go about it in different countries, but I think, as mothers, I think we’re always in some weird way always, every decision gets made based from our kids. Like or at least I have found that.
Kids Need Villages
There’s a thing in South Africa, we have this saying, “It takes a village to raise a kid,” and I was raised that way. I grew up with a lot of people around me and my mom — really sharing me with a lot of people and it was just great to grow up that way and I, for me, it was always going to be how I was going to raise my kids and from the moment they came home, that first night, my village was there and they got to meet their village and that village is in their life now and I think will be in their life, in their life forever.
And I rely on those people. They are kind of like my chosen family. And I value what they bring to my kids’ lives and I know that I’m not solely responsible for how great my kids are. There’s a lot of great people who are bringing so much to their lives.
And I think this movie will maybe start that conversation a little bit more, because when we talk about help it’s always — it feels so cold. But you know, help can be something that’s really warm and — it doesn’t have to feel like this isolated thing that you’re bringing in from the outside to help you. I think the more you think about it, it’s like just becoming part of raising a child — instead of just help. I think it makes it — you realize the value in that and I’m so grateful for the people that I have, not only in my life, but in my kids’ lives.
Motherhood, Don’t Be Afraid
Q: Was there a trick to sort of modulating what you would show and what you wouldn’t show, so as to not maybe scare off people from motherhood? Because it can be kind of scary sometimes. And also, you know, wonderful, too.
MACKENZIE DAVIS: Jason doesn’t function in that gear. By the way, no one at this table does.
JASON REITMAN: The exciting thing about this group of actors is their true understanding of what’s happening on the page and you know, I’ve worked with actors who are very talented, but there is a supreme understanding of humor in the drama and what’s behind everything that’s happening here and because of that they’re all interested in how to make moments feel more real. No matter what it is, no matter how self-effacing it is. And so I don’t think any of us ever had a conversation about how we should really hold back here and there.
I think there is a current in our culture that we’re not really supposed to tell our kids about sex, because then they’re going to want to do it and we’re not really supposed to tell them about child-rearing because then they won’t want to do it. But I feel like they’re going to do it either way, whether you tell them not, so you might as well.
You Are Not Alone
Q: What do you hope people will take away, women and men will take away from seeing this film?
CHARLIZE THERON: I would have to say it’s what Jason just talked about — just to not feel alone. I know that making this film made me not feel alone. I think the honesty of the conversation that this movie starts is one that you just can’t deny, because it’s, it’s not truthful. And I think when you live and breathe in that place, then you realize you’re not alone. And I know for myself as a parent, there have been days where I really needed that. I just, I really needed to know that. You know? And I think every parent will tell you that.
And that’s kind of the feedback that we’ve been getting so far. People see this movie and there’s a lot of moments where they see themselves and feel like that has never been or they have never had that opportunity to see that part of being a parent. And that’s a nice thing. I think when you can kind of do something that makes people feel on the level that that’s raw and honest and undeniably truthful, that’s always a great place to be in.
You know, we didn’t water this down and we never came from an angle to make this more appetizing for moms out there or families out there or trying to say something that felt better about motherhood. We really just went for the truth and we all responded to that and I think we just felt like other people would respond to that as well.
Starring: Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, Mark Duplass, and Ron Livingston
A new comedy from Academy Award®-nominated director Jason Reitman (“Up in the Air”) and Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (“Juno”). Marlo (Academy Award® winner Charlize Theron), a mother of three including a newborn, is gifted a night nanny by her brother (Mark Duplass). Hesitant to the extravagance at first, Marlo comes to form a unique bond with the thoughtful, surprising, and sometimes challenging young nanny named Tully (Mackenzie Davis).