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THE MOVIE: Married Life

Chris Cooper • Patricia Clarkson • Pierce Brosnan • Rachel McAdams

Rachel McAdams and Pierce Brosnan THE CONCEPT:
After decades of marital contentment, in 1949 Harry (Cooper) concludes that he must kill his wife Pat (Clarkson) because he loves her too much to let her suffer when he leaves her for his young lover Kay (McAdams), but Harry’s best friend Richard (Brosnan) wants to win Kay for himself.

U.S. RELEASE: March 7 2008, Limited • Rated: tba


Patricia Clarkson, Ira Sachs and Chris Cooper“I think that we realized at a certain point that the basic premise of the movie was pretty funny, but the more serious texture, the human heart of it, we took really seriously. Within this funny dark comedy there’s real human emotional things going on.”

“Pat is beautiful, witty with a sense of humor, she’s sexy, she’s clearly a woman well into her forties and she still has something going on. And so probably somewhere in my psyche are all of those great actresses from that era (the forties). I do admire many of them and as a teenager I was influenced by them. But I found Pat kind of her own gal, and quite frank and honest. It was exciting to play her.”

“I can say it now that we’ve done the film, I think Harry was very naïve to assume that his wife wasn’t strong enough to handle the confrontation of the idea of a divorce.”

“I liked the idea that Kay was kind of on the verge of slipping away, of letting herself just disappear - she’s a little ghostly, and Pierce’s character Richard sort of brings the color back to her and her world.”

“When casting the part of Kay, we needed a woman who could walk into a room and within the first few minutes of a movie you could understand why two men fell desperately in love with her. I remember when we shot the scene where Kay enters the restaurant, we wanted a sort of magical quality so what we ended up doing is she’s actually walking in slow motion. I think at the end of the day this is a movie that says this isn’t life itself, but it is lifelike – it’s bigger than life.”

“We had a little bit of concern about the dialogue. This is an adaptation from a British novel and some of the writing had that British tinge to it.”

“We’d say, ‘The only thing missing is tea cakes.’ Ira was so good, he’s a director who really listens, and he’s very specific, he knew what he was doing. He knew what he wanted and if we had difficulties he would change the lines, and there were some things in the script that he was adamant that he would not change.”

“Pierce was delightful. We had a little private get together over dinner, and we just talked about our personal lives and we found some similarities in that, and just spending that evening together was a great help in that the first scene we shot which was the opening scene of the film in the Sky Bar Restaurant - it felt like we knew each other. The same thing with Rachel; I realize I didn’t do that many scenes with Rachel, we established the relationship in the film with just a handful of scenes. Everybody was very comfortable with each other.”

“I had a dinner with Pierce too in Vancouver, I didn’t know him but he’s my confidante in the film, so getting to know him was lovely. He’s incredibly talented and a real gentleman, and lovely to work with – both he and Chris, it was dreamy to go to work every day. Seriously, sometimes I couldn’t sleep at night I was so excited.”

“I think of all the four main characters, Pierce early on saw great humor in this script and he found those moments brilliantly.”

“In terms of the romance, I think that Kay has already lost the love of her life, so what was interesting to me was what kind of love was she looking for, was it more like Harry or more like Richard, who are very different?”

“Almost all relationships are either a comedy or a tragedy, and often they’re both. And I think this film talks about how it just swerves from one to the other in the course of a romantic life.”

“It’s a period movie but it’s not a period piece. I think we approached it naturalistically. Ultimately its tone and what you see, it does have style, it has a lift, it is a smashing of genres, Ira took the thriller, he took the melodrama and a dark comedy and kind of came up with this new cocktail.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Film Review, #694, April 2008 cover

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