What You Should Know about ‘The Perfect Family’ From Kathleen Turner, Jason Ritter and Anne Renton
Director Anne Renton’s debut movie, The Perfect Family, comes out in limited release, tomorrow, May 4th. Recently, she, along with the film’s stars Kathleen Turner and Jason Ritter, sat down with a group of reporters to discuss family, religion and everything in between.
Film Equals was on hand to bring you the highlights of the interviews.
– The original script went through several rewrites at the request of Kathleen Turner who felt that there needed to be more internal conflict within the main character, Eileen Cleary. When she felt the script was ready, Renton says she was “a catalyst” for signing on the rest of the cast, including the legendary Richard Chamberlain. Turner graciously admits that she was flattered upon hearing that, but says that she was equally eager to work with them.
– Jason Ritter and Emily Deschanel, who play siblings Shannon and Frank Jr., already had an established friendship in real life. During casting, they even texted each other about the project. Ritter laughed when describing their messages back and forth: “Are you going to do it?” “I want to do it!”
– Kathleen Turner was very excited to work with Richard Chamberlain, as she’s had a crush on him since she saw him in a play when she was sixteen. “I gushed!” she happily confessed, but went on to crack a joke about how they’ve all changed since those days.
– When asked about his thoughts on the movie’s religious overtones, Ritter expressed his belief that the film is more about family than doctrine. “You can lose a relationship with a family member over things like this,” he said, “and what I loved about this movie is that (the family) end up showing up for each other.”
– In order to get a small-town feeling with a independent budget, the movie was mostly filmed in the suburbs of Pasadena. It was a concern of the director’s that they established such a vibe.
– While there is little doubt that the movie will ruffle some feathers, neither its director nor its cast set out to point any fingers of blame at Catholicism. Renton doesn’t believe it’s up to the film to say anything, just to tell a story. On Kathleen Turner’s Eileen claiming that she doesn’t have to think because she’s a Catholic, Jason Ritter pointed out that one of the draws of religion is that “if you have a moral question, it’s all there.” What the character is saying, he says, is that “it’s not up to me to make these decisions.” The film, Renton claims, could be about any religion.
– In order to create a family dynamic, Renton fought to get rehearsal time, something hard to do with a limited schedule. “The hardest thing to do is create a sense of history,” Ritter admitted. Turner elaborated on the rehearsal time later by describing the improv exercises she undertook with Ritter and Deschanel, ordering them to wash dishes and seeing where the scene went. They concentrated on creating a believable family, and it shows in the film.
– When asked what drew her to the film and the role, Turner had this to say: “I don’t understand her…that she can accept this incredibly rigid formula for living…and expect to live in the real world. This seems to me an impossible task.” She goes on to say, however, that if the character hadn’t experienced any change or growth, she wouldn’t have been interested.
-So, how does a family become perfect? According to Ritter, “by acknowledging the imperfections.”
Be sure not to miss The Perfect Family when it hits theatres on May 4th.