(PCM) Garry Marshall is a man who definitely understands women.
This is why his female-driven romantic comedies, including “Pretty Woman,” “Runaway Bride,” “Princess Diaries,” and now, “Mother’s Day,” are such treats.
The 81-year-old Marshall attended a special Manhattan event hosted by social media and Sirius XM radio hosts Melissa Gerstein and Denise Albert, known as “The Moms,” to talk about his new film, “Mother’s Day,” which opened just in the time for the actual holiday. He was there with one of the star’s of the film, Kate Hudson.
The movie, which gets to the core of complicated family relationships, also boasts a star-studded cast led by Hudson, Julia Roberts, and Jennifer Aniston – who all come off as both charming and realistic.
“Mother’s Day,” from Open Road Films, tells intertwining stories about Miranda, a television host (Roberts), Sandy, a divorced mom of two boys, (Aniston), and Jesse, (Hudson), who is hiding her marriage and young son from her parents because her husband is Indian, and she fears they will not accept them.
Other stories involve a widower with two daughters, played by Jason Sudeikis, and several other family members who come together in the week leading up to Mother’s Day, as well as Jesse’s sister, Gabi, (Sarah Chalke) who is afraid to tell their parents she is gay and married to her female partner. They also share custody of her partner’s young son.
Marshall has directed more than 30 movies, including, “Raising Helen,” “Beaches,” “The Other Sister,” He is also the creator and producer of numerous award-winning TV shows, including “Happy Days,” “Laverne and Shirley” “Mork & Mindy,” and “The Odd Couple.” His early career found him writing for such gems as “The Danny Thomas Show,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” and “The Lucy Show.”
Marshall said he made the new movie to tackle complex and difficult issues such as interracial relationships and same sex marriage. As is the norm in his films, “Mother’s Day” is touching, but also extremely uplifting.
He said that grown children and their parents often drift apart, especially after fighting over their differences. “You might have had fights with one another, but your mother is the first one [in your life] who loves you so you’ve got to make up. So that’s what we do in this movie; and we do it in a funny way.”
Q: Garry, please tell me about your mom.
GARRY MARSHALL: My mom was a dance teacher and taught dancing in the basement of our apartment building in The Bronx. She wore slacks, nobody wore slack in the neighborhood, and she was a working mother. She told us when you’re sad, you go and make someone laugh and that will cheer you up. That’s what I have been doing all of these years.
Q: So would you say that was your mom’s motto?
GM: Yes, my mom had a great sense of humor she used to repeat to me, ‘never be boring, never be boring.’ And I was six years old and I asked her, ‘what’s boring mom?’ She said, ‘you’re father.’ I am kidding; they were happily married for many years.
Q: How would you describe Kate? You two seem like you have a nice bond.
GM: She’s very cute, this girl.
Q: Kate’s children came to Atlanta to the set of this movie – 12-year-old Ryder and four-year old Bing.
GM: Oh, yes. I would say that Bing is as cute as a button.
Q: How do you get all of these amazing people such as Kate Hudson all of the time to join your cast?
GM: I call up and say ‘Hey Kate, we’re doing a movie.’ We did a wonderful picture together “Raising Helen” and I happen to know somebody she knows, her mother Goldie [Hawn], who worked with me on the movie “Overboard.” So I say ‘come let’s make a movie.’ We had a good time.
Q: Tell me about Kate’s character, Jesse, in the movie.
GM: Gladly. Kate plays a character, I’m sure you have gone through it, where her mother says ‘him, that’s who you are going to marry? Look at him. You’re going to bring him home for dinner?’’ And they have fights. You might have had fights with your children. But the mother is the first one [in your life] who loves you so you got to make up. So that’s what we do, and we do it in a funny way.
Q: “Raising Helen,” your other movie with Kate was also a mom-themed movie as well.
GM: I do a lot of chick flicks.
Q: I would say that you do them really well – you may have invented them. But what inspires you on these women themes?
GM: What inspires me? I’m a Scorpio. I’m Italian. I have a sister and I have daughters. I grew up in an apartment in New York where your grandmother and grandfather lived in the apartment and you are all bunched together. So I am very comfortable with women and I think they are the most interesting things in the world.
Q: How do you characterize your movies?
GM: Nobody flies and nobody explodes.
Q: What else are they about?
GM: Well, we deal with some tricky subjects in this movie that a lot of people don’t try to do and we got them in. We do them. And I deal with hopeful endings: that’s the key word. You end feeling good. You got to make a gag reel. I love the gag reel. The longest end credits in the history of movies, you will see a few of the gags and mistakes at the end, after the picture is over.
Q: Do the studios immediately embrace movies like this with more emotional content?
GM: No. You’ve got to fight them to make this happen. They told me when I did Beaches nobody wants to see a story about women, girls and friendship – nobody cares – it’s not a buddy picture. I said, ‘Don’t you understand women fight, yell at each other and say the worse things to each other and then an hour later they go shopping.’ [He laughed]. Men have a fight; they say one cross word they don’t talk for 20 years. Women are far more fascinating to me.
Q: What’s the biggest change for you making this film?
GM: The biggest change is that they all have cell phones. My seven-year-old grandchild knows how to work the internet. To get your kids to look up. I never go near the internet, it scares me. I’m very hip; we shot this movie with drones. I didn’t do it, my son shoots it. But I have six grandchildren and it is a whole different thing of raising kids today. They are so fast because they use the internet. There are four stories in this movie and the kids can follow it in a zip. They know all the characters and they register so much; it’s amazing. I can’t follow it half the time. But this movie I can follow. I lived it for a very long time.
Q: Technology has really changed our lives.
GM: Yes. We used to say no TV, now you say give me the phone.
Q: It seems like you truly enjoyed the experience of making “Mother’s Day.”
GM: You meet a lot of people when you are making movies, so whether it’s a hit or not you usually have a great time and meet people you are going to know the rest of your life. You get up five o’clock in the morning with these movies, so it’s nice to see people that you know. We opened this movie and the first kid in the movie is my seven-year-old granddaughter running around the hotel.
Q: Do you have tips or advice on getting an actress like Kate Hudson to be in your movie?
GM: You have to make friends with someone like Kate, first.
Q: Why is that?
GM: It has always been difficult to get these movies made. When my sister Penny [Marshall], who you know as Laverne, went to direct her first film they said they didn’t like women directors. They felt that a woman’s mind did not come up with ideas that appealed to a mass audience. That’s all Penny had to hear. The benchmark in movies is a movie that makes $100 million. Penny not only made one of those, she made two, “A League of Their Own,” and “Big.” I’m very proud of her; she was the first female director to break the $100 million mark. So you got to keep going and now you push that internet button and they give you start up money or something.
Q: I can see that you loved working with Kate on this. Do you have a fond memory of working with her actress-mother, Goldie Hawn? What’s your favorite movie that your mom, Goldie Hawn, made?
GM: Oh, yes. Her mom is an amazing lady. After “Overboard” we had a cast party and your mom said to me ‘Can I bring a friend to the party? She’s not in the movie.’ I said, ‘Sure, bring friends.’ Who did she bring – Elizabeth Taylor! [He laughed]. I was stunned. What a wonderful woman!
Q: Do you have anything else you want to add about the movie, “Mother’s Day?”
GM: I hope that you enjoy the film. It touches a lot of subjects. Everyone has problems, but I think you will come away and say ‘okay we have hope that we can solve the problem.’