INTERVIEW WITH MAURA TIERNEY ('Sally'):
Did you and Ray Romano have a lot in common, both coming from successful TV shows?
Ray and I have a lot in common because were both neurotic freaks. I dont know if it has so much to do with the TV.
What does neurotic freak mean in your case?
We just worry a lot and were both sort of self-involved. We just sort of sweat things.
What does that do as far as helping you with your acting?
Nothing. I think sweating is bad (laughing). I think its good to pay attention to details and to work hard. To obsess about things and worry about things I think inhibits the process. Im trying to do it less. Both of us are diligent, and hard workers but there comes a point where you just cant worry about it anymore. Theres nothing to do.
Did you create a backstory for this character to help make her seem a little different than the rest of the citizens in the town?
We talked about it, actually. We had a tiny bit of rehearsal but Donald [Petrie, director] and Ray and myself sat down and talked about that for both of the characters. We sort of made up a little story. They both left Rays character wasnt born there but then my character had left for a while. They are written different from the other characters. Theyre more sophisticated and they're more wry, more sarcastic, less open than all the other characters. In discussions, we did say that my character did go away to college and had time away from there, and decided to go back. We talked about changing the script for a while where I was even going to leave. I think that was even in a draft that my character said, Well, if were not going to get married, I can go someplace else. I dont have to be here. Im here because youre here. If were not going to get married, Ill leave. There was a scene about that but I dont think we ever shot it.
How differently do Ray Romano and Gene Hackman approach comedy?
Gene is a much calmer person. Hes much more serene. I dont know. Its weird. I think hes really funny in this movie. I think hes hilarious and its very specific. He would get up and do a take and youd think, "Thats really funny.' Hed sit down and I dont know what he did for four minutes, but then when he would get up and do it again, there was the slightest adjustment and it was a lot funnier. He just really knew what he wanted to do. I think he was really specific about it whereas Ray and I have to cast about a little bit more.
Was there a scene that was tough to get through because you were laughing too much?
Well one time Marcia [Gay Harden] was cracking up. We worked long hours on this movie, like 14, 15, 16 hours, which Im surprised because I thought, Studio movie its going to be kind of cushy. One day in the beginning we were working long it was like 16 hours or something the older gentlemen, Ruben, I think hes supposed to scream every now and then in one scene. Marcia and I were in there and I believe what happened is that at one point he fell asleep. The scene was going on and at one point he just [screamed out of nowhere]. And it wasnt quite the sentence and it was totally at the wrong time, and I think he just probably fell asleep and then he thought it was his turn to talk. Marcia lost it. She kept doing impressions and couldnt continue. It was very funny.
What makes Ray Romano such a good romantic lead?
I think hes really, in the best possible sense, earnest. I thought he was really touching in this movie. I know he was very funny, but watching it I thought hes very sweet and earnest. And then his acting is, too, like he really wants to step out of what he is doing and do something different, and he works hard at it. I think it shows. Hes very available and very sweet.
Did you have any scenes that didn't make it into the movie?
Yes, some of the stuff was cut, which I understand. The scene with Gene and I, the dinner scene, was longer. It was more like a date, which I get why they cut it because it might be too confusing that way. But Im sort of sad about it. There was more of a scene between me and Marcia, which I liked too because the characters, the first time we talk and then you cut to us drunk, which is funny, but theres a conversation that happens before that that was cut. I liked to do it because it was the two women being more real about it than the guys were.
PAGE 2: Maura Tierney Reflects on "ER"
ADDITIONAL "WELCOME TO MOOSEPORT" RESOURCES:
Interview with Ray Romano
Interview with Christine Baranski
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