What does author John Irving think about this big screen adaptation? "Tod Williams' screenplay is the most word-for-word faithful translation to film of any of the adaptations written from my novels. But he has also made his own film. This is excellent work," proclaims Irving.
The story follows one summer in the life of children's book author Ted Cole (Jeff Bridges) and his wife Marion (Kim Basinger). With their marriage in shambles after a devastating tragedy, a young man ignites a spark in Marion, and the Coles find themselves faced with having to make difficult choices about the future of their family.
INTERVIEW WITH KIM BASINGER AND JEFF BRIDGES:
Why are older woman/younger man relationships so controversial?
KIM BASINGER: I don't know. I don't care. I enjoyed every minute of it. I think that love and sex and everything comes in all different ways and sizes in life. I've just more or less always had a European attitude about things, I think, a looseness. I think that my life, I've been so attracted to the Harold and Maude aspect of living as opposed to the norm. Normal is so boring. I like to spice it up a little myself.
Were you familiar with the book this movies based on?
KIM BASINGER: No. Of course I knew about it, but no. I was really introduced to it by the script, which was really wonderful for Marion. It was really great.
Was that what attracted you to the project?
KIM BASINGER: The script, and I loved Marion. I loved Marion's - and this is my word that I'm using - her aloneness. I loved Kip [director Tod Williams]. I think that combination alone. I could not and would not have done this piece without Kip. I don't know. It was just a perfect time for me to meet Marion. She was rather quiet and got to be somewhat of a voyeur. That was kind of interesting for me, and sort of internal.
Jeff, did you know the book?
JEFF BRIDGES: I hadn't read the book, but I knew of it. My wife had read it. And I read it in preparation for the role. I love John Irving's stuff. It's that marriage of comedy and tragedy that he manages to do. It's really terrific. Kip had such a great adaptation of it. That was a big plus for me when I'd heard that John was being supportive of it. He called Kip, or I guess that's he going officially as Tod, but I think that Tod bought the rights for $1 from John.
How do you get into the mindset of parents who have lost children?
KIM BASINGER: I think that the advantage that you have having had children, you don't have to think about it. If I had not had my daughter, I wouldn't know. That's true. That's honest. I don't think that you could be as convincing, even to yourself, about the truth that goes with that. As a parent, you just don't go there. You just don't go there. So as artists, when we had to go there, whatever we had we went there. It's something that we didn't even share. We just shared the moment on film, but we didn't even share it all. It's so a part of a parents horror, fear.
JEFF BRIDGES: You don't even have to think about it. Hearing Kim speak about [it] and not even really talk about it, but I was thinking about when Beau [Bridges] did Baker Boys. If it was another actor, you'd probably spend a lot of energy trying to figure out, How do we appear to be brothers? What can we do that will give the illusion of that? Since we were actually brothers, you didn't need to talk about it. You had that in your kit bag and you didn't need to take it out. It's just there, and a similar thing is having children yourself. I didn't have to think about. It was just kind of there. I didn't have to bring it out too much, even to myself, in the work.
One of the things that I did in preparation for that aspect of losing a child was talking to my mother who lost a child just before me. His name was Gary. My mom and dad went through Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. A kid, a year old, and you go up to see the baby and the baby is dead. I talked to her about that, and how they worked through that, and how long it lasted, and it's still just like it happened yesterday if you talk to my mom.
Kim, is there anything that could make you leave your kids - like this character?
KIM BASINGER: Not me in my own life. But I totally understood why Marion did it. It is heartbreaking, especially to leave her, Elle. My gosh.