Kate, the most normal member of her family, has to come home from college because of the death of her grandfather. She's quickly surrounded by her dysfunctional family who gather to mourn their loss. As they spend a little time with one another, family secrets surface, fights erupt, and her grandmother decides it's Kate's duty to deliver the eulogy.
INTERVIEW WITH ZOOEY DESCHANEL ('Kate'):
Did you provide real photos for the family albums in
the opening credits?
Yeah, in the beginning there are a lot of little ‘me’s. I don’t know if you could tell, but yeah. It’s me, a lot. Not all of them are me, but there were like the ones of me were all real. And then there were a couple of pictures that they had Photoshopped two people together. But all of the ones of me were single, so it was just old photos of me.
How tough is it to develop that irreverent tone when
you’re dealing with subject matter that at least
outwardly seems serious?
I mean, a lot of it was in the script already. I think everything’s obviously a combination of the way that the actors interact and what’s there to begin with. There’s some improvising going on, but I can’t remember just what was in the script and what was not. I didn’t usually go off the script, I mean, sometimes Hank [Azaria] or Ray [Romano] would add a few little things. Especially, I think, like the scene where they’re all in the basement. I know there were a few things that were different than the script. Actually, most of the stuff I think was in the script to begin with.
This wasn’t your first love scene in a movie, was it?
No. No, I’ve done a lot of love scenes. I can name at least five. “Mumford,” “All the Real Girls,” ”Manic”… Why am I doing this? I’ve done a lot of love scenes.
Is it awkward or does it get easier?
Yeah, it’s awkward. No, it doesn’t really get easier. It’s like, “Hi. Nice to meet you.”
What kind of rehearsal time did you have for “Eulogy?”
We had like three weeks of rehearsal before we started shooting, and that’s always nice. That makes it so much easier – the, “Hi. Nice to meet you. Let’s get into bed.” (Laughing) Yeah, it was good.
What kind of camaraderie developed between you and the
rest of the cast?
[Do you mean] who was the goofball? You mean, who wasn’t the goofball?
It wasn’t like a big rehearsal. We’d meet in smaller groups. It wasn’t like everybody in a big room rehearsing. It was like, you know, I’d meet with the people I had scenes with. Yeah, it was fun.
Did you work on developing a relationship with Hank
Azaria, who plays your dad in the movie?
We rehearsed a lot, and we got along pretty well, so we didn’t like go to a father-daughter dance or anything together.
Are there different responsibilities acting in an
ensemble than when you’re playing a lead?
Yeah, for sure. It’s a lot harder to do an ensemble because you have to - your energy is going in so many different places - and you have to cover everybody. You have to sort of split your attention. So, in a way, you appreciate the smaller scenes with fewer people in them. Like if you have a scene with a lot of people, it’s really, it’s a lot more work than a scene with two people, just logistically.
What were some of the scenes in “Eulogy” that took longer
A lot of the ones where everyone’s in the kitchen and people are coming in and out, and like just the big dining room table scene. All of the ones where the full cast was there were. You know, the scene outside by the lake, a lot of them. But I think mostly the hardest parts are when people are coming in and out of different doors and you’re trying to establish different characters at the same time. I think probably the scene where everybody arrives at the house was a lot of work.
Do you have any outrageous characters in your own
No. I mean, not like this.
Would you categorize it as dysfunctional?
No. Not my family, but I would categorize the “Eulogy” family. My family is not dysfunctional, but of course I can see everyone has problems. Every family has problems, so you can sort of… If you blow them up, you can kind of see how it relates to something like the family in “Eulogy.”