Michelle Monaghan: "Exactly, and there are women who exist out there like that. You know, I think that as women you're conditioned and you're kind of socialized to believe that you're meant to be maternal and if you're not, God forbid, that's the biggest crime in the world. I think that makes this movie sort of interesting is that it kind of butts up against all of society’s double standards, and it really is a kind of fresh perspective. Although you may not agree with it, I think it’s refreshing that we’re at least exploring it. And in a lot of ways I think this really is your woman next door - maybe not the one that you're used to being told is the typical girl next door. This is a woman next door who’s not a victim, who’s unsentimental and is very honest and marches to the beat of her own drum."
And you became a mother for the first time after filming this, right?
Michelle Monaghan: "I did."
Do you think it would have changed how you played her had you given birth prior to playing this part?
Michelle Monaghan: "I don't know. I’d like to think that it wouldn't because I think I'm able to sort of separate the two - my personal life and my work life. But I look back at all of the roles that I've ever played and I don't know if I would have played them differently had I had them in a different point in my life. Fortunately I found out that I am maternal, so that's a great thing. But, I don't know."
That's good because it means everything you've done before is really honest.
Michelle Monaghan: "Yes, well, that's nice. Exactly, that's a nice way of looking at it."
How was it possible to not bond with the actor who plays your son, Jimmy Bennett? You were looking at him like he's an alien in this movie.
Michelle Monaghan: "Yes, I know! Well, we did bond quite a bit and we still text each other. He is a terrific young actor; I really can't say enough about him. For someone who’s 12 - or he’s 13, 14 now - but it really felt like working with an adult in a child’s body. He always prepared and he has a real sort of depth to him, which I think is pretty unusual for a child. He's not what I would call sort of like that Disney sort of kid. He’s got something a lot more. He's got a lot more weight to him like that. And not only is he a fine actor, but he’s a good kid. He's got a good family and he’s got a good career ahead of him."
And did you talk to any real long haul truckers?
Michelle Monaghan: "Yes, I did. I spent a lot of time with female truckers and went on some short hauls with them. And, yes, they were incredible. They were really forthright and it really meant a lot to me, because I really knew that learning how to drive a truck and spending time with them within that culture would help inform me so much as to who Diane Ford was. And it certainly did. These women have a lot of challenges that they face in choosing to be a truck driver and have a lot of sacrifices they make, so that was really important for me to understand their point of view."
Is there much that you learned doing that, that you didn’t find in the script initially?
Michelle Monaghan: "Yes, absolutely. I think it was more of understanding what a tough exterior one has to put on, whether you already have that or it’s something that you just slip on every time you get into your truck. I think Diane was just always that way, but with a lot of these women they were pretty vulnerable. Obviously they're very feminine, they're fierce, but it was very apparent that when they got into that truck they sort of became a different person in a way than probably what they were at home with their children and their husband. You know, it’s dangerous out there. It’s very dangerous. So what they brought to it for me was great, and certainly that was all in between all the dialogue and I guess in between the lines."
Have you heard anything back from any actual truckers who've seen the movie?
Michelle Monaghan: "Yes, I have. I spoke to one this morning, actually. And I've spoken to a lot of female truckers, to a lot of male truckers and they all really have connected with the movie. They appreciate the movie, they love the movie, and I think that moving forward with this movie James Mottern and I really wanted to be representative of the industry. We wanted to show it in an honest light. And from their response I think we have. They all really, really, really appreciate the way that it’s been portrayed and the industry and truckers have been portrayed."
And I have to know how was it reuniting with Robert Downey Jr for Due Date?
Michelle Monaghan: "The best."
I just love him.
Michelle Monaghan: " I love him too. He is such a fine actor. He's such a great guy. We had such a great experience on Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and we’d been wanting to work together again, and this was just the perfect opportunity to do that. And Todd Phillips directing a really incredibly funny script, and Zach Galifianakis and Robert together are terrific."
Who do you play?
Michelle Monaghan: "I play Robert’s nine months’ pregnant wife."
But you weren't actually pregnant during filming, right?
Michelle Monaghan: "No, no, no, no."
So you had to do a fake belly?
Michelle Monaghan: "Yes, I had to do a fake belly. But I knew all about it, so that was good."
Did your fake belly stink? Everybody always says their fake bellies stink.
Michelle Monaghan: "No, it didn’t. I don't know why it didn’t!"