It's not that the industry has ignored working moms as a whole. We've seen plenty of movies that feature frazzled women trying to balance their careers and time with children, or films where a woman has achieved great success, only to have her relationship with her kids suffer.
But in The Intern, Hathaway plays Jules Ostin, a successful working mom who has a good relationship with her children. It's a portrayal that we don't see often, and when SheKnows recently sad down with the actress to chat about the film, she had nothing but praise for Nancy Meyers, The Intern's director, for bringing the character to life.
"It's funny, I was at a party for Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In a few years ago and I remember her saying, 'Where are the positive examples of working mothers in Hollywood? Where is the mom who's doing great work at her job, who comes home and her kids don't resent her for it?' And I heard a bunch of Hollywood women going, 'There's no conflict there,'" recalled Hathaway. "So the fact that Nancy was able to tell that story that's so positive and still find conflict in it, I was just so happy."
That's not to say Hathaway believes that her portrayal of Jules is a one-size-fits-all mold for working moms; she just thinks it's time that the world sees a different depiction of mothers outside the home.
"Obviously, everybody's got different stories and a lot of working moms — women that work outside the home — are harried, and it does take a minute to learn and get it together and everything," Hathaway said. "And that's also not everyone. So I think it's cool to have a wider variety when we think about women and working women, and working moms and moms who stay at home and all that. It's good. There's enough room for everybody."
The Intern's accurate portrayal of a successful woman working outside the home may come from the fact that Meyers herself is the perfect example of the ultimate working mom. She's been in the industry for over 25 years, balancing her family life with writing, directing and producing huge films like Father of the Bride, What Women Want and The Parent Trap.
"With Nancy, you know, her direction is very specific, but it's good," De Niro told SheKnows. "When she says something, I say, 'You're right. You're absolutely right, let's try that."
The Intern costars, Adam DeVine and Andrew Rannells, echoed De Niro's sentiments about Meyers onset.
"Nancy is really sort of the epitome of, you know, she's so articulate and she's so smart and she creates these very specific worlds, and really you just feel so enveloped in these worlds that she creates," Rannells said to SheKnows. "Even as an audience member."
So what's the advice the ultimate working mom would give to aspiring female directors? In essence, don't wait for opportunity to knock at your door, go out and make it for yourself.
"Nobody came up to me and said, 'Gee, we'd love you to be the woman that directs this movie.' No. I wrote a script and it was for sale with me as the director,'" Meyers told us, adding, "I can give you advice: Hang in there. I didn't direct my first movie and I didn't direct my second or third or fourth... but it was my husband for many years that directed. Then I started to direct when my kids got a little bit older. And that's what worked for me — I wasn't unhappy with him directing — but at a certain point, I was ready to do it."
Check out the video above for more of the interviews with Hathaway, DeVine, Rannells, Meyers and De Niro!
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