Meg Ryan and Annette Bening are the picture of pride in their plush suite at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills.
Their film, The Women, is set to open in theaters September 12. As they sat across from SheKnows, their exhilaration for their triumph of female film was palpable.
Astonishingly, Ryan’s thrill with visiting with this writer seems nearly as high.
“You’re the guy, the entertainment guy!” Ryan says as her classic smile shines bright.
Ryan and Bening anchor The Women, and both share a passion for this project that is unique in Hollywood these days: A film staring an all-women cast, dealing solely with the issues of friendship and life through the eyes of only female characters.
In the film, Ryan’s husband is cheating with Eva Mendes’ ‘perfume girl’ — and Ryan’s support group, which includes Bening, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Debra Messing, must pull together to be there for her as they see their friend through this trauma.
Equally funny as it is touching, The Women is a triumph on many levels.
SheKnows: It is, first of all, such a pleasure to speak to the two of you — and I know you Meg, have been a part of this project from the beginning. When you work on something this close to your heart, no matter how long it takes, is the reward for you any different when it finally sees the light of day?
Meg Ryan: Honestly, I have been attached by a tiny little thread for a long time. Diane English, the director-writer, is the one who has this crazy kind of tenacity for 13 years (laughs). She would come to me here and there and say, ‘We’re ready to go.’ And they wouldn’t be ready to go (laughs) for about 13 or 14 years. I was so happy for her and I think it’s a good narrative. It’s an interesting story. I think it’s interesting to see women together, smart, articulate, funny, funny, women together.
SheKnows: The timing and the chemistry, particularly with you two, is just priceless. Have you two known each other before but not worked together?
Annette Bening: We’ve met socially. We had not worked together before.
SheKnows: So, when this came along, you must have been thrilled at the opportunity to?
Annette Bening: I was really excited. And Meg is a pro. For me, what that means, is she’s ready. She’s knows that when she comes on to the set, she sets the tone. The director [and] the leading actors really set the tone on the set in terms of keeping the discipline and people being ready. I love it when people are ready and know what they’re doing.
Meg Ryan: Not messing around!
Annette Bening: Yeah, we don’t have time to mess around.
(They both laugh)
Annette Bening (continuing): We want to get it done!
Balancing Mom and movies
SheKnows: That’s something our readers know all about — how much there is to do as working mothers, and finding the balance to still achieve your goals. That’s one of the things that had to be so great for you all with this movie. What was that first table read like?
Annette Bening: So fun.
Meg Ryan: It was a blast!
Annette Bening: Also, because there’s no pressure.
Meg Ryan: Every issue that’s in the movie, it brought up these incredibly smart, articulate people all with these particular experiences sitting around Diane’s table in Martha’s Vineyard. [We were] all saying what we clearly felt. And there was a lot of room for disagreement. I think setting us up that way was great. We really, really respected one another’s different opinions.
Annette Bening: And remember how we would talk about each other’s characters? “Well, I think this about this character and you’re playing this…but what about that…(Meg is laughing continuously at Annette). And I’ve had this happen in my life and that’s more like that character. I don’t think you should do this, or I think you should do that.” That’s the kind of spirit that was going on. That’s what fun, collaborating.
An engaged director
SheKnows: It sure sounds that Diane was very much up for that task going into this.
Meg and Annette (together): Yes!
Annette Bening: She sat there with a typewriter…I do have something to say, she’s typing!
Meg Ryan laughs hysterically.
SheKnows: That’s got to be a little intimidating at times — someone’s writing down everything you’re saying…
Annette Bening: You know that’s a good point, she wrote down everything we said. She could use it against us.
They both laugh.
The video interview of Annette Bening and Meg Ryan:
Be sure to stay with SheKnows all week for our interviews with the cast of The Women and creator Diane English.
Debra Messing and Jada Pinkett Smith
Cloris Leachman and Debi Mazar
The Women review
Creator Diane English