Cheryl Hines talks directing Meg Ryan in Serious Moonlight

Nov 24, 2009 at 3:30 p.m. ET

Serious Moonlight stars Meg Ryan and Cheryl Hines from a screenplay by Waitress scribe Adrienne Shelly. Actress Hines was honored that her first foray into directing was at the head of bringing Shelly's next script to life.

Cheryl Hines finds Serious MoonlightHines sat down with SheKnows for an exclusive chat about Serious Moonlight, directing Ryan and how the short life of Shelly changed her own forever. Shelly died fighting off an intruder in her New York City apartment before Waitress premiered.

Hines is a product of the Los Angeles improv group The Groundlings and became a television icon for her portrayal of Larry David's wife on HBO's groundbreaking Curb Your Enthusiasm. Hines' Cheryl on Curb Your Enthusiasm is only one spoke in the talented wheel that is this superb multi-faceted artist. Now that she adds director to her titles, Hines has Hollywood standing up and taking notice.

SheKnows: Thanks for visiting with SheKnows.

Cheryl Hines: Thanks for having me, Joel.

SheKnows: When did you first become familiar with Adrienne's Shelly script for Serious Moonlight? Maybe while making Waitress?

Cheryl Hines: I was actually doing publicity for Waitress. I was in Paris. The film was had opened in Paris and I was there when I read this script. I remember so well because I was in a hotel and I was jet lagged and I couldn't sleep. So, I started reading the script. And I loved it so much, I stayed up and read it again.

SheKnows: Wow.

Cheryl Hines: I just loved it.

SheKnows: At that point, had it even crossed your mind to direct Serious Moonlight?

Cheryl Hines: Actually, Andy Ostroy who was married to Adrienne, wanted to produce this film and Michael Roiff -- who produced Waitress with Adrienne -- they asked me before I had even read the script.

SheKnows: Oh, you're kidding?!

Cheryl Hines: They wondered if I was at all interesting in directing a film that Adrienne had written.

SheKnows: Considering you hadn't directed before…

Cheryl Hines: Yeah…

SheKnows: They must have been taken with you and your talent while filming Waitress.

Keri Russell, Adrienne Shelley and Cheryl Hines in 2007's Waitress

Cheryl Hines: (Laughs) I don't know what it was…

SheKnows: Maybe your keen understanding of her words…

Cheryl Hines: Well, you know what. That's what I like to think it was actually. I really appreciate Waitress and the work that Adrienne did on that film and her writer. I love the way she writes…the way she wrote (pauses). They knew that from working with me on Waitress -- especially, when Waitress started getting out there and hitting audiences. They did a lot of PR for the film and talked about Adrienne.

SheKnows: How did you find Adrienne while working with her on Waitress?

Cheryl Hines: We were in scenes together in Waitress and she wrote, starred, directed in Waitress.

SheKnows: But, she never got to see it completed.

Cheryl Hines: She (pauses) did. She didn't get to see it with an audience.

Cheryl Hines and her daughter CatherineSheKnows: What struck you most about you about your time with Adrienne Shelley?

Cheryl Hines: Well, she was a very intelligent, funny person. I love that.

We both laugh.

Cheryl Hines: She also had a daughter the same age as my daughter. Our daughters played together a little bit. And then, when we were shooting Serious Moonlight, they became really good friends.

SheKnows: When you were thinking about shooting Serious Moonlight, and I'm sure a lot of names got tossed around, but when that final Meg Ryan, Timothy Hutton and Kristen Bell came back from casting, you must have been thrilled as a first-time helmer?

Cheryl Hines: Oh my gosh. I was elated! I was literally jumping up and down (laughs).

Up next…Cheryl dishes on how Serious Moonlight's story resonates with today's take-charge woman.

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