Morning Glory, the new romantic comedy starring Harrison Ford, Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton, Patrick Wilson and Jeff Goldblum, centers around a young woman making her mark in the morning television industry.
The cast of Morning Glory sat down in New York City recently to discuss their new romantic comedy that, if you know the world of morning news, hits very close to home!
Morning Glory talk
SheKnows: It seems you nailed the authenticity and level of the characters with morning news. I’d love to have the sense of who you modeled these characters after. Diane and Harrison, you reminded me of Diane Sawyer and Charles Gibson.
Diane: You nailed it.
SheKnows: Who did you model your characters after?
Patrick Wilson: I modeled my character after Harrison Ford. No [laughs], I spent a little time with 60 Minutes even though none of that was really important for scenes in my movie but it was fun to see how they do things over there! Yes, but I tried to make it as prophetic as Rachel’s character was going through, all of her shenanigans, I tried to just be the grounded force.
Harrison Ford: I didn’t model my character after anybody. I wanted to bring the ideas and the story to the screen and I got to work with a really well crafted script. I wanted to be Mike Pomeroy, that specific character instead of doing an imitation of somebody else. So I didn’t model my character after anybody.
Rachel McAdams: I wound up shadowing some executive producers from Good Morning America, the Today show, and Becky starts out a smaller place and moves into the big city, goes to Manhattan, goes to a bigger show. So I tried to get a feeling for all of it, and I was disappointed to learn that executive producers are much more organized than Becky and much more together as people. So that wasn’t really in keeping of the reality. She’s a little bit more frenetic than they would be. But I liked the juxtaposition, that she was trying to hold this show together and it was falling apart as she was kind of falling apart as well. That was fun to play. I met some really great producers who gave me some great insights. I’m very grateful for them. Harry Smith spent a lot of time with me unexpectedly one day. I’m sure he had a million things to do and he sat down with me and told me some stories and shared some things with me which were very helpful so I’m very grateful to him, too.
Diane Keaton: As far as me, my concern, like my character, was how I look. So that’s why Diane Sawyer because obviously she’s beautiful, but in terms of who I was playing, I wanted to be more like Kelly Ripa, funny. But you know, I’m not really playing an anchor like Harrison is. She was never taken seriously, I don’t think. That’s my story.
Jeff Goldblum: I met with Phil Griffin, he was very generous to me. He heads up MSNBC and that would be my job there. He spent a few hours with me going over the script and there are some fascinating stories about what goes on behind the scenes.
Morning Glory role models
SheKnows: Rachel, the director of Morning Glory mentioned he had to talk you into this role and there was self-doubt about your comedic talent. What got you past that and Jeff, what was up with your hair in this movie?
Jeff Goldblum: You go first, then I’ll think about it.
Rachel McAdams: I tried to talk Roger (Michell, the director) out of it a few times and thankfully he didn’t listen to me. I was very nervous about playing this character and taking on this part. I didn’t want to let him down, so I was very hesitant. We talked about it a little bit and he put my fears at bay, so I’m very grateful to him for that. It was really fun and I think what Roger did for me which was so great is he got me out of my head and into my body. I grew up playing sports and I think that’s the best way I work. It’s a testament to him that he figured that out so he just said, “Run around and wave your arms and something will happen.” So that’s how I got through this movie.
Jeff Goldblum: That’s the same direction he gave me….you didn’t like it (my hair)? I’m sure it was part vanity. My current thinking is what my consultant told me. He said it’s different for women who can color their hair but for men it’s foolish to go down that road. It only makes you look older if you color your hair. Nature has supplied a combination of hues in your natural hair color as you get older.
SheKnows: When you are on the Today show, Good Morning America, and that “other show on CBS” (movie reference), what newfound respect may you have for the morning shows having played the roles?
Harrison Ford: There are some people who are really good at what they do and some of them get up early in the morning. It’s a pleasure to be in their hands; they know how to make you comfortable, how to get you through the four to seven minutes that they’ll spend with you and they admit to the process. And some of them are really, really good at what they do. Most of them are successes and hold the jobs because they’re really good. We’re talking about the lowest rated morning talk show in the history of television. We’re talking about people who are not good at what they do.
Diane Keaton: Speak for yourself [says it in character].
Harrison Ford: We don’t go to those places.
Diane Keaton: You know what I thought about it? We had to go to boot camp where we learned what it is to do this. And what I learned is it’s not easy. Unlike Rachel who was an athlete, you have to really know the pace and where to turn your head at the right time and when you’re looking at somebody but not looking at them and how to read a line and how in case there’s actually breaking news, you have to present it together and understand the situation almost simultaneously so even if you’re a loser, you’re a genius. It’s not easy. I really relied on the lines written by Aline Brosh McKenna. I could never do it, ever. I really have a respect for the media.
Morning news versus entertainment
SheKnows: Could you weigh in on news versus entertainment and the media, a major theme in the movie?
Harrison Ford: That’s a really smart question so not all of media is dumb. We all know that as we’ve had twenty-four hour news it’s not really news anymore. A lot of it is what used to be called “features,” interesting things perhaps. But we still as citizens should require to get quality information about what’s going on in the world and our citizens and responsibilities depend on having good information. So wherever we are able to get that information it’s our responsibility to get it. I, myself, depend on the radio more than I do on a television. It seems to be that your task as a journalist is more clear on radio and the density of thought because you’re not depending on pictures to carry the story.
Patrick Wilson: It’s such a loaded question. For me, I feel like in the 1970s and 1980s it was kind of a given that you’d watch the news at some point in the evening because you didn’t really get it during the day because there were only about four channels. What’s happened somewhere along the way is they really became struggling for their ratings. Even the most highest rated evening news show pales in comparison to what the numbers used to be fifteen years ago. The percentage of households in a common American city, almost everybody would be watching TV at some point, watching the news. When more channels came about, cable came about, then the Internet, it became about what’s going to keep people’s attention so it didn’t matter what the best story was, it was what’s going to keep people watching.
Girl in the city
SheKnows: The theme of the movie is basically about a young woman trying to make it in the industry. Did this movie bring back any hardships for you and making it in this industry?
Rachel McAdams: I definitely could relate to Becky in terms of feeling like you get your foot in the door and you feel like it’s your only shot to get there. I definitely felt that way with my first job. I felt like, “Okay, I have the weight of the world on my shoulders and I have to make this work or I’m never going to get another chance.” I could definitely relate to that with my first TV job and it was a three-day part and there wasn’t really much I could do. It was on a kids’ show and I felt, “This is it! This is the moment I’ve been waiting for.” And it’s probably a good thing you do look at it this way because you rise to the occasion.
Diane Keaton: I think what’s so wonderful for the movie, and this isn’t a question anyone’s asking me — it’s a love story of a friendship. It’s not your typical, of course. There’s a wonderful love shared with Patrick and all that, but I think at the core of this movie it’s about Harrison and Rachel and how they both get something from each other that makes them better people. She learns a lot and…it’s just fantastic. I love that theme and I don’t think it’s a theme we see very often, in particular between a much older man [kidding] and a very young, beautiful girl. It’s heartwarming to see a movie like this about a friendship as opposed to something else.
Harrison Ford: I want to take the opportunity to say that it’s a really good script. It’s a really good director at work. I had the chance to work with people that were really good at what they do and it was a real pleasure to be part of this film.