Interview: Anthony Edwards on ‘Motherhood’ and Becoming a Better Actor as He Gets Older

Anthony Edwards is starring in the new film, Motherhood. Find out how he likes working and living in NYC, how he thinks actors get better as they age and how he likes working with child actors.

Question: I’m the parent of four and I understand the amount of chaos that’s inherent to be a parent. I’m wondering, how do you balance those demands with a career in film and TV. Specifically, when you’re on location.

Anthony Edwards: Well, for me, the first priority is hanging with the kids and I’ve been really lucky because of the success of ER. I’ve had these years here where I’ve been with just the kids. So going to work is the weird thing for me. I always feel like I have to get back to the kids to get the balance because the work doesn’t give it to me.

Q. How has this film changed the view that you have of your wife or even of your daughters.

Anthony Edwards: I guess the reason why I took this film is because when I read it, it seemed like a very organic and real thing. It really kind of reminded me of what the dynamic in a family is like. In my case, I have a very creative and strong wife who’s a mother and hearing her frustrations and her experiences. , the way that Katherine Dieckmann wrote this film, it just felt very real in a way that I hadn’t seen in film. I guess I found it comforting in a way when you have things you can relate too. Even if they aren’t the prettiest things, you have a sense of community.

Q: How does your experience with fatherhood and being a parent influence your characters whether the role is a parent or not.

A. I find that as an actor, you want to draw from all of your experiences. I think there’s a reason why actors can get better and why older actors often have so much richer performances in later parts of their career. Because, every experience you have that you deal with fully effects how you work as an artist. So if you’re going to portray a father, whatever you’re portraying, if you don’t have those life experiences, you’re faking a lot of it. Even though acting is faking, the truth is you want to fake it really well . And the best way to fake something is understand the experience in a deep way.

Q: What part of the film really drove home that this is a realistic family. That was relatable to you?

Anthony Edwards: Well, I find it cumulative. I think that it’s a lot of different moments throughout the movie. The screenwriter is doing a really difficult thing. She’s not relying on any car crashes or major event to drive the plot of the movie. The movie succeeds because its dealing honestly with a lot of different moments. So its hard to pin point which moment sticks out. I know there’s an honest conversation that Uma and I have in a car that’s about the state of loss in a relationship because we’re not feeling connected that I think certainly drives a lot of people in relation to the power of the relationship outside of being a parent.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your role and your specific character? Did you identify with it on a personal level?

Anthony Edwards: When I described the character to my wife she was like, “Oh typecasting. You’re a well intentioned guy who forgets a lot of stuff.” Yeah, I can definitely relate to this guy. Everyone is trying their best but life and the speed bumps of everything you run into, creates a challenge that makes you kind of face things without having to simplify I guess. That there is joy in the complexity of all these different feelings. I think what happens is filmmaking or story telling is that they simplify the revenge or anger or love and the truth is, as human beings all of our feelings or experiences are so much more complex than the simplicity of, “will he get the girl or not.”

Q: I hope you’re not as much of a pack rat in real life.

Anthony Edwards: I’m definitely not that. That was the real stretch for me.

Q: When you think back on the production of the film, what’s the first thing you remember about the experience?

A. It was really being in the world of the West Village. To be able to shoot a film in the West Village of New York is really… it’s kind of a magical environment. It’s kind of a world which meant a lot to the filmmaker. That, as an actor, made it a lot of fun because you were just so immersed in the world. And the kids were a blast.

Q: I’d love to know the differences between shooting in New York and Hollywood.

Anthony Edwards: You can’t separate in New York. You can’t kick people off the sidewalk, you cant keep people from coming up and just saying “Hello” or doing whatever because you’re working with 8 million people around you. And I think that serves a lot of the energy of the film.

I’ve found that my experience of living in Los Angeles to very separate and removed from interacting with people. That’s why I love living in NYC because as an actor you’re constantly getting fed and witnessing real experiences in life and that’s all the stuff you need to draw from. That’s my kind of my priority is to stay here and work here.

Q: Can you tell us about your on-set experiences with the child actors on the set?

Anthony Edwards: The first thing that comes to mind is that when you’re working with little kids, is that they always know everybody else’s line as well. It’s not uncommon when you’re shooting a scene and you’re saying something them they’re kind of mouthing it along with you and if you miss anything they look at you like, “What is wrong with you. I know all the words, why don’t you?”

Q: What do you hope people will come away with after they see this movie?

Anthony Edwards: It’s so simplistic but you want them to come away feeling better than when they went in. I mean that in hopefully they have some kind of experience, emotional, intellectual whatever it is that transforms them a little bit. And not necessarily educates or enlightens but maybe alters them a bit. I know that’s what’s when I see a movie, I’m thinking about a lot of different things when I went in so first and foremost, you want them to be entertained.

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