Interview: Cameron Diaz discusses her role as Carly in The Other Women

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THE OTHER WOMAN is a very funny and authentic film examining the value of female camaraderie. Cameron Diaz is hilarious as Carly, a confident, sexy and dynamic New York lawyer, who is dating Mark, a handsome and apparently eligible businessman (a winning performance from GAME OF THRONES star, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). It emerges though, that this charmer isn’t what he appears to be. Carly is appalled when she finds out that her boyfriend is in fact a married man. She meets his wife Kate, (Leslie Mann), and they realize they are both being deceived. They soon develop a strong rapport, even though they don’t appear to have much in common: Carly is a glamorous career woman, while Kate is a traditional housewife. The unlikely new friends soon make another discovery: they aren’t the only ones that the devious and seductive lothario is involved with. Mark is also having an affair with the young and beautiful Amber (Kate Upton).

Q: How would you describe Carly?

A: “Carly is a gal who’s chipping away at life. She’s a very successful lawyer. She’s dating and she meets a guy whom she thinks has real potential. They enjoy being with one another and she thinks that this could turn into something more. But she has the feeling something strange is going on, because he cancels a date that they had planned. He was going to meet her dad. All of a sudden he can’t come to dinner. He makes it really clear that he’s not available. Carly’s ears perk up. This relationship might not be exactly what she thought it was. She ends up going to Mark’s house and discovers that he’s married (laughs)!”

Q: How challenging was the physical comedy with Leslie Mann? The two of you have fantastic chemistry.

A: “It was amazing. I was really grateful, because it is not often that I get to do that sort of physical comedy, especially with another woman. Leslie is fearless. She’s strong and funny and she has so much energy and strength and her body can do all these crazy things. It was literally the purest delight to be partners with her, to play straight to her screwball. We played off each other so well. We found a wonderful rhythm with one another and trusted each other completely.”

Q: There are many funny scenes, such as the one early on where Leslie’s character is very drunk. Was that complicated?

A: “We had no plan about how to do it; we just made it up as we went along. We started running around in the streets.  I’m trying to get her into the car, and she climbs her legs up onto the roof of the car. We’re both in heels, mind you, and I’m in a straight, black, leather straight skirt. My thighs are stuck together. And she’s wearing a big poofy dress, with a circle skirt. She’s parallel, like a plank, across the hood of the car, I’m holding her. It was just hilarious.”

Q: It sounds like fantastic improv, and in another scene Leslie throws you out of the bedroom window. Was it painful?

A: “I didn’t do the fall. I have a stunt girl who did that. I was pushed onto a pad and it was just a three or four-foot drop. But we both got plenty of bruises on this movie. We were really, really physical and we did everything wearing heels and dresses.”

Q: What was it like working with Kate Upton? This is her first big film role.

A: “She’s amazing. She is so funny and observant and smart. She sees everything and she doesn’t miss a chance. People don’t expect her to be as smart as she is beautiful. Kate blew us all away with her natural ability to improvise. We had no idea what she was capable of, but she immediately held her own. We were all completely impressed.”  

Q: When we meet her character, Amber, who is also having an affair with Mark, she appears to be the archetypal dumb blonde doesn’t she?

A: “Exactly, that’s what you think she is when you first meet her. In fact she’s just a nice girl, who didn’t know she was in this situation. It was very much a surprise to her and she feels terrible. It doesn’t mean she’s stupid. It just means that she’s sincerely sorry about the situation. But you see that she is not a dummy. She totally gets it.”

Q: What was it like working with Nikolaj?

A: “He’s great. He’s fearless and so funny. There’s nothing about this guy he plays that’s likeable, and you don’t really feel sorry for him. You feel like he gets what he deserves. Nikolaj did some seriously broad comedy, and he did it beautifully.”

Q: Don Johnson is also very funny playing your dad; a real ladies man too. What was he like?

A: “He’s Don Johnson. He’s the coolest cat in town, he was great and plays quite a character in the movie.”

Q: You’ve worked previously with Nick Cassavetes on MY SISTER’S KEEPER, what did he bring to the film?

A: “Nick brought a lot of value to the movie, some really great comedy. He didn’t take the same route as regular hard comedy directors. We wanted to bring a different tone to the film and he brought a lot of heart, like the emotional side of Leslie’s character, which was really beautiful. He gave the film a different flavor because of his background and experience and that was nice.”

Q: What is the film about essentially?

A: “It’s about friendship and about the relationship between these women. The film is about the circumstances that brought them together and the way that they move through the journey they take, getting through the heartbreak, towards the acceptance of the deception and then how they move forward and let it all go away. It’s not about revenge; it looks at how they learn about themselves. I have no interest in making a movie about revenge or adultery. That’s not what this is about.”

Q: The girls do take steps to teach Mark a few lessons though don’t they, with very funny results. Can you discuss what they do?

A: “They do take the low road for a moment, sure, which is a fun part of the movie. They basically undermine all of the things that Mark depends on as a man. They take away his masculinity, his ability to manipulate all three women, which they can do because they have the upper hand now. He’s motivated by sex, so they won’t sleep with him. He relies on his looks, so they take a little jab at his own self-perception. Knowing that he is a liar, they realize he must be lying in other aspects of his life, and so they investigate his business deals. They want a little bit of justice. If you suffer from being deceived, you want the other person to hurt as badly as you do for a second. But once the women get over that, they thrive on the other side, and they are able to move on through their friendship.”

Q: How valuable is friendship between women?

A: “The wonderful thing about female friendship is that we are always rooting for one another. Even when we’re not together, we know that our friends are there for us, with all their love and energy going towards something good. Friends support you no matter what. And friendship is so nurturing, it feeds your soul, because it’s positive energy. It’s all about acceptance and wanting one another to be stronger and better and more capable, helping each other through hard times, celebrating the good times, the ups and downs, being there through life as it plays out, not being judgmental, but being honest.”

Q: How friendly did the three of you get while making The Other Woman?

A: “We were working twelve-hour days together. We were together all the time and a lot happens in a day. We made a movie together. We became good friends.”

Q: How do you spend time with your friends?

A: “I go over to my girlfriends’ houses for dinner and we cook together and we hang out. We go out to the movies or watch a movie at the house.”

Q: The movie looks at a man who is an incorrigible cheater. Do you think both men and women cheat, or do men cheat more?

A: “I think everyone, male or female, has been cheated on. I don’t know what the ratios are (laughs) or the percentiles, but nobody gets out unscathed. It’s something that happens and that we all have been through, I don’t think there are any exceptions. That’s just life.”

Q: What do you think the film says about relationships?

A: “Whenever there’s an end, there’s a new beginning. You never know what’s going to happen next. You can’t waste your time and energy dwelling on what happened or what could’ve been or what might’ve been. Relationships come, relationships go, or they stay or evolve, but we stay alive.”

Q: We see you and Leslie getting dressed up and looking fabulous. Do you think it is inevitable that women will look as sexy and attractive as possible, to please men?  

A: “That’s part of nature. We’re animals, and on a certain level that comes innately to us. It’s like birds; they have feathers for a reason. Their plume, the color of their feathers changes at different times of the year, they fluff them up, they spread them out, they preen. Every animal has that instinct. It is because we are meant to procreate and that’s part of procreation, making ourselves attractive to another person. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.”

Q: In one scene, you wear a white bikini on the beach and you look fabulous. Did you follow any special fitness regime prior to filming?

A: “No I didn’t do any specific workout for this movie, just my normal training, three or four times a week. Actually I have been in a little bit of a lull and have not trained as much as I normally do, because I’ve been so busy. But for me, well-being is all about taking care of yourself for the right reasons, being the best that you can and not changing yourself for somebody else’s sake.”

Q: You are a great role model and you have just written a fantastic book: ‘The Body Book’, which is very comprehensive and rooted in science. What advice do you have for young women who worry about the way they look?

A: “The problem is that women are beautiful, other people see them as beautiful, but they don’t see themselves as beautiful. The reason I wrote the book is that I feel that the reason we don’t appreciate who we are, or what we have or what we’re capable of is that we’re not actually living in the bodies that we’re meant to have. We don’t understand how our bodies work, so we’re not able to provide them with what they need, in order to be the best that they’re capable of being. We compare ourselves to other women. That is a waste of energy and time. My needs, my requirements, my energy and physical output are completely different from yours or any other person’s. Once you understand how your body workrate with costume designer, Patricia Field?

Q: Are you like that too?

A: “No (laughs). This is ‘put together’, (laughs) jeans and a tee shirt.”

Q: You always seem very grounded, would you say that comes from your close family? You did not have a privileged upbringing.

A: “Not at all. Very much the opposite. But I had an amazing family, amazing parents who really taught me how to work hard and to have gratitude and to know that whatever you have, you’re lucky to have it. All day long they got me to do chores. They were actively teaching me all through my childhood, saying: ‘this is how it’s done.’ Ever since I was four years old, I’ve been doing my laundry (laughs). If you didn’t do it right, you had to do it again. You figure out how to do it properly. That has been my mentality my entire life: you just do the best you can every day.”

Q: It sounds like they instilled strong values?

A:“Absolutely. They taught my sister and I that we could do whatever we wanted. My dad was willing to let us try out for the (American) football team ‘Pop Warner’, a children’s football league. He was like, ‘you can go ahead and do it. I’m just going to tell you there are some big boys out there. They’re going to hit you hard. They’re not going to pull any punches.’ He made us rethink it and we decided maybe we wouldn’t do that. But in my brain, I really thought that I could do it. I played softball in a team. I ran track. I grew up in the generation that still played outside with other kids. We were always riding our bikes, roller-skating and playing football in the middle of the street. We grew up outside, not like kids today!”

Q: It sounds like you are still very active.

A: “Yes, when I’m not working. I love surfing and snowboarding.”

Q: You are so optimistic. How fulfilling is your career and life right now?

A: “I love my job because I love stories and I love telling stories. Every second of the day is different. I love to collaborate; I love being creative with other people, sharing information. Even though this movie is a comedy, I really feel it’s to let people know that women can be good to each other and champion one another, and that they don’t have to be competitive. I hate competition between women and I’m not a competitive person myself. I want everybody to succeed.”

Q: Any dreams or specific goals?

A: “No, I’ve never been that way. I take life as it comes. I’m the kind of person who lives in the moment. I’m not somebody who asks: ‘what am I going to be doing? Who am I going to be doing it with?’ I’m really a kind of present person. I feel blessed with everything that I have in my life. I do not take any of it for granted.”

Catch The Other Woman  in local cinemas on the 1st May 2014 

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Comments (1)

  • Steven says:May 1, 2014 10:27 am

    I’ve never liked Cameron Diaz, I’ve always thought that she was overrated. Her role choices recently have been going from bad to worse. It’s like she plays the same character over and over. I heard that this movie is actually good and I read your review so Ill wait and see before I make a proper judgment.

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