Between shooting The Office and Big Love, respectively, John Krasinski and Ginnifer Goodwin took a break to act in a romantic dramedy together -- Something Borrowed. They sat down with Buzzine to not only give insight into the atmosphere on set with Kate Hudson and Hilary Swank (who produced), but John gives us some clues about where The Office is headed without Steve Carell, and Ginnifer talks about Big Love and her upcoming blockbuster, Snow White and the Huntsman.
Izumi Hasegawa: Ginnifer, you've been these cute, supporting characters, which is easy for you to play, but this is the lead. Kate [Hudson] is an Academy Award nominee, and when you got the lead, were you surprised? What was your reaction to getting the part?
Ginnifer Goodwin: I was shocked and I was nervous, to be honest about carrying the story in the way that Rachel does, but not because she's the lead but because she's a far more subtle character than the characters surrounding her, and I'm not really used to playing someone as flushed out as I hope we meet her. I'm not used to playing someone so straight and narrow, and I was terrified of being boring.
IH: You weren't.
GG: Thank you! It was a very real insecurity, and I think I checked in with John a lot about that.
John Krasinski: I was of no help, in case you were wondering. [Laughs]
GG: Margene on Big Love is more of the comedic relief.
IH: Everything depends on what happens to her.
GG: I watched the movie, and it was verified that I was actually silent through most of it. There aren't actually a ton of lines coming out of rituals now, so it was really important to also tell the story in the looks and energies of the other relationships of the characters. I was very nervous.
IH: You do wonder if you maybe are a slut in the background?
JK: Are we talking about her character now? Scandalous...
GG: I judge her harshly, and what inspired me to play her was the challenge of finding sympathy for her and therefore helping the audience find sympathy for her, because I think she made these poor decisions at just about every turn. I don't agree with how she went about anything, and if you step back from it and look at it, she not only handed Dex over on a silver platter to Darcy, but when she became involved with him instead of taking responsibility for that action, she repeated that action and she lied about it, lied about it, and lied about it, and covered and covered and covered. And only gets him in the end because she gets busted. I feel that, in any other story, I'm positive that she would be the antagonist, and making her the protagonist was great fun.
IH: John, are you the voice of reason?
GG: The Jiminy Cricket.
JK: I almost felt like he was the most real of all of them. I think he was the more fully evolved person. He seemed to be like one of those guys who was older than his years, so he was through a lot of his tumultuous "oh my god would I do that with my life" phase, and he was a lot more secure with who he was, so he was able to give advice, which was actually one of the fun parts about doing this part, because the best friend role is usually completely a satellite to the main character's world and just orbiting around them no matter what they do.
GG: Just sort of filling in blanks.
JK: Exactly. So to be the guy who really had his own life going on and cared enough about her to give her actual advice rather than constantly surrounding her was really fun, because again, the whole reason I signed on to the movie was because it's not a romantic comedy that I've seen in a long time. It's actually not a romantic comedy.
GG: We were calling it a 'rom.' [Laughs] A rom with laughs.
JK: I sometimes get frustrated by the fantastical version of romantic comedies that all get tied up in a bow so you're almost removed from the experience and it's more just eye candy and exciting and it's a feel-good movie, but this was one of those things where you are asked to go through this world with these characters that I'm sure you can relate to in one aspect or another because, simply, it's presenting relationships are not easy or not perfect. I doubt any of us have had relationships that are this complicated, but the complications in general are very encouraging for people who would see this movie and see that they were all in situations that made adjustments, and you rely on your friends and have those dynamics shift and change. So I was happy to play the guy who was the only guy to say, "What?! This is all insane!"
IH: It's such a female-driven movie with you [Ginnifer] and Kate and Hilary [Swank]. Did you have a lot of fun between takes? What did you do? Did you hang out together?
GG: We did! We only have a very boring answer for you -- that we got a long like gangbusters, all of us, and there was no actor drama. We all became fast friends immediately and had an amazing support system at work, and then after work, we really did go have glasses of wine and dinner every night. Even when we all went to the Hamptons, there were nights when we all were going to go out, and we ended up just in John's room [laughs], all of us. It was just one of those happy places.
IH: Did you discover any new places while you were filming in any of the new locations?
GG: I've never been to the Hamptons. When we were in New York City, Kate has a place there and John has a place there, and I was probably the only one who really didn't know anything about New York, so I was introduced to a new world of fun.
IH: Both of you have navigated the TV and movie worlds. Is that what you want to continue doing?
GG: I actually just shot another pilot, and I wasn't expecting to dive right back into television, but honestly it's been a really long time since I had read a script of substance in the movie world. I have been nervous that I wouldn't be able to find something creatively fulfilling, so I started to read pilots again. I did find one that I adored, and I shot it within a couple of months of wrapping up Big Love, and it will hopefully get picked up next month. Who knows?! But I've definitely opened up that door, and I've loved the TV life. I've always had creative ADD, and I've always thought that I needed to jump from one character to another, and in about the third season of Big Love, I realized that actually there's something much deeper in taking your elbows in and helping develop a character over the course of many years, and watching her grow and change in a satisfying, whole different kind of way.
JK: I wouldn't be here or even in LA if it weren't for The Office. When I say that show is giving me everything, I'm the most literal I can be. I have learned everything about this business from that show, and it's given me so many amazing opportunities. And on top of all of it, it is the most fun I have. I'm with the people who are far and away involved in the family much sooner than I ever thought was possible, and was a part of something that was very unique in that defines all of us, and we're all really proud of it. To be defined by something that good is such a rarity. We're all just so incredibly lucky to be doing it. With Steve [Carell] leaving the show, the question is always posed: What's going to happen?"
IH: What's going to happen?
JK: We're actually still figuring out who's going to be the boss both on-screen and off screen; they haven't figured it out. But the idea was: why don't we just show that figuring out process on screen? And it's been really interesting and fun. In a lot of ways, it's the spin-off to the show. They were always talking about the spin off, and this is a spinoff, and we're basically on a show where we've lost our leader, but luckily I've had seven or eight years to develop all these characters into such fully formed amazing, hilarious people that now any combination works. You're not wondering who these people are, so in a weird way, it almost feels like the beginning of when we first started. There are a lot of inter-office relationships and things like that, and to do movies in your off-time is a gift that I think I'm still stunned to have. It's a difficult thing for anybody to do, but to be able to do it and to be working with people you can actually respect is completely and totally surreal, if nothing else. If anyone in this business feels like they deserve anything that they've gotten, they're on their way down.
IH: Will you direct again?
GG: I want you to direct me!
JK: Well then.
IH: If her show gets picked up...
JK: Exactly. I'll definitely direct a show again this year.
IH: I'm talking about directing films...
JK: I know, I'm trying to skirt the issue. [Laughs] It was a great experience. It was a very difficult experience -- weirdly, the most difficult part was not the material. I was so in love with David Foster Wallace, and that was a passion project like I've never known a definition to be. It was something that I literally could not not do. It was something that I had to do, so without power behind me, and with that crew and group of people behind me, it was just unbelievable. I probably won't do it again until something hits me that strongly. I just don't think I could do that much work for something that I just thought was an interesting idea. It would have to be something that was powerful and meaningful.
IH: What kind of resource was Emily [Giffin] in honing the characters?
GG: We relied on the source material more than anything. She was absolutely available to us, and what was really special to me was that she trusted us. I've worked on projects with source material before, and projects that are based on books that you can't necessarily always have those people on set. The very nature of translating it into another medium is that things are going to get lost, and it's impossible to be 100% faithful, and you end up changing the format in which you are telling the story at all. But she was all in. She let us do our thing and was there if we needed help understanding the characters, and we turned to the book in times when scenes weren't working, and we knew we needed to actually lift passages of her words and put them in more directly because something wasn't bridging in the way that it did in the book. Ultimately, we were always getting e-mails and phone calls that she was liking everything, and that's really unusual.
JK: I can't speak to it as well because I was an amalgum of two characters.
GG: That's a perfect example of how much she trusted us. It's like: yes, take these characters and smash them together and make a new character that serves the same purpose.
JK: She was totally excited and totally trusted us. I think, at the end of the day, that thing was fighting to stay true to Rachel when the movie version was starting to take hold of something that didn't feel real.
GG: The actors were always fighting for moments in the book that we felt were paramount to the storytelling.
JK: The characters were so well-written that it was an easy barometer to know that you were well out of your league.
GG: There was even a scene -- I will not get into what it is, but it was cut for quite some time. But it was so important to a lot of us -- not because it serves the movie in any way but because the fans of the book will categorically miss it if it's not there. And we were able to get it back in the movie purely because of that, because you have to honor of the fans if you're going to tell the story. And yes it might slow the movie down, and some people might feel that it's a repetitive beat and it may not be what's best for the movie, but it's what's best for the story.
JK: Just say it -- it was my scene! They wanted to cut me out.
IH: Are you a pro at badminton now?
GG: I'm a pro at hitting people in the face.
IH: Did you have doubles?
GG: No, that was us! Unfortunately!
JK: I think you can tell that was us. I do not have any form that is professional!
IH: Why should guys go see this movie?
JK: I think because of the whole reality of the situation. I think that, in my opinion, my disconnect with romantic comedies is it's almost tailored to the unbelievable, and it's something to look at and it's never attainable, so let's just enjoy this as the small drug that it is. And I think that, to me, is not so appealing because there is nothing representing me or any real life in there. So to have it be a complication where the guy is making a choice and figuring it out and did something wrong and he's not Prince Charming and he actually slept with somebody he's not engaged to, all of that is on the playing field as real, so it's a lot more interesting to watch it play out. It's like when someone starts tell you the beginning of any movie. You're like, "I've heard it, I've heard it, I've heard it... Wait, that's different..." And it starts to evolve something you might want to go see.
IH: You mentioned future projects, and you are doing Snow White. Can you tell me how your portrayal will be different than the storybook character?
GG: I have been made to understand, as everyone knows coming into this junket, that I'm not allowed to say very much, but I will say that a lot of the folks -- mostly [Edward] Kitsis, [Adam] Horowitz, who were behind Lost -- are developing this project, and they are going to treat it in the same way that they did Lost in how secretive they're going to make us be. But I will say that what they've done with Snow White, they're turning the story on its head, and what impresses me the most is that Disney and ABC, for the first time in their history, have written off on it -- they're letting us represent Snow White as something of a bad ass, I have to say. I'm really excited about where they're letting us go with the character that they've actually literally worked to trademark. So the story is sort of a study of time and what time is.
IH: And wardrobe fittings?
GG: We shot it! It was glorious. It was like being on a ginormous movie.
JK: All pleather!
GG: I don't think I can. I was really told I'm not allowed to talk about it and I don't want to get in trouble, but everything in me... I'm lighting candles in my house and pleas to God that ABC please pick us up, because it was some of the most fun I've had in years... years and years and years.
IH: Bad ass, huh?
GG: Yeah, something of a bad ass.
Warner Bros. Pictures' 'Something Borrowed' is released on May 4, 2011.