RASHIDA Jones had a difficult, complicated time shooting her new movie On The Rocks. The LA-born actress was a young mother who gave birth to her son in the summer of 2018 with Vampire Weekend front man Ezra Koenig. In May 2019, her mother – actress Peggy Lipton – died at the same time as the filming of Cancer, at the age of 72.
And Jones, 44, known for television comedies such as Parks and Recreation and the American version of The Office, acknowledges how this affected her work on the new comedy-drama written and directed by the notable Sofia Coppola .
“Under normal circumstances, you hope that you can cast the best and most honest complex parts of yourself into a role without fear of failure,” suggests Jones, whose father is music legend Quincy Jones.
“And then, when things get even more difficult and you are preoccupied with your personal life, the hope is that you can trust the people you are with to make all of this set and into character , and that you will find a way to bring that into the character.
“I was very lucky to be in Sofia’s hands and to work with the people I worked with because there was a certain level of security and support that made me feel like I could just be myself, what Whatever that day was – because it was chaotic at times – and that hopefully the channeling there would actually add to the character in the end. ”
And it worked. Jones is brilliant in On The Rocks, an emotional, heartfelt comedy in which she plays the young mother Laura, who thinks she is happy – until her husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) records the late hours in the office with a new colleague .
Laura, she’s starting to worry he’s having an affair. So she turns to her charming, larger-than-life Playboy dad Felix (Bill Murray) for help, and together they investigate the situation, resulting in a nightly New York adventure that takes her from downtown parties to downtown hotspots.
Much of the laugh comes from the generational struggle between Laura and Felix when Coppola – best known for Oscar-winning Lost In Translation (also with Murray) and The Virgin Suicides – expertly examines the father-daughter relationship and how unique and important it can be His.
The filmmaker explains how she came up with the idea for the film: “I had a friend who told me a story about spying on her husband with her father.
“I just thought I’d like to see some kind of comedy caper of the father-daughter-mate adventure and the idea of having such different perspectives on relationships and men and women between these two generations.
“So I tried to put these elements together into something that would hopefully be fun and easy, but still have the depth of these topics.”
Jones and Coppola had met over the years, having first worked together 18 years ago.
It was then when Coppola was working on Lost In Translation. She was doing a workshop and Jones was actually the actress who performed the scene.
“It was a defining experience for me at the time to work with this great young filmmaker,” enthuses Jones.
“And then, to have that full circle moment where we can reconnect and work on this thing in a deeper way, a dream really comes true. Just to watch Sofia at work and run a set as someone who is something of a striving director, it’s really, really, really great. ”
“I was really happy to spend all the time with Rashida and to have a great partner for this film,” says Coppola, who has two children with her husband, the French musician Thomas Mars.
“It helps that she is a writer. If I sent her scripts, I could get her feedback! ”
Another friend Coppola got on board for this latest project was Bill Murray. Lost In Translation had been an extremely successful collaboration for the couple. Murray received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, while Coppola won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
Coppola laughs when this is brought up and jokes, “I finally got him an agent! I mean, I thought it was time, he did enough in his career, so I got him one. It was difficult, but I did it. ”
The Ghostbusters star is absent from the On The Rocks interviews, which take place via Zoom, and Coppola confirms that “he’s so elusive”.
“He’s always mysterious and you never know when he’ll show up, which is part of the fun when he’s around, but he’s always great to work with because he always brings a magic and an unexpectedness to it , what he does.
“Felix was just a mix of different people. Bill brings so much life to the role that it was fun bringing this character to life through Bill. It took someone who is lovable because that type of person has a dark side too, of course, and says things that you disagree with and he might make it so that you can take anything. ”
Coppola’s own father is 81-year-old film legend Francis Ford Coppola. The American director, producer, and screenwriter is behind some of the most iconic films of all time, including the Godfather trilogy and Apocalypse Now.
She grew up in a world where there were many men who looked like Felix: “Those who drink martinis, smoke cigars, and are connected to a kind of old world way of life that you don’t see very often now. ”
To explain this and the themes of the film, she says, “I thought a lot about my father and this whole generation of men, this ‘Martini generation’ who were characters like that, but also part of what could be a very objectifying culture.
“And I’ve also thought about how your relationship with your father will affect your relationships and your marriage. How do we relate to these men in our lives, whom we love deeply, but with whom we are not always at eye level, it depends on how men and women behave?
“It’s built into a crazy caper that I hope will somehow take you to town.”
:: On The Rocks is available now on Apple TV +
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