If you have been following along, you have gotten the chance to read the interviews with Mila Kunis and Kathryn Hahn, and Christina Applegate and Annie Mumolu. The other interview I had a chance to be a part of was with the Producer Suzanne Todd, Writer/Director Jon Lucas & Writer/Director Scott Moore. To hear all the behind the scenes action, hear the ideas behind the movie and the script.
Question: Hi. For the writers, I guess who was your main source in terms of writing sort of mom culture and getting into the minds of moms?
Mr. Scott Moore: So, Jon and I are both married, and we both have two kids. And when we were trying to come up with a movie, we’re just basically sitting at home. We each have a home office, and we’re sitting at home like trying, racking our brains, and just watching our wives in this like stressed-out life trying to be a great parent.
And we’re like maybe that’s a good thing for a movie. And so, the inspiration was basically our wives, and we spent a lot of time sort of talking to them and talking to their friends and throwing parties and having a bunch of moms over and a bunch of red wine, and stories would just start flowing.
Mr. Jon Lucas: It’s not super hard to get moms to talk about how they feel about being a mom.
It was great. It was actually really in some ways the best part about out it was I actually feel like I understand my wife far better for the process because so much happens that I don’t notice, if that makes any sense, or I don’t see. And–.
Mr. Scott Moore: –A husband who doesn’t notice things.
Mr. Jon Lucas: Yes.
Mr. Scott Moore: Surprising.
Mr. Jon Lucas: But, I think the movie was great fun, and I knew some of the absurdity, and I think things like I mentioned before, like the Gwendolyn [Christina Applegate], like the list of foods you’re not supposed to eat, which, to a dad, I was like I don’t understand lists like this. I don’t know why the school sends us things like this.
I don’t know why I get 50 e-mails day, and there’s just so many rules now that didn’t seem to make a lot of sense to me. And when we got into the deeper, we began to see how absurd this world got. And that’s when we realized that there’s really a movie here, probably more than one movie in here.
Ms. Suzanne Todd: How many of you have had that similar bake sale thing where you get a crazy e-mail that says you have to bring food that has no ingredients in it, right? It feels like everyone’s had that.
Question: I love all the different lessons you can learn. What do you hope that people will take from this movie after they see it?
Mr. Scott Moore: The big one for me just to do less, and that like doing less is okay and that like maybe this is a uniquely dad point of view, but like our wives and all the moms that are in our social circle that I know work so hard, and they do so many things. And is there a way to maybe do 5 percent less and spend 5 percent maybe more time taking care of yourself or hanging out with your kids or just having a little more fun in your life.
I think it’s gotten so crazy what the expectations are. And again, it makes for great comedy. So, I’m grateful for that. We got a movie out of it. But, it’s irrational how much moms are expected to do.
Mr. Jon Lucas: Yes.
Ms. Suzanne Todd: Outside they have that Nike motto that says like just do it. We joke that we wanted to make t-shirts that said just do less, right? Or, like, just do less and enjoy it more, right? Because enjoying time with your kids is more important than making the perfect lunch.
Mr. Scott Moore: Yes. We are definitely not experts in parenting. Jon and I definitely don’t know what the fuck we’re doing as being a parent. But, we think that that’s part of it. And we’re not trying to put out a message, but if there is any sort of message, it’s you don’t have to be perfect.
Question: You too. As a female producer in Hollywood, a very powerful one, what attracted you to this project beyond it being just a laugh-out-loud, funny comedy?
Ms. Suzanne Todd: Honestly, and it sounds lame because they’re sitting next to me, but these two guys. You know, I’ve worked with a lot of people. Obviously, I’ve made a lot of movies. An interviewer yesterday pointed out to me that it’s been 30 years since I graduated from film school and started making movies. Thank you very much, or not.
But, Jon and Scott had written this incredibly funny script that, again, you can’t believe was written by two guys because it’s so accurate. And again, credit to both of their wives, who I’ve gotten to know and are amazing people and are obviously like–.
Mr. Jon Lucas: –Yes, they really should be here. It’s a shame they had to work today–.
Ms. Suzanne Todd: –The inspiration for the movie. And I loved what they had to say. I love their method of working as directors. I love their language of speaking to each other. And it’s just rare in Hollywood to have people that are really talented and also nice people. And sometimes you make a movie with somebody, and you’re thrown in the trenches, and you spend a lot of time together.
When the movie’s over, you can’t wait to not be in their lives anymore. And I really know that Jon and Scott will be in my life forever, and we’ll be friends and work together again. And I loved what they wanted to do with the movie.
Mr. Scott Moore: She was terrible. We’re never working with her again. No, I didn’t mean to cut you off. She’s awesome. Jon and I have been working in the industry for a long time. I think we’ve been writing together for 16 years.
And Suzanne by far is the best producer we’ve worked with. She’s been incredibly supportive and deals with all the like shitty politics and stuff that you don’t want to deal with or don’t have the bandwidth for. And she’s right. Like, after this movie, I’d love nothing more than to do 10 movies with her. She was great.
Question: This question is for all three of you. I was saying to Mila and Kathryn earlier that I feel that when you tend to have outrageous comedies like this, they’re very male-focused. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen a comedy like this specifically aimed from the point of view of moms before. Did you see this as being an untapped audience that wasn’t being catered to?
Mr. Scott Moore: Not really. Again, like I think when we started writing the script, it was just like what is interesting around us? We would like to spend a couple of years of working on and spending a couple of years working on basically something that’s about my wife seemed interesting to me.
Ms. Suzanne Todd: It wasn’t really a business decision in that way. I don’t think–.
Mr. Scott Moore: –If anything, our agencies tried to talk us off of it a little bit. But, there were like–I don’t know. There was a lot of politics. But–.
Mr. Jon Lucas: –We definitely got the horrible note. I’m not going to say who it’s from, if you guys get more of those going, we’ll have a real, be honest press junket. But, we definitely got the note of could you do like bad parents, where there’s like a dad in there so like the men will come. And we’re just being on the phone. We’re just being like, ah, this is why. This is why I drink at night.
And we were like no, it’s not funny if there’s a dad in there because it’s not about that guy. Like, dads, we could do a whole other movie about dads if we wanted to. I don’t think it’s as funny because there are bad dads like everywhere. And it’s just like a bummer. It’s like a bummer movie.
But, Bad Moms is funny because 99 percent of moms we know are really, really great moms. And so, a bad mom is funny, but a bad dad is not. But, anyway, that note came through, in case you’re wondering. And of course, I’m sure none of you are surprised even remotely that there was that note at some point.
But, I will say to the studio’s credit, we went in, and we were honestly like, look, this movie caters to women, frankly not women who are 16 years old. The studios love to attract. To STX’s credit, they didn’t blink. They were like no, this is an audience. We hadn’t really thought if it from a commercial perspective exactly, but they were like no, this is an audience. They show up to movies. They’re actually a really loyal audience. I don’t know why there aren’t 50 movies made for women.
They actually have money. They have time. They schedule shit. Like, they’re mom. Moms are like I’m going Friday at 10:15. They know. Tickets are already being presold right now because like moms do this. This is how moms work. They don’t just like decide on Friday like smoke a bowl and go to a movie.
Like, they plan shit. They got to get a sitter. Yes, yes. Maybe they’ll have a little nip, but–.
Ms. Suzanne Todd: –I think there was a first inkling, because like Scott said, it wasn’t a business decision going in to try and hit that audience. We were shooting the PTA party scene, the meet the candidates scene. And it was pouring rain where we were. And we had all these extras literally in like the worst version of crammed together under tarps, like trying to keep people dry in between takes because normally you would be outside of the house, but it was raining, so you couldn’t.
And the extras were having the greatest time. They all listened to Mila give that speech about how she wanted to change things, and if you want to do less, a vote for me. And it was like every extra started talking about she couldn’t wait to see the movie. She was happy to work overtime. She didn’t mind being cramped in the rain because every single person thought that was their story.
So, we started to get this kind of inkling early on that it was relatable to other people.
Mr. Scott Moore: Yes. When she’s like, everyone who wants to do less, and it’s like all the crowd like cheers, and we’re like, no you guys need to be quiet because you’re stepping on her lines. And so, the next take, it’s like everybody who wants to do less. And they were like cheering I want to do less! You’re like, no, you got to be quiet.
Question: I have another question on the cast and the movie. It’s absolutely fantastic, with Mila Kunis and Christina Applegate and Kathryn Hahn. How did you go about the process of actually selecting those actresses and putting them into the role, like, you know Carla? Who will be playing Carla? Why it’s not Mila, but, it’s Kathryn, you know? How did you go about this process? I’m interested about that.
Ms. Suzanne Todd: Oh, great. It’s Kathryn Hahn that was Carla, by the way. I mean really, everything that comes out of her mouth, which these guys wrote, but Kathryn brought it to life.
Mr. Scott Moore: The casting process is complicated, and there’s a lot of alchemy and, like, luck and chance. But, it is sort of the most important part of filmmaking, that, if you cast your movie right, that’s more than half the battle. That’s like 90 percent of the movie.
And if this movie is any good, it’s because of the cast, not because of what we were doing. They’re just amazing together and super talented. And I think I don’t know the specific answer to your question, but we just started sitting down with actresses and talking to them about the script. And some of them just like got it and popped.
And I remember sitting down with Kristen Bell and going you’re so Kiki [Kristen Bell]. She was just so sweet and adorable and bouncy and innocent and silly that it’s like there was no question that that’s the role that defined her.
And when we sat down with Christina Applegate, it’s like super talented, very funny, but also I was a little scared of her. And so, I’m like that’s a Gwendolyn. Like, she has some balls to her that she’ll like run a room.
And so, it just seemed obvious that she was going to be a great Gwendolyn.
Mr. Jon Lucas: Yes. Also in the casting process that was really fun was all the women in our movie are moms, which would see obvious. But, we met with some actresses who weren’t, and it was always hilarious when they want to be in the movie, and they’d be like, well, I have like a dog.
And you’re like, oh, that’s like so different than having a kid. But, I can totally see how it’s a lot of responsibility when you have a dog. It seems like a lot of responsibility. Then you have children, and you’re like do we still have a dog? Is there a dog around here? I completely forgot about the dog.
But, it didn’t start out as like our intention to hire only moms. But, the more we met with people, the more you’re like I don’t have to explain it to you. In fact, you’re explaining to me things that I probably wasn’t even aware of.
And that’s great. When they’re giving you stuff, it’s like there’s nothing better than that.
Mr. Scott Moore: Like, when Kathryn’s pitching a line, she’s like I would call him an ungrateful little shit, that that’s something that a mom would pitch. But, when you’re talking to actresses who aren’t moms, they’d be like, oh, I don’t think I would say that. Like, a mom would never say that line.
I think there’s a view of motherhood when you’re not a mom yet that’s way more Hallmark and sweet and, like, oh, motherhood is just like backlit, and everyone’s wearing dresses, and it’s just–and you’re like, no, no, no, no. Being a mom is like three in the morning. There’s shit on the wall. And there’s a kid cutting you with something.
It’s brutal. It’s a war. It’s a physical battle. And one of our execs had a great line, which is like people are like how did you do an R-rated movie about moms? And he has this great line. It’s like motherhood is an R-rated job. Like, motherhood is not PG. It’s certainly not G. Motherhood is dirty. There’s a lot of stuff. It’s messy. It’s not pretty and clean and your hair looks great.
It’s like it’s a battle. So–.
Ms. Suzanne Todd: –Well, if you’re lucky, part of the R-rated part of your job is like a Jay Hernandez in your life, right?
Mr. Jon Lucas: Yes.
Question: Right here, guys. Talking about Jay Hernandez, how did you come up with the idea of hiring him? He’s so hot and handsome. He was perfect for the role.
Ms. Suzanne Todd: Was he hot? I didn’t really notice. I mean when we were looking at actors, do you think?
Mr. Jon Lucas: It was how he read the lines.
Ms. Suzanne Todd: Yes.
Mr. Jon Lucas: It had nothing to do with his appearance.
Ms. Suzanne Todd: Nothing to do with his hotness at all. No, I’m kidding of course.
Mr. Scott Moore: It’s the same casting process. You just have people come in, and you meet them. And to be honest, when Jon and I cast, you usually have people read the lines, but it’s so much more about talking to them and just getting to know them. We do like probably, you know, 10 or 15 minutes just talking to them. And then they read the line, and you send them off.
And you learn who the actresses and the actors are as people first and sort of what their bringing, like I said about Kristen Bell and Christina Applegate sort of knowing who they were.
But, Jay’s a dad. He’s got two kids. It’s like he got the script. He understood it. And so, I think, yes, he’s a very attractive man, which Jon and I recognized when he came in the room. But, I think the other piece was, you know, when he’s sitting on the couch with Mila and talking about how she’s such a great mom and that how he appreciates that, he understands that world.
And as a father and a parent, he appreciates that. And there was some truth there. And that’s what I really liked.
Mr. Jon Lucas: Also, when we cast, we had this amazing casting director, Cathy Sandrich, and her office is all women. And so, you could just tell when a lot of dudes came through for that, and suddenly everyone’s like wearing skirts that day. And everyone’s like, oh, hi. Jay’s here today. And like everyone’s all in the room. And I’m picking up something here. I’m not good at this stuff, but you get it when there’s someone who has that kind of magnetism. It’s kind of obvious.
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