By Jordan Scott
Actors Hugh Grant (“Love Actually”), Chris Elliott (“Groundhog Day”), and director Marc Lawrence (“Miss Congeniality”) sat down for a press conference to discuss their new comedy, “The Rewrite.” The film is not the typical Hugh Grant rom-com. Rather, it focuses on the love story between a has-been screenwriter turned professor and his students, who share a love for film. Feel-good in its truest form, the viewer will leave the theater feeling as though with a bit of elbow grease and determination, anything is possible.
WSN: What was it like working with and writing for this technology-obsessed, Hollywood-obsessed generation? And also, this wasn’t your (to Hugh Grant) normal love story with a big kiss at the end.
Marc Lawrence: We kissed at the end (gesturing to Hugh). For me, it’s watching my kids. I find that my son (who also wrote the score) and his friends at school say stuff like “I’m totally down with that.” “Word” has made a resurgence. Like “I’ll see you later.” “Word.” There’s a lot of that.
Hugh Grant: Makes no sense.
Chris Elliott: You’re just saying “word.” Wasn’t it “word up”?
ML: It might’ve been, but now it’s just, “see you later – word.”
HG: Might as well say bird. I sometimes wonder if one could anymore make a romantic comedy because, the people under 25 or 30 don’t talk much. How would you do it? Every shot would be a close-up of the phone.
Q: Marisa Tomei has a lot of odd jobs in this film. Was there any point in your career that you had to take on some weird jobs to survive?
HG: I cleaned a lot of lavatories. And I was rather good at it. But I did hate it. I remember I was cleaning lavatories at IBM in London and I was on my way to work one day and I thought, “I really can’t stand this another day, I wish the place would just burn down.” And as I turned the corner, it was burning down. And I didn’t know I had that power. I’ve tried not to use it too much since. I was a very good waiter in a gay restaurant on Kings Road. I got lots of tips and was very flirty.
Q: What do you think of this idea of re-writing your life?
ML: I think focus and hard work will do something. You need a certain wattage on the light bulb in order for it to shine, but then I think that Marisa’s argument in the movie that it’s about focus and hard work and all those things…“99% perspiration, 1% inspiration,” I think there’s probably something to that.
CE: I’ve always wanted to paint but I couldn’t start right now and be a painter. I don’t think I could actually commit to a lifetime of doing that. At least not at my age. I think age does have a little something to do with it. And how tired you are. Of breathing.
HG: I had a crazy art teacher at school who thought that art died in the year 1900. He absolutely swore that he could teach anyone in the world to draw perfectly. And I think there’s something in that. Because the flipside of his argument is maybe we all rely too much on the inspiration. Actually, unbelievable hard work and application in learning a trade, the equivalent of the ballet mistress whipping the feet of the student — actually does produce beauty in the end. And it’s very unfashionable.
CE: And the whipping is fun, too.
Jordan Scott is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.