A GoPride Interview

Susan Sarandon

Susan Sarandon and Cheryl Hines make bad grandmas

Sat. November 11, 2017  by Jerry Nunn

All I know is raising kids is a bitch!
Susan Sarandon

cheryl hines and kristen bell

photo credit // pr photo

Susan Sarandon and Cheryl Hines talk Bad Moms Christmas

Bad Moms Christmas is a hilarious follow up to the original movie Bad Moms. It is the story of three friends dealing with the holiday arrival of their moms.

Susan Sarandon plays Isis the mother to the Kathryn Hahn character and Cheryl Hines is Sandy the mother to Kristen Bell in the film. 

Many will know Hines from her role on the TV show Curb Your Enthusiam. Susan Sarandon has an impressive resume dating back to 1951. Standouts include The Hunger, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Witches of Eastwick, Thelma & Louise, Dead Man Walking, and most recently with FX’s Feud where she played Bette Davis. 

The two sat down to chat during a recent media tour of the new comedy Bad Moms Christmas.

JN: (Jerry Nunn) How was the camaraderie between the grandmas in Bad Moms Christmas?

CH: (Cheryl Hines) We had a really good time shooting. 

SS: (Susan Sarandon) It is so unusual that you get to work with a whole gang of women. That makes it different right away. The young gals were so welcoming and generous. I didn’t feel I had to acclimate at all. 

CH: No, they were so nice. 

SS: The directors were very loose and encouraged us to make mistakes. One of the reasons I did it was because the cast was so solid. Everyone has been in the business for awhile and very professional. What more could you ask for really? Except a bigger piece of the movie I guess! [everyone laughs]

JN: Susan, what got you into character more, the costume or the script?

SS: I did rely a lot on the costume to find things that spoke because I didn’t have space to explain a lot. We tried to find things like the beer cans falling out of the truck when I arrived to give a little visual aid. I think the wardrobe helped a lot. 

JN: What stories did you think about your own mothers while making Bad Moms Christmas?

SS: I don’t have mother stories, but my daughter and I have explored the dynamic of separating yourself from your mother. You go in the opposite direction to discover you are more like your mother than you will admit. 

If my daughter wrote a TV series about her life then you would think she was raised in the circus or a gypsy caravan! 

The mother/ daughter things is very special. We both have daughters. When you come with the same genders there is something very unique. It is a story that is very fertile and you can never go wrong exploring that. 

CH: My mother is similar to my character in the way that I am her favorite. If she is sitting next to me she has to rub my shoulders. She is so happy to be around me. You turn into your mother whether you want to or not… 

JN: When you go to a family gathering what do you say when someone asks, “When will you have a family?”

SS: Those are the things that make Christmas and Thanksgiving a nightmare.  I have some friends that decided to not have kids. It was a really big stigma to go against. They decided they were perfectly happy without children. 

What is fabulous about gay marriage is that it redefines the gender designated jobs, then you throw in transgender and you don’t just have the five primary colors of the crayons. We have to really look at what it means to be a man or a woman in a much more generous and creative way.

CH: Than just a mom and dad…

SS: There is a mom and a dad, or two moms, or two dads or a single parent. There are so many kinds of households. All I know is raising kids is a bitch! 

CH: It is relentless and there’s no break. 

SS: Now that I am a grandmother and have a daughter who is a fabulous mother I realize now how much constant awareness you have as a parent. They are always on your mind, even when they are grown. 

If I don’t hear from my kids in a couple of days I am texting them to check in on them. When you have two good parents taking care of your grandchildren things are not really your problem but there is still pressure. It’s crazy! 

JN: What was different about working with an all female cast?

CH: There was a lot of hair and makeup! [laughs] Sometimes women get a bad reputation for  being catty, but I did not find that to be the case in this situation or any of my projects. You do have cuckoo birds, but that is in both sexes! 

We just had a really fun time. I think because every one of us are moms in the cast. Even though the directors are both guys, I think they are both dads. My friend Suzanne Todd, who produced it is also a mom. It was all coming from a very real place. 

SS: Every time you enter into a job it’s a whole new universe. There’s a new language with a new power structure. If you are in an all Black cast its a different dynamic, the same with an all male cast or a crew that is mainly women. 

CH: I worked in Montreal with people speaking French. I was worried they were talking about me! 

SS: I have done several movies where there are other women like Tammy or The Banger Sisters with Goldie Hawn. There’s a short cut. Just like when there’s a gay guy director there’s a certain shortcut. It’s hard to generalize, but everything makes for a certain atmosphere. 

It is important to have a woman editor. That is an industry where it is predominantly women. Male editors might cut out pauses that are interesting, while a woman might not be afraid of that pause. Trying to do a movie with an editor who is not funny is impossible. There are certain talents that go with certain genders. 

At this point it is a novelty to have an all woman cast so it was just fun. I have worked with women in the old days that made my life hell. 

JN: So there was no Joan Crawford in this cast?

SS: On this there was no Joan Crawford! 

JN: What was it like filming the scene in the bar with Justin Hartley?

SS: I was a little nervous because I had recently fractured my ankle on Feud so I had been in a boot not too long before that. Rolling my ankle again was the only concern I had. 

I ran into him at hockey game and we were talking about doing this film. He said he was a bit nervous about the bar scene. I had to go back and read the script. I saw the part about licking his nipples and thought it would be pushing my acceptance by the audience. 

The trick of the movie is we are having fun. There are a lot of physical bits by everybody. The directors made us feel safe to make big mistakes. 

JN: Susan, by the way, did you ever have a run in with Harvey Weinstein?

SS: I had a bad experience when he did horrible things in terms of a movie he owned and decided to dump, which he’s famous for. He will buy a bunch of little films and only release one. 

I saw him bully people, but not sexually. I had no first hand information about that. 

I had been told a story where an actress was penetrated while on the set and the director loved it. What is amazing now is the discourse has changed. The fact that people are coming forward and this conversation is happening and things might be more difficult for the next guy. Just like bullying was part of growing up, sexual harassment was part of being a woman. 

How can we raise boys that become men to respect people? It has to do with lyrics in songs and various communities looking at all of this. 

Bad Moms Christmas currently plays in theaters everywhere.



Interviewed by Jerry Nunn. Jerry Nunn is a contributing writer to the GoPride Network. His work is also featured in Windy City Times, Nightspots Magazine and syndicated nationally.