So, what does a director do during the week before her biggest movie is released? Publicity, of course. But, no one could have been more shocked than I by the friendly and down-to-earth person that I discovered while interviewing director Anne Fletcher. Her new film "Hot Pursuit," starring Academy Award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon and Golden Globe-nominated actress Sofia Vergara, hits theaters this Friday, May 8, 2015.
Fletcher describes her comedy as, "a fun ride that with two extremely and funny women, who have so much chemistry that it is palatable and enjoyable and you just can't help but laugh out loud."
Not only is the fast-paced comedy written by a pair of great writers David Feeney ("Two Broke Girls") and John Quaintance ("Material Girls"), but it is also being produced by Reese Witherspoon and her producing partner Bruna Papandrea. Last year these two dynamos produced "Gone Girl," starring Ben Affleck and Reese's film "Wild," which was nominated for an Oscar last February. So, take notice movie lovers, "Hot Pursuit" is the movie to see this weekend.
Fletcher has only kind words to say about Reese as a producer, "It was Reese's idea to do a movie with Sofia. It shows that her instincts are so spot on, that no matter what the movie, this would be a funny pairing."
She went on to talk about both of her leading ladies, "Both of these women were such a delight to hang out with. They are both very smart, very in charge of their own careers, but in the same time they know who they are in the world."
Speaking about Sofia, Fletcher remarked about this brilliant actress, "I had no idea that Sofia was as comically gifted as she is. She has a capacity of comedy that surpasses about anyone. She's so delicately layered, with every nuance, every move. She is also a really great actor. And I think it is because she has such a great ear for real life, she is very musical in her comedy. Her serious stuff is spot on. I think if she ever wants to go down the road of playing a serious role, she has the ability to do so and do it very well."
As we spoke about these talented women, the topic got a bit more serious as we discussed how women are starting to break the glass ceiling in Hollywood - much to Reese's efforts as well.
Fletcher stated that Reese was frustrated by not getting acting roles after her Oscar-winning turn in "Walk the Line," and one night Reese was so upset that she told her husband she might have to create her own work. "By doing this Reese made more jobs available for not only herself, but other women in the business," explained Fletcher. "I have such great admiration and respect for her. She is so smart and she really has her finger on the pulse of entertainment today and it is impressive and she means what she says, and says what she means."
And then Fletcher, by talking about women in the film industry, came by some ideas that really relate to all women in business, "Women need to know their worth. We all know men are getting paid more than we are, but on some level we allow that to happen. We don't want to come off too 'bitchy,' as in comparison men would come off as strong." And talking to all women Fletcher continued, "you don't have to be pushy, but don't apologize for your talent!"
Fletcher then said the thing that most women in Hollywood would probably want to stray from as a topic of conversation, "The difference between men and women in this business, is it takes a very long time to get your career up and running. Whether you are a writer, director or producer. It takes a long time to plant the seed and let the roots really take hold and then be stable in the business (to a certain extent). While you're passionately pursuing your dream, women have to make the decision if they want children. This is a very big decision. And this is a road block for some. Some women can still write or produce and have children. If you're a director you have to plan how that's going to work for you. I tell young girls at school, think about later on freezing your eggs. Don't do what I did. I waited until it was too late.
"Stereo-typically, a man that is in the industry can go off anywhere in the world and make a picture. While, usually, the wife stays home with the kids. Life is changing for all of us."
Of course, when I found out that I was interviewing Anne Fletcher, I was aware that her last film was "Guilt Trip," starring Barbra Streisand. Never able to pass on a chance to find out more about Streisand (who I adore, to be clear), I asked Fletcher what it was like to direct this diva, and her reply was "the greatest experience ever."
"More than anything after that movie, I wanted to speak for Barbra. I wanted to be her advocate. She is an incredible woman. Everyone should be as so lucky as to work with her, and she genuinely loves women.
"Barbra took it upon herself to be my support. She didn't have that when she made her movies and I let her know how grateful I was. She paved the way for all of us women directors today.
"I speak candidly that she is a down-to-earth, brilliant, funny and so relatable. All I can say are beautiful things about her and the moment you meet her, you feel as if you have known her your whole life. One of the first things she demanded of me, without it even being said, was to be honest with her. By expecting honesty from each other, we thrived in that environment. And, how can you not love somebody that's honest?"
The last quote from my conversation with Anne Fletcher, speaks volumes not only about Barbra Streisand, but about Anne Fletcher as well. I can't help but think of her inspiring words. The positive voice she has in an industry that can be very tough. And getting very serious, I think about her comment about not having children. I think, "No, Anne. You have it wrong. You have many children. They are known as movies and they will be here long after both of us entertaining generations."