Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) is a talented attorney at a top New York law firm, a generous and loyal friend, and unhappily still single, as her engaged best friend Darcy (Kate Hudson) is constantly reminding her. But after celebrating her 30th birthday, perpetual good girl Rachel unexpectedly ends up in the arms of the guy she’s had a crush on since law school, Dex (Colin Egglesfield), who just happens to be Darcy’s fiancé.
MoviesOnline sat down with Ginnifer Goodwin and John Kraskinski to talk about their new romantic comedy, “Something Borrowed.” They told us why the story particularly appealed to them, how their real life friendship contributed to their chemistry on screen, and how having input into the evolution of the story and their characters made it a fun collaboration. They also talked about what distinguishes “Something Borrowed” from your typical romantic comedy and how producers Hilary Swank and Molly Smith’s enthusiasm for the project permeated through every step of the process.
Q: You two have terrific chemistry in the film. How do you go about creating that?
JK: What you do is you harness the hatred and then you go see a therapist about how to deal with it.
GG: Right. You practice saying nice things a lot.
GG: We were just practicing in the hall.
JK: One of the main reasons for me signing on to do this was because of Ginny. I always thought Ginny was one of the most talented actresses we have and so it was very exciting to work with her. I also think she’s a very different kind of actress. She has a whole, very unique presence on screen and off screen so it was probably one of those situations where super fan turned into friend. She was lucky enough to not see the super fan part too much.
GG: What a good way to start the morning.
JK: Done! Twenty dollars.
GG: I’ll pay later. It’s a hard thing to manufacture chemistry on screen and I feel usually that’s something I do struggle with to a certain extent. But, with John, it was very easy. We became fast friends and I think it actually did. I love our scenes together and I feel like our friendship definitely lifted up the material to a certain extent.
Q: I think there are portions of the story that ring true with many of us. Are there any particular aspects of the story that stick out more with either of you?
JK: For me, I think the idea of the story, if that makes any sense, the hook of the story for me was that I was much more intrigued with this material than any other romantic comedy I’ve seen in a while because it dealt with the reality of relationships being dirty and messy and kind of not the easiest to get through and dealing with your friends in that. There’s been plenty of moments, I think, that we’ve all had where our friends or you are not dating the people that your friends wish you were or that you wish your friends were. The fact that at the end of it you’ve gone through something with these people rather than more of the fantasy of romantic comedy of it’s all going to be tied up in a bow and it’s just really a feel good experience, this is more like seeing yourself or seeing parts or facets of yourself on screen. In that way, I think you have to be more engaged in this one and that’s exciting.
GG: Like it’s definitely something almost more to be endured than enjoyed. It’s not like anybody’s going to want to.
JK: Put that on the poster. That’ll be great.
GG: I don’t think anybody’s going to want to escape into this world but I think that’s what’s refreshing about it. I think what’s genius is it’s not a romantic comedy that’s giving you any answers. It just poses a lot of questions and I feel at the end of the movie – I’ve only seen it once – but what satisfied me so was that I was left feeling that this story is continuing and I don’t mean because we’re going to make a sequel. I feel like there was something so…I don’t know… tangible, substantial about the consequences of the actions of these characters and I felt like they’re still dealing with that and they’re still going to have to deal with that. It’s not just that they were obstacles that had to be overcome and, like John said, and then everything is tied up in a bow at the end. It’s like what they were going through was extremely relatable and messy and gross and gray. I like that we didn’t glamorize it too much. I mean, it’s a movie so it’s a little sugarcoated.
Q: 30 was a really big number in this movie for the women. What do you remember about turning 30 and your mindset as a woman going into that age?
GG: There’s that biological clock.
JK: Baby, baby, baby, baby!
GG: I actually worked with them on the Rachel meltdown because it’s a really important scene to me. Only a couple of lines made it into the movie. But the scene outside with John waiting for a cab after the party was something that we focused on for a long time trying to find the right words for that scene because I woke up on my 30th birthday. I was 31 when we filmed this and I had had a similar meltdown and really responded to the character when I read the script because I was going through it at the time. And that is, I woke up on my 30th birthday and realized, as it is such a major check-in point as John has more articulately called it, I certainly started questioning where I am in my career. I started questioning my romantic partners, my place in my own lifeline in terms of am I supposed to be thinking about having children now because that biological clock is ticking and I do feel it. Am I where I want to be in my career? No matter what that is, it’s a discombobulating feeling because when we’re in our 20s we can blame everything. We can blame all of our mistakes on our youth and I think that we have to take more responsibility in our 30s. It’s sort of a jarring example of becoming an adult, I guess.
Q: John, I’m a huge fan of The Office. Your character in this is so unlike the character we came to know in The Office. Did you see this as a great departure from Jim?
JK: I think that it’s a departure. I don’t know how great it is as far as how big it is. I mean, he’s still playing a nice guy and he’s still playing a guy who’s pretty put together. But, to me, the fun thing about it was to be in an ensemble like this and get to play around on my summer break. Also, it was really nice, like I said, to be part of a romantic comedy that was a little dirtier. So, for my character to be, it was nice to have a character in a movie that was actually saying “This is completely insane and what you’re doing is not only wrong, but it’s morally wrong. It’s not going to satisfy you in any way, shape or form.” And then, he sort of evolves his position and says “Listen, it’s going to be very hard. It’s going to be bad and a lot of people are going to get hurt. If you’re willing to take those consequences, there’s no point in not going for it.” And so, that sort of version of truth was really interesting to me because I think Emily in her book really captured something real. I think that’s why the books are so popular is that you can find yourself in them. As Ginny said, “I’m not a huge Chiclet fan. I didn’t even know that there was a division called Chiclet.” But so, for me, that was the fun part. It was a really good time and I think that when you’re part of a movie that allows you to analyze yourself somehow and come out because it’s always fun to see who people relate to or who you think they should relate to and they have no idea that they’re like those people.
GG: Oh my God, just like on a side note, I based a character in a movie on one of my best girlfriends and it was portrayed as such that when her executive friends all saw the movie, they called her and said oh my God, Ginny is clearly playing you in this movie. And to this day, she is positive that it was a prank we were all playing because there is absolutely no way that she is seen as this character. She was so offended.
JK: What’s her name? I’ll call her today and really hammer it home.
GG: She rubs it in my face all the time as if it was some really funny prank I was pulling.
Q: John, your character went to great lengths to ward off a girl’s advances, have you ever done anything like that in real life?
JK: I have. I don’t know why I thought of this yesterday. It’s embarrassing, but now that it’s out there, I might as well continue with the story.
GG: Run with it!
GG: I can’t wait until she reads it.
JK: She won’t remember. I was never one to be advanced upon all that often but when I was, it’s sort of a combination of morals. I mean, how you feel and I always got really nervous. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that I didn’t like this person, it was that I was too nervous. But I did feign ill at a bar and it was within the first 15 seconds of conversation where I’d jumped ahead to what this might lead to and I wasn’t ready for that. I’m sure the girl was probably just saying “Would you like a beverage?” and I was like “And then it’s going to be three weeks from now and we’re going to be wondering where to go to eat! And it’s going to be a major division in our relationship.” So she probably got the better end of the stick on that one because she didn’t get the crazy guy. I feigned ill and left the bar but the problem was my friend who had driven to the bar didn’t want to leave so I walked home. It took me about an hour and a half.
GG: You could’ve just been like “I have to go to the bathroom” or something and just not gone back to that end of the bar. I love that you were like this requires my walking home.
JK: But then she could’ve come to that end of the bar and said “You’re just a jerk!” Right now she sees me as a guy with a stomach ?? rather than a jerk.
GG: Until she reads the story.
Q: Kate’s character is particularly acerbic. Do you know anyone like that? Have you had to avoid anybody like that?
JK: That’s one of the great archetypes in life, right? I mean, there’s that person who is just incredibly present and forceful. There are people who have that force behind them and it’s done so delicately that it’s a wonderful attribute, and then there are a lot of people who are just straight up bombastic, loud and kind of pushy, and there’s no smooth edges there. They just keep bumping up against things and I feel like that presence is present in a lot of friendship groups.
GG: There usually is one.
JK: Again, they probably won’t know it’s them.
GG: Or they refuse to believe. Nobody wants to be the Darcy.
GG: Everybody thinks that she’s Rachel.
JK: Not to get totally nerdy, but it’s almost social physics that you need someone like that to bump against all the other characters to move them and do things.
GG: Keep everything moving around. But what is that quality? In fact, I had a best friend for years who was so much like Darcy and that person thought that they were in my life to be some voice of reason, to be the reality checker, but really that person was always just knocking me down to make that person feel better.
JK: Again, total theory that can be disproven immediately, but I feel like a lot of times if no one else is going to take the reins as leader, I guess I will? And then they feed off of that and become that person.
GG: Test boundaries like a child.
JK: Even though no one voted for it.
Q: What are your thoughts on the dynamic of a girl and a guy being just friends because it seems there’s always one that’s attracted to the other like with your characters.
GG: I don’t think that there’s necessarily always one that’s attracted to the other. I thought that in more situations there would be a “When Harry Met Sally” when I was younger. But I do have platonic friendships that I’m confident really are platonic but I think part of that is because we establish early on that that window is closed. Because you do have to acknowledge that imbalances…
JK: Yes, there’s very little room for gray area in the beginning because you can kind of feel that change even in a moment. And when you do feel that change, it’s best to address it – whether it’s a look that lasted too long or you’re at a much nicer restaurant than you thought you’d be at on a friend’s night.
Q: Do you think it also changes as you get older and you’re more settled down?
GG: Oh absolutely. Honestly, some of my better friendships with males have begun when we were both seeing other people and then we can stay in that world.
JK: One hundred percent, yeah. I also think there’s something about, you know, you were talking about your 30s as this big time of potential crisis but really it is the first check-in and it’s the first time you realize you’re an adult and so, like Ginny was saying, you can’t write things off anymore. You can’t just say “Oh, I was just out of college.” And in that same way, you don’t have the friends that allow you to just experiment and fall into things and “Wasn’t that a dark time in our lives?!” It’s more adult. It’s more taking responsibility for things. So, as far as the friendship version of having any love interest, it’s like you should hopefully be able to take the reins and be responsible about it. And relationships, that’s a totally different thing. I think that at any age, weirdly the allure of relationships and love in general is that it’s a little dangerous no matter where you are in your life. That’s one thing that I think becoming an adult doesn’t change.
GG: Sure. But you do recognize as an adult that everything is a choice.
JK: That’s right. Smart!
GG: And that even opening that window is a choice. Opening yourself up to those situations is a choice.
Q: Was Hilary Swank a very present producer? Was she around at all during this process?
GG: She was around. I mean, she was definitely more behind the scenes and this was more Molly Smith’s baby but Hilary was on set. I mean, not every day because she was also working on something else, but she was watching dailies and talking to us about where we were and where our characters were and what we needed as creative people and provided for that.
JK: Yeah, I think her physical presence was less important than what we had heard about the beginnings of the process, that when she got interested in this project, she shot it out of a gun. She wanted to make sure that it was taken care of and the right people were cast and the right script came together and so her enthusiasm permeated through every page of the script and definitely our confidence levels. She made a point of letting all of us know how she felt about us being in the movie. She wasn’t psyched about me being in the movie and she was very psyched about you.
GG: This is true. She would come to set and touch base with us and make sure that everyone felt that everything was on track and give us feedback.
JK: Totally. And that experience was a very unique experience to have. I think that when you have a producer that’s a good producer, it’s one thing. But to have a producer that’s actually been there and is asking you if the relationships on set are okay, rather than asking about things like how’s your trailer.
GG: And she’s also such a brilliant actress that it’s nice to be able to bounce ideas off of her and trust her good judgment.
Q: What did you think about going into a movie where you’re having an affair with your best friend’s fiancé?
GG: Oh, I can’t justify it in any way, shape or form which was a huge part of me taking it. I was inspired by the challenge of trying to find sympathy for her from the audience because I did not sympathize with her. I think that she made the wrong choice at just about every turn. And I’m happy that the character finds herself and learns how to ask for what she wants and then ultimately finds the self worth that enables her to be with her true love. But I just think that every decision she made was piss poor and she’s not loyal and she’s not a good friend. She’s a real coward. I was really excited about and loved trying to empathize with someone I judged so harshly. I don’t think that this is an example of a good friend in any way.
Q: Do you think it would have been too easy for her to end up with your character?
GG: I think that was the point of having Ethan fall for Rachel was to show that she does have these very strong and genuine and pure feelings for Dex and that she is going to be true to that even if she can’t be with him, that she is not going to be with someone for the sake of being with someone. But, from the outside, I just think that Rachel and Ethan are a much better couple and I don’t really understand the choice not to go there but that’s to ask the writer. It had nothing to do with us.
Q: Did you have a lot of direct input into the evolution of the script and your characters?
GG: We had direct input in how our characters expressed themselves. I’m sure John did a lot of the writing of the better lines in the film. We certainly fought to have moments put in and things shifted in ways that I was very happy that everyone collaborated with us.
JK: I think in stories like this where you are telling the real version of it, you have to be a little tighter in how the bridges are connecting, and if you lose one of those bridges, then you sort of betray the characters in the movie. So I know that we all worked through that together in the very beginning stages of which parts need to be tightened, otherwise we’re going to give up on Rachel, or Darcy is too much and it’s so easy to see her as the worst choice. So those finesses had to be done really, really well. Luckily Molly facilitated that better than anybody. Molly is really the champion and the real person behind this whole thing. Those decisions were essential and needed to be done whether it was going to be the cast or other producers. Somebody had to go through and bring fresh eyes to all that so they involved all of us which was great.
Q: And you threw in a lot of jokes?
JK: They let me play around with it a little bit.
GG: Yes, the things that you laughed at, John wrote.
JK: That’s crazy.
GG: You can pay me later.
JK: It was fun.
Q: Ginnifer, how did you get along with Kate in real life considering that you’re playing best friends?
GG: Gangbusters! We met, she’s a girl’s girl and I’m a girl’s girl. She’s not competitive which I find to be very unusual amongst actresses. I’m not competitive so I don’t have a lot of actress friends. She’s a good one. She’s as fun, vivacious and free spirited as you think she is. She does not share those negative qualities of Darcy’s. Those were a stretch for her. She was the best partner to have in this, for sure.
JK: It’s also one of those things that when you have someone of that stature in the industry, weight can be thrown around a couple of different ways and she was always the standard of professionalism on days that were long, on days that were hot, or days that were windy, whatever the thing was that everybody knew was the thing that was going to break everybody’s back if someone brought it up.
GG: Sixty paparazzi on the beach?
JK: Yup, sixty paparazzi on the beach. She would never allow herself to even get a little frustrated. She understands what it is to be in that position and that people are looking up to you and I thought that that was incredible.
“Something Borrowed” opens in theaters on May 6th.