After Sunday's Los Angeles premiere of the new animated film "RIO", actress Leslie Mann took time out of her crazy day to chat about the film, her upcoming projects, and parenting her two wonderful daughters Maude, 13, and Iris, 8, with her husband Judd Apatow.
Mumtastic was given the incredible opportunity to attend the premiere of "RIO" this past weekend and, as if that wasn't a big enough treat, we were also part of a group of 11 amazing mum bloggers who were invited to interview Leslie after the big event. I was thrilled to find that she was just as warm and funny in person as I had hoped – there was nothing "forced" or "rehearsed" about her, she was so real and down-to-earth and shared some great tidbits with us.
Leslie, who has starred in movies like "Knocked Up", "George of the Jungle", and "17 Again", is voicing the character of Linda in the animated film "RIO", which hits theatres on Friday. She met up with us and talked candidly about working on the film, parenting her two girls, her struggle with postnatal depression, and her upcoming project.
Question: Can you tell us a little bit about the film, as in how it worked with the filming? Were you by yourself or did you run lines with other cast members? (she co-stars with Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, George Lopez, Jake T. Austin, and more)
Leslie: Well, what I do is, I go into a room with Carlos, the director, who's a sweetheart. Oh, he's so sweet–and just read lines with him throughout the process. A long process! Over and over and over again. Each session would be for about four hours, and we would read the same lines numerous times. And then, toward the end, we would read against the picture after everything was animated. And that was the really fun part So, it’s funny because in the beginning, I’m thinking–I'm going to work, I'll try to look nice, and then after the first few sessions, I was showing up in sweats and Ugg boots. It was definitely an easy, fun job.
Question: Aside from recording with Carlos [the director], did you ever get a chance to work face to face with the other actors?
Question: Did you wish they had a few of you together at some points? Was that a hindrance?
Leslie: Well, I can’t say. I've never done it any other way, so I don’t know how it feels using another process. I'm going to do another animated movie called "Paranorman" with the team who created "Coraline", and Jeff Garland is my husband in the film. And coincidentally, we're going to voice it together. So, that'll be fun.
I don't know that it would have been any different with Rodrigo or Carlos. Carlos is really fun to work with, and work off of.
Question: How far do you go in terms of details to prepare your character, for example, Linda is from Minnesota, so what else did they tell you about her?
Leslie (laughing): Yes, well I tried at least! I researched a little bit in the beginning about the Minnesota accent however, I'm terrible with accents. I “tried” to do it right in the beginning. And the team said, 'um, no don't do that, just do your regular accent.'
Question: How do you feel about your children becoming actors?
Leslie: Well, I at first I say no. But of course they can do what they want. We are about to do another movie together, all of us, in June.
Leslie then shared with us the roller coaster ride of raising a tween daughter:
The 13 year old is now a little more outspoken. It's weird & new. She has no problem freaking out in the middle of a restaurant or wherever, crowded restaurant, screaming and crying. But then, she's so sweet the next second. Like, she'll turn around and be so loving. It's the hormones. You can't get mad at them because they can't help it. You just have to let it go because that's also how they learn to handle conflict and I think how you handle them can really help the situation.
Question: So with that being said, how do you keep them grounded growing up in Hollywood, the events, the movie sets, etc.?
Leslie: I think they are used to it and they really have a very normal life. They just see this as our job.
Question: Do you find it hard as a working mum balancing your family & your career?
Leslie: Yes, it is hard. It was really hard in the beginning when I first became pregnant it was just such a shocker. I was depressed for about five years, And I don't know if I really had postnatal depression because back then no one would talk about it. I went to therapists who tried to prescribe me medication, but it didn't work. I’d say it went on until I was three months pregnant with my second daughter, I was feeling pretty bad. And then, it just lifted. And I remember thinking, 'is this going happen again with my second one?' But it didn't and it hasn't yet.
Question: Tell us one of your favourite things about being a mom?
Leslie: My eight year old loves to cuddle with me. She’s always holding my hand. All day, she’ll catch up to me and hold my hand. She's just really sweet and cuddly and I love that.
Question: Have you had to deal with any teen struggles yet? Arguing over makeup, clothing choices, etc?
Leslie: My 13 year old is embarrassed of some of the clothes that I wear. She is super conservative and she loves '50s music, I don't know where it came from, but I’m glad.
Question: Does your daughter talk about getting into the acting business?
Leslie: No she doesn’t. But she's a really good singer. But it doesn’t seem like she wants to pursue it. We’ve had her in musical theatre for a long time, and she doesn't want to do it any more.
Question: Do you guys have pets, or seeing this movie, they want to get a bird?
Leslie: Oh yeah, we've had birds, about four of them through the years. We also have a bunny, Coco. And we have two dogs, Curly and Cookie.
Question: Do you have any good parenting advice?
Leslie: Good parenting advice? Hmm, I don’t know, I feel like I'm just learning. Sometimes, I’m just winging it. It changes from day to day.
Question: Have you ever gotten really bad parenting advice, like somebody was just maybe off?
Leslie: Once, I was on a plane with my daughter Maude. She was screaming and screaming for a very long time. And someone came up to me said, if you just take a little shiny thing and put it in front of her face it will calm her down. And I just wanted to you know what! I just wanted to hand her the screaming kid! In a situation like that, I would go in the bathroom just to give the passengers a break, you know. I had one of my children– I think it was Iris, who puked on the guy next to me. Yeah, that was a moment. And the guy didn't get mad, though.
Question: Worst parenting moment?
Leslie: Letting my 13 year old daughter watch four seasons of South Park while we were in Hawaii. That's pretty bad. And we watched it together and the show is not the best content for her age.
Question: Do you have one beauty tip to share? Because you have to look good very often in your line of work, but I know your life must be as chaotic as any of ours.
Leslie: Well, from when Maude was born until Iris was five, I have to admit that I didn't work much to look good. I just didn’t care and yes, I looked really bad. But then I started to get it together because I decided that I wanted to start working more. And most importantly I started exercising. That helps. And then, there's a clay mask that I use, I actually used it today. It's called Aztec Clay, and you can get it at Whole Foods. And you mix it with apple cider and vinegar. It’s awesome and will give you a nice healthy glow. Oh well, it burns your face a bit. You apply it and it will burn, but it makes your skin really tight & clear. I only use it before I have a work event. It helps when I wake up with big creases in my face, a blemish, whatever. It's called like Aztec Clay. It's about $5 at Whole Foods.
Question: Did you ever have an identity crisis after having your children?
Leslie: Yes, that was part of my experience with the depression. I didn't know who I was or what I was doing. It took me a really long time to figure out how to be this new person. But, eventually I did, and everything is good now.
Question: Was your husband helpful when you were in that difficult place?
Leslie: He was–he is very good. He's good in that he stayed home for a couple of months when we had both of our kids. But, I think he probably was going through his own little crisis, you know?
Question: Any parenting items that you can't live without?
Leslie: Palmers coco butter. I put it all over my stomach while I was pregnant, and then my butt and my thighs got stretch marks! (laughs) So, now my stomach looks great, and then my butt and thighs are shot. But, that works!
Question: Besides acting, what are you really good at, and what are you really poor at?
Leslie: I'm an okay cook. I've been cooking more lately. Some days are better than others. And I’d say I am athletic. I can do back flips on the trampoline and ski. But skiing is not my favourite activity. We actually went skiing this winter. It's hard with the kids, all the equipment and the cold.
Question: Do you have a “Golden Rule” that you follow as far as parenting goes?
Leslie: I listen to them, and I am kind most of the time.
Question: Do you schedule projects around your children’s school schedule?
Leslie: We do. We scheduled this next movie so that we're all free in the summer.
*Keep an eye out for more coverage of the event, including "blue" carpet photos and a spoiler-free review of the film.
Photos by Wenn.com