FILM: Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
CAST: Rooney Mara, Ben Foster, Casey Affleck
DIRECTOR: David Lowery
Bob Muldoon (Casey Affleck) and Ruth Guthrie (Rooney Mara), an impassioned young outlaw couple on an extended crime spree, are finally apprehended by lawmen after a shootout in the Texas hills. Although Ruth wounds a local officer, Bob takes the blame. But four years later, Bob escapes from prison and sets out to find Ruth and their daughter, born during his incarceration. Set against the backdrop of 1970’s Texas Hill Country, director David Lowery paints a poetic picture, evoking the mythology of westerns.
“I had in mind a thrilling, bare-bones American chase movie, and I figured a guy breaking out of jail would be a pretty good way to kick a story like that off. And it was – but almost immediately upon his escape, the whole action part began to fall away; as per my wont, I found myself more interested in the aftermath, the repercussions, the spaces in between,” says Lowery.
“Also, people die a lot in action films, and every time I tried to write a death scene, even for an extraneous unnamed bad guy in a shootout, I’d feel guilty and start wondering who that person was that got them to that point. These misgivings were more interesting to me, so I just started focusing on them. At the same time, little tendrils of personal relevance began to worm their way into the story. I was falling in love and getting ready to make some big choices in my life, and the script began to reflect that. The duelling notions of romance and responsibility became an important part of the story.”
Reflecting on the casting process, Lowery declares that he didn’t write the script with anyone in mind. “That can be both a good and bad things,” says the director.
“When we had the opportunity to start casting, I was especially excited about folks who I felt could disappear into the texture of the film, who wouldn’t feel too modern. Rooney, Ben (Foster) and Casey were all my first choices, simple as that.
“I always said that I wanted the audience to feel like they’ve just heard an old folk song that they’d never heard before. Some old ballad or piece of folklore that someone like Bob Dylan might have done a cover of,” adds Lowery.
Carly Whitten (Cameron Diaz) is a tough-as-nails New York lawyer with a strict set of rules when it comes to men and relationships. When she meets Mark King (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), she lets her guard down and begins to fall for him. A spontaneous, surprise visit to King’s Connecticut home goes awry when Carly discovers that Mark has a wife, Kate (Leslie Mann). A devoted super-housewife, Kate is shocked that Mark has been cheating on her, and Carly is furious to learn that Mark is a married man.
But instead of directing their outrage toward one another, Carly and Kate slowly begin to bond over their joint enemy, and, with help from Amber (Kate Upton), a third woman caught up in Mark’s lies, they conspire to give him what he deserves. As their strategies become more ingenious, their bond grows stronger.
‘The Other Woman’ balances its broad comedy and emotional moments with a bit of fantasy and high glamour – or as director Nick Cassavetes dubs it, the film is “candy-dipped.” In addition to the costumes by Patricia Field and her team of chic New York stylists, the film was lucky to have acclaimed French cinematographer Robert Fraisse on board.
Producer Julie Yorn had long been looking for a comedic vehicle for a strong female duo or ensemble, when she latched on to an idea by screenwriter Melissa K. Stack. Yorn explains why Stack was the right person for the job: “Melissa had such a dry perspective and such intelligence, and we fell in love with her. I can count on one hand how many times this happens, but we got the first thirty pages of Melissa’s script and I said, ‘We’re making this movie.’
With a script in place, Yorn began searching for a director, and found her man in Nick Cassavetes, who had earned praise for helming ‘The Notebook’ and ‘Unhook the Stars’, both of which had memorable female roles. When Cassavetes read the script for ‘The Other Woman’ he said, “I have a strong mother, daughters and sisters. I have a strong connection to women and I really love what this movie says about the power of female relationships.”
For Cassavetes, the immediate attraction to directing ‘The Other Woman’ was its story. As he explains, “In many films, women are portrayed as being competitive and at odds, especially when there’s a man involved. In this story, Carly doesn’t know Mark is married and she immediately backs off when she learns the truth. Kate understands that Carly really wasn’t at fault. But Kate is so wrapped up in how to deal with her big problem, that the sheer force of her character compels Carly to be her friend. As soon as I read the script, I thought that this is a relationship I rarely see, and I wanted to make sure that, if I had an opportunity to make the film, that we made it right.”