Lily Tomlin discusses playing Tina Fey’s mom in ‘Admission’

 

Lily Tomlin plays Tina Fey's feminist mom in "Admission" Credit: Getty Images
Lily Tomlin plays Tina Fey’s feminist mom in “Admission”
Credit: Getty Images

“Admission” is a romantic comedy, not an action movie, so it comes as something of a surprise that one of its stars wanted to advertise their physique with a scene in which they chop wood bare-chested in the forest. Even more surprising? That star was comedy legend Lily Tomlin. “I wanted to be in the woods chopping wood with my shirt off,” Tomlin reveals about her character, a septuagenarian feminist whose adult life has been devoted to activism. “The character has a double mastectomy, and I think, I’ll get a breastplate made like I’ve had a double mastectomy and I’ll tattoo it to show another expression of her empowerment and how she’s completely at ease with herself and accepts her female body.”

Unfortunately, the actress landed the role too late to be able to follow through on her plan. But even without the requisite hardware, she wanted to bare her body onscreen. She reached into her own experiences in order to bare her character’s soul. “I am a feminist, and I lived in those days of the movement,” Tomlin explains. “And I know what it is as a human [to believe] in a certain philosophy or some doctrine — and you do not want to betray it.”

As Susannah, Tomlin plays the mother of Tina Fey’s Princeton admissions officer, Portia, who’s fumbling her way through a romance with an alternative high school principal (Paul Rudd) while simultaneously dealing with the revelation that an applicant just might be her long-lost son. The 73-year-old actress says that she loved the parallels she saw between mother and daughter, particularly since like her daughter’s long-concealed pregnancy, Susannah had Portia under dubious circumstances that she has since reimagined as an emblem of her feminist values.

“My character got pregnant from having sex with a guy she’s attracted to on the train, but she doesn’t want to admit that she was so attracted to this guy that she was vulnerable to him,” Tomlin observes. “So she creates that mythology that she chose him and she was empowered enough to decide when she was going to have a child and who she was going to have it with. And then that mythology isolates her from her daughter most of all.”

Tomlin especially liked that the film possessed so many layers while still managing to deliver on a visceral level. “Aside from the feminist aspect, it’s just a human story about people not being their authentic selves,” she says. “Every one of us was living some kind of inauthenticity.”

“The metaphor of admission, in the course of the movie we all have an admission,” she says, punctuating the film’s title. “I love the slug line: ‘Let someone in.’”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.