“Sometimes I don’t read the directions. I just read the dialogue,” admits Susan Sarandon. “Then I am just flabbergasted by what is happening.”
There was plenty for the 71-year-old to be taken aback by during production on “Bad Moms Christmas,” especially when it came to one particular scene with Justin Hartley’s sexy Santa.
“I was always worried that I might go too far and chew up the scenery and it might have been hard to watch. But I think you can’t give into that. You have to give it your all and not worry about that. Then at the end of a take you’re just like, ‘Really, I fell off a bar dancing with a bunch of guys. Are you serious? Did I just do that? Did I just lick his nipple?’”
Sarandon made sure she was steadfast with her approach to each of these scenes, though, no matter how outrageous they were. Because she was well aware that any worries she transmitted would instantly be apparent, which would in turn make the scene “really uncomfortable for the audience.”
Provoking such a feeling would be a disaster for a film like “Bad Moms Christmas,” the sequel to the surprise feel-good comedy hit of July, 2016, which grossed over $183 million at the box office. Recognizing the need to up-the-ante while staying true to what made the original so popular, the writing and directing team of Jon Lucas and Scott Moore and the trio of leading actresses Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn decided to incorporate the festive season into the follow-up, while also introducing us to Amy, Kiki, and Carla’s mothers.
When Hahn was told she could pick her movie mother Sarandon was her immediate choice. But rather than going the usual route the 44-year-old decided to take the rather adorable approach of writing her idol a letter instead.
“The offer first came in a letter from Kathryn Hahn, begging me to do the part, and saying how much she wanted to work with me. And I am a huge fan of hers,” Sarandon recalled. “I’ve gotten letters before from people asking me to be part of their project, and it is certainly an effective way of doing it. It wouldn’t have been as effective if it weren’t for the fact that I adore Kathryn Hahn’s work.”
“It always astounds me when you have someone like a Melissa McCarthy or a Kathryn Hahn, who does comedy and does it very straight and also has this amazing emotional capacity. They can burst into tears. That’s a very special kind of talent to be able to do that.”
Following Hahn’s letter Sarandon read the script, spoke to the directors, and then just thought, “This will be fun,” especially because so many “great women” were involved.
“I just loved watching the other girls do their thing. It was as much fun to watch as it was to do. Christine Baranski is just fuc***g brilliant, and what Cheryl [Hines] did just grew and grew and grew. I think that’s very, very important. Because the audience can sense it when you’re having a good time, and they are willing to suspend disbelief in some of the most exaggerated plot lines.”
“Let’s face it a lot of this stuff you don’t want to waste time questioning some of the twists and turns of the storytelling. I think when the audience can tell that you’re really enjoying each other that’s part of what makes that possible. And we really did enjoy each other.”
You can see this unbridled enjoyment for yourself when “Bad Moms Christmas” is released on Wednesday November 1st.