Tully: Interview with Star Charlize Theron

Interview with Charlize Theron, star of Tully, directed by Jason Reitman and written by Diablo Cody.

Losing It

Charlize Theron: I lose it all the time. I really mean it, and there’s a person in the room that will attest to it, because I am always like there’s nobody here, no, it’s tomorrow. My mornings are crazy because my oldest now takes the bus to school, very independent, but it means that I have to get two kids ready before ten to seven. So every morning at 5:45 that alarm goes off and I just want to hang myself. And there’s nothing to it, it’s sweatpants and a sweatshirt and Birkenstocks and sometimes I don’t even get time to brush my teeth. And then I am just getting them ready and trying to get breakfast and lunchboxes and every morning is like we are going to go, we are going to miss the bus! And every morning, a block away from the bus, I say to them I think we missed the bus. And we didn’t, it’s okay. But I also love it. At seven-thirty I am done with all my drop-offs, and I live for it, I love it. I love that I go to bed at 8:45 and I am exhausted and I wake up with my children and I get to hang with them in the morning and it really is what my life is now.


CT: It’s been really great to have fathers talk to me. I heard a story about somebody’s gynecologist who ended up in a screening and I got the story back that he works with women, so you thought he would understand it, and he literally was like you know what, I don’t think I really empathize with what my wife went through, and I work in the field. And I think it’s also society, I think women are supposed to, society makes us think that we have to be something that, it’s just impossible to keep up. And I think there’s something great about whenever your partner can kind of see that and just acknowledge it, I think it really just is what it is and you can’t make it better for them, but I think just acknowledging it is the biggest part of it. I have seen, for me it was a little bit different because I didn’t go through pregnancies and I didn’t have post-partum, but I have a lot of friends who went through that, close friends and friends that I knew for ten, fifteen years prior to them having kids. And two of them especially really struggled with not knowing who they were anymore. And one friend of mine said, I worry that the thing that made me special before my kids, now isn’t there anymore, so I don’t know what makes me special. Is it just being a mom? And I think it’s guilt too, because you think that is all you should be and if you are not, then you are a terrible parent. It’s not all about your kids and you are a terrible parent. And when you get to that place where you realize oh I get to still be me and that is good for my kids, that is a beautiful place to be. But a lot of parents don’t get that for the first couple of years.

Being Single Mother

CT: My children go to school and I have those hours, and I really live my life. And I get to go to the office and I get to work and I get to develop projects and I feel like that’s me. And this morning they had a little moment of where are you going, and they were sad and I am like, I am going to work. And they were like no, don’t go. And I was like nope, mom is going to work. That’s what I get to do. And I think for me, when I was growing up, that was something that left a mark on me, watching my mom wake up in the morning and going to work and being this trailblazer. That always stuck with me as a young girl. So I want my kids to have that too and I am doing that. I try to find a balance and I realize that when I am working too much and then I try to pull back and I think like every single parent out there, or any parent out there, you are just always trying to find the balance.

Being Patient

CT: I always say that patience is the thing that’s come to me in spades since being a parent, cause I don’t think I was that patient before. And I never allowed myself to that patient with strangers. But now I am like oh I have these little creatures and I have to, I have to be. And they do push you, cause they just don’t quite know what that barrier is and they will go with it. And so like every parent, you just have days where it’s like, I have incredible, I call them “my village,” I am raising my beautiful children with this incredible village. And they have these incredible women in their lives and incredible men in their lives and some of them are some of my best friends. And then I also have my Tully, which is my mom. And there are days where they show up at my door, and I am like, how did you know, because I just need you to take them for two hours, can you just get them out of the house for two hours? And those people are so important to me, because I don’t think you can be a great mother without taking those breaks and having people in your life knowing you need those breaks, cause nobody can do it all the time, or do it well all the time. And I am terrible without sleep, I ended up with two of my kids in my bed last night. And one was horribly sick and I am on the corner with no blanket and I am freezing and I just don’t want to wake up because it’s a whole other thing. But then at the same time, it’s such an incredible thing that I have that. And I was coming out of the bathroom as I was leaving and I see these two little bodies and I was like I am so blessed. But yeah, I will probably say something really stupid today, because I slept four hours.

Director Jason Reitman

CT: The script came to me through Jason Reitman. I think I just ran into him and he said I have our next project. And I love working with him so much that I literally said okay. And I think he said it was the story of a mom having her third kid and that was it. And then I knew there would be something interesting there. But I would be honest, I wasn’t like oh, that sounds amazing. I was like okay. And then when I read it, Diablo did something with the material that you think you know, and you think this feels like a subject matter that feels familiar, and she really presented it on the page as something that wasn’t familiar. And I think that is what resonated with me and felt really honest and really truthful. And I related not just through my own experiences but through my other friends who had kids and what they experienced. I thought it was funny and I thought it was a story that wasn’t just for parents, that’s what I liked about it too and it feels like a standalone movie, and not just for a specific audience, it feels like something that anybody can enjoy, because there’s a lot of comedy and a lot of that hardship and pain.

Role of Father-Husband

CT: I think that obviously my character Marlo isn’t every woman, and her husband isn’t either and I think it’s this story and these people so you enjoy watching them go through it. But I don’t think, I know when you make a movie you are trying to say everybody is this right? So there was something beautiful, because it’s always hard when you have a story that is kind of being driven by one character when you have to kind of play this partnership, but the movie isn’t really about that, right? This movie is really about her solo journey in her head and what she is going through, but then how do you keep this husband alive? And then what tends to happen is that character turns into a bad husband or a husband that is cheating. And that just felt so easy and we wanted to make it very clear that he is not a bad guy and that she is not not in love with him and it’s not as simple as that. She wants to be in this relationship but time just kind of had eaten away at that relationship. And I do think on different levels, different degrees, I do think kids will rob a relationship sometimes, especially three. And when it gets to that place where it’s so overwhelming, the relationship that suffers is that of the couple, because everything kind of goes to the kids. And so I was so impressed with Ron, because that is really a difficult character to walk into, and to also have a guy be okay with that. A lot of male actors are not okay with that, they want to be the super dad. And Ron and I actually, our kids go to the same school, so we knew each other a little bit. And now it’s strange, I see them dropped off and I go, hey husband! Movie husband. And he is a completely different father in his kids’ lives too, but I think the circumstances of where this family finds themselves, and they are not living with affluence and they are not living with great resources or access to great resources to kind of help them out, they are economically having a tough time, he has to work. And the human condition of him kind of taking advantage of that, getting out of the house, it’s a very human thing to watch. And then to come home and just want to get on a videogame, I mean I never watched the movie and went oh God, I get that. I get that. I even sometimes come home and are like God, I would love to just sit and watch ‘Judge Judy’ right now.