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Tribeca: Amy Morton and John Slattery On Shooting 'Bluebird' in Maine For What Felt Like a Decade

By Mark Lukenbill | Indiewire April 23, 2013 at 11:10AM

Writer/director Lance Edmand's "Bluebird" was one of the first films to premiere at Tribeca this year, and received a warm response for its stunning cinematography from star indie DP Jody Lee Lipes ("Martha Marcy May Marlene" and fantastic turns from a great group of actors. Leading the ensemble is Steppenwolf theater vet Amy Morton, perhaps best known on screen for playing George Clooney's sister in "Up in the Air." Here she has the daunting task of playing a school bus driver whose moment of distraction lands a small child in the hospital. The Tony nominee pulls off the role with gut-wrenching results, making her one of our ten actors to watch at the festival.

Bluebird, John Slattery, Emily Meade

How long was the shoot?

AM: A couple of weeks.

JS: A month.

AM: It felt like we were up there longer. Like a year.

JS: Ten years.

I ask because, John, I'm assuming you don't really have that much time in between "Mad Men" shoots to take on other film projects. Does that kind of inform your selectivity in the taking these smaller, indie films or is that just something that you're naturally drawn to?

JS: I'm drawn to it. But I don't want to spend too much time away from my family and I have this obligation that I have had for the last few years. So yeah, that leaves you a certain amount of time to work, if you want, and it takes something like this that's really good or that I connect with to make me want to go.

Right, so it's a sign of the strength of the script that instead of going on vacation or taking a job in some tropical place you went to a small, freezing town in northern Maine.

JS: Yeah, that definitely ran through my head, like, how did I get here? What the hell was I thinking? For a minute. But yeah, that's how good I thought the script was.

And it's certainly a chance to get away from wearing suits for days on end. It's the polar opposite of that.

JS: Yeah. That's definitely part of it.

I think there is kind of a similarity in character between Richard and Roger [Sterling, from "Mad Men"] that comes out later in the movie, that while he's this gruff, more serious guy who's trying to do the right thing, there's a scene that kind of implies some infidelity, and that he's kind of a goof. He tells a joke that's such, like, a dad joke and Roger Sterling is the king of dad jokes. Are you drawn to characters that kind of have that moral gray area, that conflict?

JS: No, I didn't really think of it that way.

I guess that kind of sounds like a nice way to ask if you're drawn to playing assholes.

JS: You know, there's a lot more of that story that goes with the scene that you're talking about.

AM: Yeah, that all got cut out.

JS: It didn't inform the main story, Leslie going through what she's going through so it was cut out. But I didn't think of it in terms of that the guy's an asshole because he does this or that. You know, it's a difficult situation. They've been married for a long time. I think it was interesting the way it ended up being handled. All of a sudden you get from very little that something may or may not have happened and it's a really awkward moment.

Yeah, I think that scene is very effective in what it implies, especially given that he is trying to do the right thing for the entire film. Lastly, just because it's such a rare pleasure seeing you guys in features I wanted to ask if you had anything else coming up.

AM: I'm going to do a workshop of a play I'm directing next year at Steppenwolf.

JS: I'm going to direct a movie. But that's a big secret. No, it's not a big secret but it's just not put together fully yet so we can talk about that later.

This article is related to: Interviews, Tribeca Film Festival, John Slattery, Amy Morton, Bluebird

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