Bruce Beresford’s “Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding” is a transgenerational family comedy anchored by performances from Catherine Keener, Elizabeth Olsen and Jane Fonda, who plays a weed-dealing, free-love advocate. With its crowd-pleasing humor and broad appeal (especially for moviegoers in Fonda’s demographic), the film could very well take up with older audiences where “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” will leave off. “Peace, Love & Misunderstanding” is released today through IFC Films.
Indiewire recently sat in on a roundtable with Keener and her on-screen love interest Jeffrey Dean Morgan, during which they parsed the Woodstock vibe and evaluated Fonda’s hippie credentials.
On shooting in Woodstock…
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: Catherine had a killer house.
Catherine Keener: I did, for some reason.
Morgan: You got way the best house.
Keener: Even Jane was like, you’ve got the best house
Morgan: And Jane moved like six times.
Keener: She did. I did get, for some reason, a really cool house. It was all the stuff you’d want in a house for the summer while you’re filming.
Morgan: Clothes are optional in Woodstock. I think that the protest stuff and the party at Jane’s were really populated with Woodstock locals. I think they bring an authenticity to that. That’s kind of who they are, which is awesome. There’s a lot of love in those people, more so than in other people you meet. I think people live in Woodstock…
Keener: …for those reasons.
Morgan: That’s exactly right. They have either lived there their whole life, or they moved there to be part of that Woodstock vibe. What you see is what you get. Working with them is great. We spent a lot of time laughing, and having such a great time, on this movie. The movie was really set by Bruce and Jane. But it’s sort of infectious, and a lot of that has to do with the locals in the movie, too.
Keener: There are generalizations about people who come from New York who have this perception of Californians, and people like me, who have a perception of people from Woodstock. When you get there, it might be true, but it’s not so much the stereotype that’s in your head. It’s actually kind of wonderful that that really exists. It was actually nice that all that stuff in my head was unfounded.
On working with Elizabeth Olsen on her first film, and what they see in her future…
Keener: I see what’s happening, which is all great things. I think it shows that she’s a great, great person.
Morgan: It’s the first time I had ever done a table read in my life. I called my agent, and said, there’s this little girl, Lizzie Olsen, and you have to sign her right now. I never talk to my agents, so they probably thought that I was lying. (laughs)
Keener: She’s good, you can see it. I think the valley took us all on this trip.
Morgan: We all kind of liked each other. I think Claude (Dal Farra, of BCDF Productions) put together a great group of people with Bruce, and put us in an environment where they could do their thing. It was safe for all of us.
On what Jane Fonda represents and favorite performances…
Keener: Yeah, ‘Klute,’ obviously, all of them. ‘They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?’ I know all her movies. For me, she was this European actress who was American. She didn’t have this mindset that was narrowly fed from our country. As an actress and an American, she had a scope that was different from other actresses from the States. She’s unique, and had a lot of things to say. She said them, and I respected that. She speaks from her heart and has since I’ve been aware of her. She’s a feminist, and a lot of things that I respect in a person and as an actress, and I look up to her. She’s gorgeous and amazing.
On whether they have any hippie sensibilities…
Morgan: Jane does, certainly.
Keener: She wouldn’t say that she’s a hippie. I think she’s coming late to the party. She enjoyed the part because of that. She enjoyed learning. There were a lot of people with music, and she was taking it all in, loving it. She had a good time, we all had a good time. But I think the part really allowed her to broaden her horizons. But she’s a tremendous person.