FRIENDSGIVING Exclusive Interview With BILLIONS AND WATCHMEN Star Malin Åkerman

FRIENDSGIVING <font color=red>Exclusive</font> Interview With BILLIONS AND WATCHMEN Star Malin Åkerman

We recently caught up with Watchmen star Malin Åkerman to discuss her new movie, Friendsgiving, and she talked about improv, hilarious moments on set, working with Kat Dennings and Jane Seymour, and more!

Malin Åkerman (Billions) stars in Nicol Paone's (Chick Fight) new comedy Friendsgiving, which is available in theaters, on demand, and Digital on October 23rd before its DVD and Blu-ray release on October 27th. It's an absolute riot, and the impressive ensemble also includes Kat Dennings (WandaVision), Chelsea Peretti (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), and Jane Seymour (Smallville). 

In the movie, Abby is looking forward to a laid-back Thanksgiving with her best friend Molly. But the friends' plans for a quiet turkey dinner go up in smoke when they’re joined by Molly’s new boyfriend and her flamboyant mother. Throw in some party crashers including Molly’s old flame, a wannabe shaman, and a trio of Fairy Gay Mothers, and it’s a recipe for a comically chaotic holiday no one will ever forget - even if they wanted to!

We recently spoke to Åkerman about her role in Friendsgiving, and she was kind enough to talk to us about what it was like making the movie, cracking up on set, why Thanksgiving is such a great setting for comedies, what it was like to work with Kat Dennings, and a whole lot more besides. 

You can find her comments about the legacy of Watchmen by clicking here, but in the meantime, we want to extend a huge thank you to Malin for taking a deep dive into her latest project. 
 

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Friendsgiving is a very funny movie, but Molly is dealing with a lot when we meet her, so what was it like for you to balance that comedy with some more dramatic elements? 

It's quite the reflection of life, isn't it? You find the comedy within the drama, and I can relate to that. It was loosely based on mine and Nicol Paone's, the writer and director, experiences through some breakups we had and how we dealt with them. Sometimes, we run and try to use escapism in any way we can to not have to deal with difficult moments, and then we have our time when we decide to dive in and really face everything that's been going on. There were some parallels to real-life experiences, so it was a case of drawing from that a little bit and finding the levity and silver linings in the dark times. It's when you turn and look at your friends and say, 'Wow, look at these amazing friends that I have. How luck am I to have these partnerships around me? I may have lost one, but I've gained ten.' It was playing on all those real-life facets and bringing them into this film.

Director Nicol Paone is no stranger to comedy, of course, but this is her directorial debut, so can you talk a little about your experiences working with her on Friendsgiving

It was great! Nicol and I have known each other for like fifteen years, so to finally get to work together has been amazing. She's been wanting to make a film for forever, and it was so wonderful to be part of this. She did a fantastic job. I bow down to anyone who can write and direct their own film and make it work, and she really nailed it. She was so easy to work with on set, she knows actors so well because she comes from that world, and she left space for creativity. She also knew what she wanted which is what you need as an actor having a director who can direct you and say, 'This is great, but keep it within this realm and tone.' She nailed it. She got everyone and really lifted up everyone's personalities and let them shine in their own way. Getting out of the way sometimes is the best way [Laughs], and she did very well. 

There are some great outtakes in the credits, and it looks like you got to do some improv here, but how important is that sort of freedom to you when you're starring in a comedy like this one? 

Absolutely! I think there can always be some magic that happens when you get to riff and go off book. It can also be detrimental because people can go for hours and you're just wasting a lot of time and getting no material [Laughs]. It was fun because we tried to get what was written. We'd do a few takes with that and then Nicol would say, 'Right, go off and do your thing.' We did and got some really great and funny moments...and then some silly ones which were great for the bloopers at the end of the movie [Laughs]. 

You and Kat Dennings play off each other here brilliantly, but what was that like for you on set bouncing off her comedically? 

Oh, I loved it. I love Kat and I loved working with her. We had such a great time. We are so different, just as Nicol and I are different in so many ways, but it just worked so well. We really hit it off from day one. I love her style of comedy and comedic timing. It's so different than most and she bring so much to a character that's so much more unique than someone else would bring. Having had the privilege to sit in on casting and being on the other side of the camera watching people do their auditions, a lot of them come in and do what is expected of them on the page. Then, you have these unique personalities, like a Kat Dennings, who comes in and does the complete opposite of what you expected. They love it and elevate it in such a way. It was really fun to work with her.
 

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Jane Seymour is considered acting royalty, and she's so funny here, so how was it to star alongside her as Molly's mother? 

It was great. Jane is so game for anything and she got to meet my crazy mom. My mom is Swedish and sometimes comes up with the craziest ideas. I love her for it and it makes life more interesting. Jane took that and ran with it, and did an amazing job. To work with the legendary Jane Seymour wasn't so bad!  

What is it about Thanksgiving that you think makes for such a good setting for great comedies like this one which are, at their core, about friendship? 

I think because it's...it's somewhere in-between. It's not Christmas, which is so family heavy normally, so Thanksgiving is one of those holidays which see some people really celebrate it hard and believe wholeheartedly that they need to be with their families. Then, you have the stragglers. I come from Sweden where we don't have Thanksgiving. We do have it in Canada, but it lends itself to bringing in friendships and something other than family. Everyone loves a good holiday film and something to watch over the holidays, so whether you're escaping your family at the moment to go and watch something that's fun or you're experiencing something similar, I think there are just so many fun and games to be had. That's what's fun about holiday films in general; anything can go wrong at any moment when you gather a bunch of people together and that's personally what I love about weddings. It's not a wedding until your uncle has peed on the floor or peed his pants! It's that kind of vibe where you say, 'This lends itself to some good times.'

When you and the other cast members are riffing on set, were there any scenes, in particular, you really struggled to get through because you were cracking up so much? 

There were two specific days. Chelsea Peretti, when she's yelling at Kat, the amount of times that we had to do that just because we couldn't keep a straight face. Then, the scene with Andrew Santino, and again Chelsea, and he's talking about his haemorrhoids. It was to the point where the cameraman started laughing! That never happens because everyone on the other side of the camera just wants to get through the day and go home. Those were the two moments that stand out to me and they're both such funny people that it was really hard to get through. 

Finally, it was recently International Day of the Girl, and I was wondering what message you would share with young women out there who are looking to follow in your footsteps and enter the acting world? 

I think there's a few things you have to ask yourself. How passionate are you about it, the craft, and why you want to be in it? It's not an easy path to take, but it's definitely worth it if it's something you love and adore and you can't live or breathe without. I think it's important to study acting classes, workshops, and whatever to get that muscle going. It's a muscle that you use, and to start in your hometown and get some work under your belt before coming out to try and do it in Hollywood. It's a big city over here and I think a lot of people make a mistake in wanting to come to Hollywood and make it. You need to have a bit of material and experience to even be able to get representation or get into the room. Find representation in your hometown, get some stuff under your belt, put on some shows, invite casting directors, get creative. There are so many outlets today too. You can make your own show and build it from the ground up. Make sure your passion is in it because there are a lot of people who want to do it, and it's super fun, but hard work. Question yourself at every turn! [Laughs]

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