Leslie Jones & Kate McKinnon: The Ghostbusters Interview
Comedienne Leslie Jones was hired as a writer by Saturday Night Live in 2014 and quickly gained popularity after a memorable on-air appearance during the show’s “Weekend Update” segment. So, she was subsequently officially invited to join SNL‘s ensemble cast during the show’s 40th season.
Earlier this year, Leslie shared the stage with Tracy Morgan, Chris Rock and Whoopi Goldberg in an epic Academy Awards sketch in a montage re-imagining some classic, Oscar-winning films with black actors. Her movie credits include Chris Rock’s Top Five, Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck, and the upcoming Masterminds, co-starring Kate McKinnon and Kristen Wiig.
Currently, Leslie can be seen on TV in an Allstate Insurance commercial that’s in heavy rotation.
Kate McKinnon is also an SNL cast member and has been nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards for her work on the show. Since coming aboard in April 2012, she has entertained viewers with her critically-acclaimed impersonations of Hillary Clinton, Justin Bieber and Ellen DeGeneres.
Kate was recently seen in Sisters opposite Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and as the voices of Wife Fish in Finding Dory and of Stella in The Angry Birds Movie. In December, she’ll co-star opposite Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston in Office Christmas Party.
Here, Jones and McKinnon talk about their new film, Ghostbusters.
Hi Leslie, hi Kate. Thanks for the interview.
Kate McKinnon: [Shouts] Kam! How are you?
Leslie Jones: Hey, Kam.
I’m doing great, and I absolutely loved this film.
KM: Oh, thank you, Kam.
I liked how the movie paid homage to the original and brought back a lot of its cast members while breaking new ground in its own hilarious fashion.
KM: I think that’s what we were trying to do. We’re both huge fans of the original, but it was just too good to just leave it buried, so [director] Paul Feig wanted to put a fresh take on it, and I think we managed to achieve that.
You certainly did. I love Paul’s work. In fact, his movie Bridesmaids was my pick as the #1 film of the year on my Top 100 List for 2011, a rarity for a comedy. And this film ranks right up there with Bridesmaids.
KM: Wow! Thank you. That means a lot, because Bridesmaids is one of my all-time favorites. I think that Paul started something of a mini-revolution when he made that film. And this movie is a continuation of that.
In September, we’re going to see both of you in the movie Masterminds. How did you enjoy making that film?
KM: That was a while ago but, man, did we have fun.
LJ: Ooh! Nashville was great!
KM: Leslie and I went out and ate our weight in chocolates one night.
LJ: There was also a place there that had great shrimp and grits. Oh, it was so good!
KM: And Jared Hess, the director, we love. He’s such a funny guy.
LJ: Yeah, Jared’s funny, and he’s so nice, too.
Back to Ghostbusters. What was the most challenging part of shooting this film?
KM: Was it the stunts?
LJ: Yeah, I would say all the physical stuff. That was challenging, because I think Paul forgot we were comediennes.
KM: No, he remembered. He just forgot to tell us about the stunts. [Both laugh]
How was it different for the two of you to be making a movie together as opposed to doing Saturday Night Live?
KM: What was it like? Well, thank God for Leslie, since we knew each other really well. Being in a movie this big was sort of a new experience for both of us. We would turn to each other frequently and go, “Where are we? What’s happening? Are we messing this up? We must be messing this up?”
KM: She really helped me through the whole experience because it’s daunting to walk onto a set with Kristen [Wiig] and Melissa [McCarthy] who are two of my favorite comediennes of all time, even though they’re also two of the nicest people in the world.
Leslie, what did you channel in order to come up with your character, Patty?
LJ: It wasn’t hard. Paul kind of based a lot of her on my realness and how I like to keep it real. But I enjoyed the historian part of her personality, too, because I got to show another side of myself.
KM: You are a historian in real life. Leslie taught me more about the history of rap than I ever could have imagined. Straight Outta Compton came out while we were filming, and you taught me every single thing about the history of rap.
LJ: Oh, my God! That was such a fun night! We shoved a bottle into the… [Clams up] We probably shouldn’t talk about that part. [Both laugh]
KM: Anyway, you gave me lectures about rap all summer. I took notes on the stuff you taught me.
One thing I really liked about Ghostbusters was how each of the four leads was able to showcase her own distinct brand of humor. I thought that was fabulous.
KM: Thank you. I think Paul really wanted to have no overlap. And I don’t think there was any overlap. This was four different kinds of gals and he just let us do our thing. And we got along really well and it was so much fun.
And what did you channel to come up with your character, Holtzmann?
KM: Oh, honey, that’s just me. I didn’t have to do a lot of work there. I really like science. I try to have a joyful attitude. And often I say weird stuff without meaning to.
What is your favorite dish to cook?
LJ: Ooh, good question! I cook a mean pork chop. Fried pork chops.
KM: I like to throw a paella party. It’s a full event with paella, salad, appetizers and stuff. It’s a full event.
When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
KM: That’s an interesting question. I would hope that I see what I look like, but I’m not sure. [Chuckles]
LJ: I see a crazy person, literally! [Laughs] Someone who’s insane in the membrane. [Laughs some more]
KM: That’s what I see for myself, too, which is why we’re such good buds, right?
LJ: Exactly! Because we respect the craziness.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
LJ: Oh, homey!
KM: She can’t say that for the papers, honey.
LJ: That’s not for publication, baby.
Is there any question no one ever asks that you wish someone would?
LJ: Yeah, no one ever asks me what role do I really want to play.
Okay, what would be your dream role?
LJ: I want to do a biography of Pearl Bailey. I think she’s awesome.
Viola asks: What’s the biggest difference between who you are at home as opposed to the person we see on the red carpet?
KM: I’m a big introvert, I’m very quiet, and I like to sit in silence at home with my cat, Nino, who is my whole world, or most of it. So, that’s different. I don’t know whether you get that or not.
LJ: I am clean when you see me on the red carpet. I’ve washed myself and put on makeup and combed my hair. [Giggles]
Anthony asks: Is there anything that you promised yourself you’d do if you became famous, that you still haven’t done yet?
LJ: Ooh, that’s another good question.
KM: There are a lot of places in the world I’d like to visit, like Laos, but I don’t know whether I’ll ever make it there. I’d love to go to Laos and Kazakhstan and some other places I wouldn’t feel comfortable traveling to alone. But I haven’t found anyone to go with me yet. Maybe soon.
LJ: I’ve always wanted to go somewhere exotic by yacht, but I’ve never done that yet. Sorry.
Finally, what’s in your wallet?
KM: Oh dear, several credit cards, my SAG-AFTRA card, and all of my health insurance cards. You have to bring your health insurance cards with you wherever you go in case of an emergency. What else? Hmm… I never keep cash.
LJ: I just keep my lawyer’s business card, because I’m going to need him. [Laughs]
Hollywood Beauty Salon
Glennfilms / FreshFly
Inspirational Documentary Chronicles Camaraderie Among Mental Health Patients At Philly Beauty Parlor
The Hollywood Beauty Salon is located in Germantown, PA, an area of Northwest Philly founded by settlers from Germany back in 1683. Today, the town is predominantly African-American as are most of the folks you’d meet at this unique establishment.
What makes this hairdresser different is that its patrons and staff members are all in recovery from mental illness and/or dependence on drugs or alcohol. Shot over the course of four years, the movie chronicles the camaraderie among the cosmetologists and clientele, while simultaneously telescoping on the touching life stories of seven of the shop’s regulars.
There’s Rachel “Hollywood” Carr, the proprietor, a single mother of three who battled anxiety, depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder before becoming a Recovery Guide and a Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner. At the salon, she not only serves as a counselor but as a cosmetologist.
Rachel’s protégé “Butterfly,” a recovering schizophrenic, exhibits considerable promise at braiding hair. The optimistic mother of three explains that she picked her nickname because she’s begun to blossom after being in a cocoon marked by depression and paranoia. Still, she misses her murdered big brother and worries about an incarcerated son.
65-year-old Edward, a college grad, recounts how, at 26, his life was derailed when he was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. A classically-trained flautist, he nevertheless holds onto his dream of one day playing with a professional orchestra.
The spa’s second in command is Darlene, a survivor of child abuse who recounts how she was teased mercilessly growing up about her hair, her looks and for being in the foster care system. One of her customers is shown taking delight in being taught to read, while another proudly pronounces, “I am not my symptoms, I am not my diagnosis.”
Hollywood Beauty Salon was directed by Glenn Holsten, who is perhaps best known for another stellar documentary set in Philadelphia, The Barefoot Artist. He’s done it again, here, with this moving collection of poignant personal portraits powerfully illustrating the utter indomitability of the human spirit.
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 88 minutes
OPENING THIS WEEK
For movies opening July 29, 2016
Bad Moms (R for full frontal nudity, pervasive profanity, and drug and alcohol use) Female empowerment comedy about a trio of overstressed, burnt-out supermoms (Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn and Kristen Bell) in need of fun and freedom who embark on a self-indulgent binge of hedonistic partying. Cast includes Christina Applegate, Jada Pinkett Smith, Jay Hernandez and Kesha.
Cafe Society (PG-13 for violence, suggestive material, smoking and a drug reference) Woody Allen romantic dramedy, set in the 1930s, revolving around a New Yorker (Jesse Eisenberg) who relocates to Los Angeles hoping to work for his uncle (Steve Carell), only to fall in love with the powerful Hollywood agent’s secretary (Kristen Stewart). With Sheryl Lee, Jeannie Berlin and Richard Portnow.
Jason Bourne (PG-13 for brief profanity and intense action and violence) Fifth installment in the Robert Ludlum espionage series finds the amnesia-plagued protagonist (Matt Damon) uncovering truths about his past at a time when the planet is plunged into political instability. With Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, Julia Stiles and Ato Essandoh.
Equity (R for pervasive profanity) High finance drama about an investment banker’s (Anna Gunn) attempt to untangle a web of corruption in order to avoid the scandal that threatens to derail her career. With James Purefoy, Sarah Megan Thomas and Alysia Reiner.
Gleason (R for profanity) Uplifting documentary chronicling ex-NFL star Steve Gleason’s inspirational battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Hieronymus Bosch: Touched By The Devil (Unrated) Reverential retrospective revisiting the work of Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516), medieval artist famous for paintings illustrating the struggle between good and evil. (In Dutch, English, Spanish and Italian with subtitles)
Homo Sapiens (Unrated) Unplanned obsolescence documentary highlighting forgotten structures built by human beings and long since abandoned.
Indignation (R for sexuality and profanity) Adaptation of Philip Roth’s coming-of-age novel, set in 1951, revolving around a Jewish kid (Logan Lerman) from Newark, New Jersey’s adjustment to life on the campus of a conservative college in Ohio. With Sarah Gadon, Tracy Letts and Ben Rosenfield.
The Land (Unrated) Coming-of-age saga, set in Cleveland, unfolding over the course of a summer when four teens pursue their dream of becoming professional skateboarders. Co-starring Moises Arias, Rafi Gavron, Jorge Lendeborg, Jr. and Ezri Walker.
Nerve (PG-13 for sexuality, profanity, underage drug and alcohol use, dangerous and risky behavior and teen nudity) Crime thriller about a high school senior (Emma Roberts) who finds herself swept up into a deadly online game of “Truth or Dare.” Cast includes Dave Franco, Juliette Lewis and Kimiko Glenn.
Tallulah (Unrated) Ellen Page plays the title character in this dysfunctional family drama as a homeless babysitter who, against her better judgment, impulsively abducts the neglected infant (Liliana Ellis) in her care. With Tammy Blanchard, Allison Janney, Evan Jonigkeit, Zachary Quinto and Uzo Aduba.
The Tenth Man (Unrated) Prodigal Son drama about a Jew (Alan Sabbagh) who returns to Buenos Aires to reconcile with his estranged father (Usher Barilka) while exploring the cultural traditions that originally alienated them from each other. Support cast includes Julieta Zylberberg, Elvira Onetto and Uriel Rubin. (In Yiddish, Hebrew and Spanish with subtitles)