Maya Rudolph is the shining star in Away We Go. Although she and John Krasinski were beautiful together and the supporting cast was amazing, no one was as subtle, strong, and engaging as Maya in the role of Verona in Sam Mendes new film.
Many of us are used to Maya’s deadly humor from SNL, but in Away We Go, she leaves the jokes to those around her and emerges as one of the most charming and endearing dramatic actresses that we’ve seen on screen in a long time.
Although, during the interview, she definitely wasn’t afraid to joke around and it’s clear that she is not only dangerously funny, but extremely intelligent. Check out what she had to say below…
So how did it happen for you?
Maya Rudolph: I read it a long time ago. I think before anyone was really making it after Dave and Vendela wrote it and–
Did you know them?
Maya: No, I didn’t know them. Someone told me that they wrote it with me in mind, but I didn’t believe them because I didn’t know them. I didn’t know Dave and Vendela before this, and I was a fan. I was kind of blown away, I immediately fell in love with the characters that they wrote, and the story, and the way that they wrote it and so I kind of stalked them for a while, and just tried to get the message that if they ever made this movie, I would love to be a part of it. Once Sam was making it, I tried really hard to get in there and meet him and I did, then I read for him, and I was told that John was attached and that I would have to come read with John. I was like, all right. John Krasinski, I’ll do it. I knew John very preferably; we had mutual friends, but I really liked his work. I walked in the room, you know when I met him, and immediately it was so fun and easy. He’s lovable and fantastic, and like he was saying how much he wanted to do this with me. It was just easy, really easy.
We heard that for six hours, on the first day of shooting, he was under the covers between your legs. He said he was mortified.
Maya: He should have been- that’s a dangerous area. What do you do, when someone that you barely know is down there, and the only thing between you and him is like three pairs of biker shorts. It was really humiliating. It was the first day of work; it could not have gotten more embarrassing. But I think Sam did it on purpose because he wanted us to get to know each other quickly to get it over with. I didn’t have it hanging over my head for like a month. It’s not my usual scene that I am accustomed to doing.
What do you find to be the most enduring part of the Verona that you connect with?
Maya: She’s really easy going, which is what I love. My dad saw the movie and every time I’m like, “god this is bothering me,” he’s like, “channel your inner Verona.” All right hippie dog! But I fell in love with her love for Burt. I feel like Burt’s really alive when he’s with Verona. And I feel like he kind of exist because of her and I love that so much. There was nothing big about it, it wasn’t like the big, romantic, but it was really simple and sweet. The way people complement each other is just very simple. I love that she just accepted him and put up with him at times, and it really wasn’t the big of a deal. He was just special because he was special to her.
How difficult is it to star in a movie when everyday you’re in a pregnant suit that makes you look like you’re in your ninth month?
Maya: Well, the fact that it looked so much better than how I was when I really was in my ninth month was awesome. It was so much lighter, and it was so much easier than being pregnant. It had a waddle and it came naturally. The drag is the get up itself, is a pain in the ass. It’s like an old tiny bathing suit with a zipper in the back and you have to be harnessed in you got to have someone dressing you all the time, and when you have to pee, you have to take the whole damn thing off. I felt like in volute every day, but it was fun to take it off.
How did your impression of John change from the beginning to the end of the film?
Maya: I hated him like more and more- no. I love him so much. I couldn’t imagine making this movie with anybody else, and I can’t imagine somebody who is more interested in our relationship on and off screen, like taking care of each other and making sure were both okay in this because it’s really the two of us who need to do this for each other. He is totally dedicated. He wanted this to be as good as I wanted it to be and he loved it as much as I loved it. We got to create something special together, which just bonded us for life. And he’s just such a good man, and you know, a good person to play guitar her with. He’ll listen to your problems, he’ll eat with you whenever you want; he’s a sweetheart.
Was the beard a problem?
Maya: I loved it. I didn’t know John without his beard; it’s freaking me out. He looks like a baby. He shaved it right after the last day of shooting. The last scene is when where are in Montreal and we are about to get in the car and then he was like, alright, say goodbye to my beard and my hair, and I was like, what do you mean, where’s Burt going. And he shaved his beard and I was like, what are you a child? He looks like 14. Even though I knew who Jim from “The Office” was, I still don’t know that man, he is an importer of my friend Burt.
How did you find your could relate to some of the tragedies in Verona’s life?
I think Verona and I have similarity in terms of like, we lost our parents; I can relate to that exhibit, but I think that she transforms that pain into her life- that’s were her things comes. I think she really just shot off, emotionally from that aspect of her life. I think Burt is the only one that says, “I know you don’t want to get married because of your parents,” but she doesn’t agree or disagree and she never really affirms it she just listens to him. Because I don’t think she knows the answer. I never felt, oh this why she is not doing it. It’s not written. It wasn’t easy for her. She absolutely loved him and these was no question and I think that made there love so much more obvious and stronger in the idea that there are a thousand ways to be together and to show your love. And their love wasn’t going anywhere.
Do you think that is what makes it so unique? Most movies are in preys of conventional marriage and it’s like the dream of so many women in movies to walk down the aisle.
Maya: I heard Vendela talk about it very recently, and she was talking about it, that when they were writing it she had two wishes, which were: she didn’t want them to have a big dramatic break up and have her storm out, and have a montage with some weird music, and she didn’t feel like she had to wrap it up and have them get married. When they were setting out to write a movie, she didn’t want those typical things, whether or not that was like a writing challenge, I don’t know. But I like that it’s not perfect and that it is very similar to the way that life is not the way that it is in movies and I feel like they are really an honest couple. It speaks for itself, if they didn’t love each other, it would be very confusing.
Sam has worked with Kate, of course, professionally after being together for many, many years. Would you and your husband Paul ever work together?
Maya: We did a play together. Paul and I and our friend did a really fun– I don’t know if it was a play, what the hell was it? It was a reading, comedy hour. I was almost like a radio show, but there was no radio and no one was recording it, I don’t really know what it was. It was great; it was at our friend’s theater Largo.
How was the traveling?
Maya: It was nice. It was actually nice to finally get out of Connecticut. So much was shot in Connecticut even though it was not meant to be Connecticut, ever like Connecticut for Colorado and Montreal and Madison, and it was weirdly raining the whole time. We were ready to go. But then we went straight to like Phoenix, which was brutally hot, and painfully hot. It was all outside. I don’t understand how people do it. I would see people outside at midnight, in parking lots, and I was like, what are they all doing, I didn’t know anybody was here. And it was a flea market because they could only do it at night because it was so hot. All the people I talked to were like,” oh it’s great here in the winter.” But what about the summer? What are you doing here? You are going to kill yourself! It was really painfully hot, but then we went to Miami, which was fun for me because I have family there; my dad’s side of the family, everyone lives in Miami. My parents are more like Burt, and they like traveled around looking for a place to live and found this weird hippie college town and settled down and stuff.
So how may takes and how much downtime did you have going on considering it was you, Allison, Catherine– three of the funniest women out there, today?
Maya: We started to get in trouble the day of Catherine O’Hara and Jeff Daniels that was problematic. Because her talking about the fireman coming and when they are saying grace, they had a much longer version of it, where he was saying, “Oh mighty gathered!” I was trying so hard not to laugh and then she started some weird chant, and it was painfully fantastic. That was painful, but we got through it, but then we were completely unprofessional the day of Jim Gaffigan’s rant about the water and mammals and insects and we got in trouble. I laughed the least because I am a good girl, but it was really hard. It was very painful and very difficult.
Did Sam have you do a lot of takes of every scene?
Maya: We did a lot. I remember eating a lot of soup both times. And I think we were up pretty late eating soup, and then we were tired, and I was crying because I was laughing, my eyeballs stung because they were kind of red because I had been laughing, and snot had been coming out of my nose, and I was eating that soup, and I think I actually, technically fell asleep for one second during that scene. I think I was a sleep for like a nano-second. It was mortifying.
What’s next for you?
Maya: A lot of sleep. I am doing a comedy this summer with Adam Sandler and Chris Rock, David Spade and all of those super nice funny guys. It’s going to be awesome.
What is the film?
Maya: It’s a porno– no it’s a comedy. It’s going to be really fun, there is going to be so many great people and Salma Hayek is in it, Maria Bello and like super cool ladies are in it and Colin Quinn, but I go to know Colin off the show, but I feel like i’m related to all of the SNL cast members somehow, even though we weren’t there at the same time. I’m looking forward to having a fun summer.
Do you miss the show?
Maya: Oh yeah, I will always miss it. I love it. It’s my home.
What do you want the audience to take away from this film?
Maya: I’m so happy to know that people are responding to Burt and Verona the way that they are, and to feel that they are a real couple because they are sort of their own thing and that’s what so nice that people are responding to it. It’s so special to me that it’s relatable to. And I hope a lot of people grow bears because beards are coming back like big time, for women too.
Check out Maya in Away We Go, which will be in theaters starting tomorrow, June 5th. And for a chance to win the soundtrack and free tickets check out our Away We Go Caption Contest!