Emanuel Levy: Morning Glory Interview

Emanuel Levy
Published: November, 2010

Rachel McAdams stars as a struggling morning show producer in “Morning Glory,” directed by Roger Michell. The romantic comedy, which also stars Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton, is being released by Paramount on November 10.

I think a lot of young people have had the experience where you come in fresh to a brand new job and suddenly, you find yourself up against a bunch of seasoned professionals who want to do things their way,” she says. “What I love is that Becky takes that situation head-on, approaches it with the same amount of vigor she brings to everything she does, and turns it upside down.”

A close actor-screenwriter relationship
McAdams worked closely with screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna to get to know her doggedly determined character backwards and forwards.

Aline is such a great writer and she knows her characters so well that she was great to have involved in the process,” says the actress. “It was really exciting for me to be able to talk to her throughout the production, to get ideas from her and bounce new thoughts off her, and we were constantly adding little bits here and there and enhancing the character.”

Personal research

With Becky Fuller-like intensity, McAdams also dove into her own personal research, visiting nearly all the morning shows in New York to analyze how they really work.

I talked to everyone – the producers, the people who book the stories, the camera operators, the guys in the control room – to try to understand how it happens from every possible angle. I discovered that there’s a whole different language that goes on back there,” she says. “And everything moves so quickly. One minute people are panicking and freaking out and it gets really heated and the next minute they’re joking, laughing and off to lunch. What really made an impression was the high-wire nature of live television – that once you say or do something on the air, you can’t take it back. That is terrifying.”

Another thing that took McAdams by surprise is how downright physical a job producing a morning news show can be. “Becky is a bit more of an action hero than I expected,” she laughs. “There was a lot running up and down stairs and all over the place, as she tries to wrangle all these different people with their different agendas, so that was a fun surprise.”

Working with Ford and Keaton

Harrison played Mike beautifully. He’s so deadpan, so dry, so sarcastic, I really felt like I couldn’t budge him! He was understated, yet so full, it was just exciting to interact with him,” she says.

McAdams was equally thrilled by the opportunity to work with Diane Keaton “What I love about Diane is that she plays Colleen so you can see the heart underneath, so you can see this is a woman who is willing to do anything, even dress up in a sumo suit, to get people to laugh, to get them to smile, to get them watching in the morning. She made Colleen funny and tough, but vulnerable as well.”

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