BOP Interview: Lawrence & Meg Kasdan
By Ryan Mazie
April 26, 2012
After writing The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Bodyguard, writer-director Lawrence Kasdan did not only work with major film studios, he practically created the modern-day blockbuster. Having the Midas touch when it came to picking projects, after a few misfires, Kasdan has been missing from Hollywood since 2003 (the year his writing/directing Stephen King-adapted Dreamcatcher hit theaters with a thud).
Now he is back in the director’s chair, his wife of 40 years, Meg Kasdan, by his side with their co-written film, Darling Companion. The movie is about what happens to a marriage when the husband (Kevin Kline) loses the dog that the wife (Diane Keaton) loves more than him.
Unlike his previous films, Darling Companion was not made with studio support. “July 4th, two years ago, we met a woman who said she would put up the money,” said Lawrence Kasdan who took the time to sit with me at the Four Seasons, with Meg sitting to his right, “From the time we met this woman ‘til the time we were in production was two months… The Friday before the Monday we started, it was not certain that we had Diane Keaton. If you’ve made a student film before, it doesn’t change. It’s all up in the air. It’s crazy. It could fall apart at the last minute.” Luckily for the Kasdans’ everything clicked. “We just flipped,” said Meg, speaking about the film’s impressive cast, which includes Richard Jenkins, Dianne Wiest, Sam Shepard, Elisabeth Moss, and Mark Duplass.
The couple talks about the inspiration for the story, family, the importance of a good score, and Whitney Houston.
To start things off with the basics, where did the inspiration to write this movie together come from?
Meg Kasdan: The inspiration was that we rescued a dog [Mac] from a shelter about seven years ago. A year and a half after that, we took [Mac] to Colorado. We had to leave town briefly to go to a wedding so we left him with a friend of ours. She took him for a hike and a mountain biker startled him and he bolted. She ran down after him and could not find him. … We came back and we ran radio announcements, we looked in shelters, we put posters up, we did everything we possibly could think of to do to get this dog back, but he didn’t show up... We thought, “No way he could survive.” The weather had been terrible with storms and thunder and lightning and this was a city dog who had never experienced that kind of environment… We went back to Los Angeles without him, and that afternoon he showed up on a trail. A woman saw him, she was with her dogs, and now he is back.
So it is very autobiographical then?
Lawrence Kasdan: A lot of the incidents are from life. We’d like to think that the relationship is not from real life (laughs). I’m sure I would never be so self-absorbed.
MK: And Larry did not lose the dog.
So what’s it like to have a film that begins within your own reality and then create fictitious characters around that?
LK: I think everything is sort of like that, even things that don’t appear that way. When I made Silverado, it was about the movies I loved growing up, but it was also about friendship and having adventures with friends and going out into the wild and making up your own rules. Those were things that I had been doing when I was growing up in West Virginia and I loved Westerns. I think this is true with all of the movies I have made – they all come from real life in some way or another. Otherwise you are not driven to make the story work.