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The funniest, most honest movie about mom friends is out August 4th. Here is a sneak peek!

by Allison Schlanger

I made some of my closest and most incredible friends through my kids (those are not them pictured above...). One of those friends is named Julie Rudd. Julie has been part of my loving, supportive and super fun mom village since our 12 year old boys were in kindergarten. She recently wrote Fun Mom Dinner, the funniest, most honest movie about mom friends you will encounter -- and it is opening in theaters on August 4th. The movie stars Toni Collette, Molly Shannon, Bridget Everett and Katie Aselton as the moms, and Adam Scott, Adam Levine (yes that one), Rob Huebel and Paul Rust as their husbands/love interests. Paul Rudd, Julie’s husband, has an awesome cameo as a medical marijuana dispensary owner. Julie calls Fun Mom Dinner her love letter to moms. It is not only a must see, but you may want to consider bringing along one of your kid’s diapers. It is that funny. I know most of us can't remember the last time we found ourselves in a movie theater at a non-animated film. The great news about Fun Mom Dinner is that it will be released OnDemand the same day it premieres in theaters -- so put the kids in bed, grab a glass of wine and your significant other (or fun mom friend) and hit the couch. You are in for a really good night.

Here is the very official “interview” I did with Julie about the movie…

Hi Julie.
Hi Allison.

Did you always have a movie in you? 
I'd like to think I did. I do believe it took going through years of being married, becoming a mom and getting several years of parenting under my belt to come up with this specific story. I think the idea for it just happened to come at a moment when I was ready for it. I was a little hungry to claim a corner of my life for myself. My kids were a bit older and I felt like I might have something to say about this stage of life...and a funny way to say it. Plus, I'm always so tired, so everything seems like a good idea!

You are one of the most present moms I know, and you are a co-owner of Samuel’s Sweet Shop, one of the busiest stores in Rhinebeck, NY. How did you find the time to write and make a movie with all you have going on?
It all really happened pretty organically. I had an idea one day that no one had really made a movie, a comedy, about moms. Moms that felt real and not stereotypical. (This was in 2013, before Bad Moms). I started thinking about it and then I couldn't stop. I asked my good friend, Naomi Scott, if she wanted to work on it with me. She's a film and TV producer in LA. We've been friends for years, were at each other's weddings, had our kids around the same time. That initial conversation turned into about a year of FaceTiming and brainstorming. I always had a general idea that I wanted a few moms to find themselves at dinner together, some willing participants, some reluctant, and to have the night become a bit of an adventure. By the end, I knew I wanted the moms to be bonded together. I always wanted it to be a love letter to moms and to the power and necessity of having these friendships in our lives.

This was your first script. How did you know if it was any good?
I didn't know if it would be any good. Initially, I didn't think I would end up being the writer. I thought I could come up with the story and then we would hire a writer. Once I had worked out the story and come up with the characters, I felt really attached to them and I asked Naomi what she thought of me taking a stab at writing the script. She really encouraged me. Once I had a first draft completed, we showed it to a few smart and funny people that we trusted. All signs pointed to keep on going, so that's how I became the writer. Once we had the story, I wrote the first draft of the script in about 4 months by myself. I would drop my kids at school, come home to a quiet apartment and write for four hours every day. Then Naomi and I met with Alethea Jones. She came on to direct it and she truly was the final piece. She brought so much vision to it and collaborating with her was really productive and fun.

There are so many films about the high school years, the college years, getting married...what is it about this time in our lives...our kids entering school/making mom friends that made you base a movie on that phase of life?
I think I was just really struck by how much my mom friends, you included, had come to mean in my life. It took me by surprise that, at this stage in my life, I had found myself in a group of women where I felt really understood and supported. That feeling was the genesis of the idea. I wanted to celebrate that.

You did manage to get your friends in there through a very flattering opening sequence where you included pictures from our high school years complete with the big hair and sweatshirts of the 80’s. What was the idea behind that?
Yes! That was so fun! There is a definite 80's thread that runs through the movie. I think it's a subtle, but very important part of it. These women are in their forties. They are busy and tired and overworked and probably under appreciated. Something about having them out for a crazy night made me want them to remember back to when they were teenagers - before they were wives and moms - when the future was unknown and they were a bit more reckless and romantic. I liked the idea that the music in the film and talk of John Hughes are touchstones to the girls they once were and to the feeling they rediscover on this night. I wrote the movie listening to only 80's music in headphones. It was really helpful. So for the opening credit sequence, we thought it would be fun to do it in the style of an 80's movie. Full, stand alone credit sequence at the beginning. Most movies don't do that anymore. Also, using old 80's photos of the actresses when they were teenagers and lots of other girls, including you, was just really fun. It was another way to express that these moms are gonna get back in touch with who they used to be.

From the opening credits. XXL sweatshirts for all.

Fun Mom Dinner centers on 4 moms that meet through their kids’ preschool, but the scenes with the dads are also some of the best. Why was it important for you to get the dad's perspective in the film?
I love the dads in the movie. Those are some of my favorite scenes. They were really fun to write. I wanted them to be great guys. I knew that what you'd expect from this movie would be that the dads are gonna be in charge of the kids and do everything wrong and mess everything up. I like that we do something different. The dads do get into a situation and they certainly don't handle it like the moms would, but they do just fine. They handle it. They also have some very real conversations with each other and maybe surprise the audience a bit.

How did you get such an incredible cast for a first effort?
I'm still in shock about the cast that we assembled. It is truly a "never in my wildest dreams..." sort of thing. Each actor made their part better and richer and I think that is always the hope. We all bonded on set. It was a very female heavy cast and crew and that was amazing and inspiring. Lots of moms around!

From the set…
Alethea Jones – Director (front right with headset)
Julie Rudd – writer (over Althea’s left shoulder)
Naomi Scott – Producer (to the left of Julie)

Julie Rudd, Alethea Jones, Toni Collette, Katie Aselton, Molly Shannon and Naomi Scott

Beyond the humor - which there is a ton of - this is a really honest, revealing movie. So many of the lines feel as if they were stripped from real life. Were you ever nervous to be that honest?
Never. Earlier drafts, I think, had even more of the marriage/relationship stuff in there. A script goes through so many drafts and sometimes really good stuff gets left behind in service of the story and the flow and keeping it funny. I think the little moments of real, quiet honesty in a movie are always the best parts. I'm thrilled that, even though it's a comedy, we have a bunch of those.

A lot of women our age had careers and then chose to stay home and raise their kids. As their kids get older they have a desire (or finally the time) to work outside of the home again. At 45+ you all of a sudden have an entirely new career/phase of your life happening right now. Will you continue on this path?
I hope so. I have a family and kids and that is always going to be my priority, but this experience has given me something that was missing from my life. Something that is mine. An accomplishment outside of my own kitchen! I have other ideas and stories I want to tell and, luckily, writing is something that you can do anywhere and mostly, on your own schedule. So, I'm hopeful, that I will get the opportunity to continue.

Do you think writing and getting this movie made impacted your kids?
I do. I think, at first, my kids didn't really understand what I was doing or why I wanted to do something other than be "mommy". My youngest definitely felt like it was taking some time away from her. But, when we were shooting and they came to set to visit me, I know they were proud. I could see it and that was an incredible thing to feel. My son said something like "All these people are working on the thing you wrote at the dining room table?" I think as they grow up, it will continue to have an impact on them. Plus they see how happy it’s made me.

What advice do you have for moms that want to do something for themselves that will pull them away from doing the things they are used to doing for their kids?
I think most of that conflict is just pressure we are putting on ourselves as moms. I have to remind myself all the time that my kids can figure stuff out, do things on their own. They are going to be OK. Yes, I spent some time away from my kids. I couldn't put them to bed for a few nights, but miraculously they still fell asleep! That was a good lesson for me to learn. My husband was in charge and that was great fun for everybody. The kids will be alright without us...for a little while anyway! And it's good to missed!

Thank you Julie.
Thank you Allison.


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