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The Rebound - Catherine Zeta Jones interview

Catherine Zeta Jones in The Rebound

Compiled by Jack Foley

CATHERINE Zeta Jones talks about appearing in new romantic comedy drama The Rebound, in which she plays an older, recently single woman who embarks on an affair with a younger man (and nanny) in New York City.

She discusses why the film’s themes appealed to her as an actress and why she believes they will resonate with viewers.

Q: What drew you to The Rebound?
Catherine Zeta Jones: Well, I’ve been looking for a while for, you know, a comedy, I love comedy; I always love it when I have a chance to do some comedy. Not that I can tell a joke beginning to end but if the writing is on the page I always enjoy that and Bart sent me the script and I just thought: “Wow, I’ve never played this kind of character before.” It has all the elements that I was looking for, a kind of zany kind of comedy feel to it and a kind of bittersweet story that Sandy goes through and then you know just to find this love at the end when she least expected it. I just though all those were the elements that I have been looking for and it came full package in The Rebound.

Q. What sends your character Sandy on her journey?
Catherine Zeta Jones: Well Sandy, my character at the beginning of the film, she lives the quintessential school mum life, soccer mum life in Connecticut… her life just seems perfect, she has two beautiful children, a husband, not exactly a white picket fence but everything is great, everything is great in Connecticut. And then some awful event happens where she sees her neighbour giving her husband a sexual act during her son’s birthday party! As you can imagine, life changes quite dramatically. So, she picks up her children and heads to the city for a new life.

Q. Tell us about the beginning of Sandy’s relationship with Aram…
Catherine Zeta Jones: Aram is the character who I actually meet when I pretty much first go apartment hunting in New York with my children. I find an advertisement, I find an apartment for rent above a coffee shop and he is one of the first people I go to find an apartment with. His sidekick suggests that he actually could be a nanny, that it comes with the price of the apartment, which is a little strange to me and so that’s how I meet Aram and he is coming out of a relationship, pretty much got seriously dumped.

I think that’s what our connection was, we both got seriously dumped in different ways and so we form a relationship firstly by him babysitting whilst I go through this horrific dating process, which is, you know, once you have had a divorce and you think your life is complete forever and you have these two children and then you have to start over again and go out into the market place for want of a better word and start that whole dating thing which you thought you put to bed many, many years ago.

So, he helps me out with the children and then through the course of the movie we become closer and we share our stories and we find, even though he is much younger than me, that we have a lot in common and we actually like hanging out together.

Q. Tell us about the self defence scene…
Catherine Zeta Jones: I raise my hand after hearing all these horrible stories that these women who just like me have gone through and so I raise my hand and I put myself forward to be the guinea pig. And for Sandy, who was…. even when she arrived in the city, everything is “just fine, everything’s just fine”. She is going to be just fine. But obviously she’s not fine and it’s all been repressed considerably and so this woman just unleashes this, you know, the demons. I get to punch this person who was in a fat suit and everything just comes about, every emotion, everything I wanted to say to my ex-husband comes out, and it’s cathartic but it was very emotional. But it was one of my favourite things to do actually, it was therapy, not just for my character but I think for me as well.

Q. How does Sandy grow?
Catherine Zeta Jones: Things change and sometimes you don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel at all, all you see is this door and it’s shut now and you just regress and you just remove yourself from life. I wanted to show a journey of how that door can close and everything is bleak, but then if you are strong and you give love and you want love it’ll come to you and she just becomes the woman that Sandy was before she met Frank.

Her life was Frank’s life, it wasn’t Sandy’s… she wasn’t the fun spirited woman that she becomes. She was repressed and I wanted to show that journey of her flowering again and how, in time, her life blossoms again, and she becomes the real Sandy. She gets empowered by having her own job, something that she loved to do that was shut away when she was married to a person she shouldn’t have been married to obviously, and she works herself up from just a writer, up to actually anchoring. Who would have thought that Sandy would be anchoring and building a life up when she thought there was nothing left? I wanted to convey that through the story.

Q. Tell us about the other cast and characters in the film…
Catherine Zeta Jones: It really is a two hander with the children, I mean the story is so driven between me and Aram. Of course, there is a multitude of different characters who have to really support the whole story and what he did, he cast so well. He said to me one day that some of the scenes we have such great theatre actors coming in for one day and I think that is a credit to Bart and the piece that these great actors said: “Yeah, I’m in”.

One actor we were working with during the restaurant scene has just won a critic theatre award for her life time of work in the theatre on Broadway, but she said “I’m in” because she loved the piece and they wanted to work with Bart. That was great for us because it was just great actors. Arty Garfunkel coming in, and Arty sang at my wedding if you can imagine, he did, he sang Bridge Over Troubled Water at my wedding. So, I have always been such a huge fan obviously and he’s a good friend and he was just so funny, and so into it. Asking Bart: “When you wrote this Bart, what were you thinking? Were you thinking what I’m thinking?” It was just so collaborative and so much fun.

We had such a short schedule that it was like doing a theatre piece in a way, we all come in, we all need to know what we are doing, we all needed to know our lines, it was like a truck going through this whole piece. It was like: “Great great, run over to the other side of the street, let’s do it again.” It was just a great energy to the whole piece and a lot of that was brought with actors coming in and ejecting the energy to me, Bart and Justin who were there. I was there every day I think. I think I had maybe one day off or something, it was great to have great actors to come in and kick us in the butt and get us going again.

Q. How was it shooting in New York?
Catherine Zeta Jones: It was great being in New York obviously… these days so many films are set in New York but this is such a predominately New York piece. Obviously, they take you to another city because it’s cheaper and you know what: “Toronto can look like New York any day of the week!” But the fact is it can’t, it really can’t, you don’t get the essence of the city and the energy and so it was great working in the city.

Q. What are the universal themes of The Rebound?
Catherine Zeta Jones: Well, you know, what’s enduring and what’s universal to the piece is that divorce and the break-up of relationships doesn’t just happen to women, and the emotions that come out of that don’t just happen to women. It happens to men too. You know, everyone thinks: “Oh, the divorced woman, OMG, she’s got two kids, poor baby!” But it happens on both sides.

Also, what the movie does for me is that it shows the comedy, at some point you just have to laugh and go: “God!” I mean, all these situations that happen when your life turns around on a dime… like when you go on these dates, like when the guy asks you some extremely personal questions, like when the guy has to sleep with this woman and she’s like: “Forget it!” And she doesn’t call back. All those different things… you’ve got to see some comedy in it and I think Bart really made this.

Yes, it’s bittersweet and it’s universal because it happens. I mean it happens all the time. And it’s so great when you see these people finding love again, second time around. So many people say to me second time round’s really best. I don’t really want to get there actually, I don’t know, but I think it’s really universal that way – that it’s both men and women that can relate to it.

Q. What can people relate to in The Rebound?
Catherine Zeta Jones: I hope is that when relationships break up, divorce, partner splits whatever, when you think that there is no hope in hell, that I’m never going to find love again, that you can. It will if you put yourself out there to want to be loved and to love. It will and can happen and also I hope that people find the comedy through it all.

The Rebound is released in UK cinemas on Friday, July 23, 2010.