Elizabeth Leal, Taylor Page, and Dustin Milligan on communicating with Mac and Rita


[Editor’s note: The following contains some spoilers for Mack & Rita.]

from the director Katie AseltonDrama Mac and Rita 30-year-old Mac Martin (Elizabeth Lill), who finds herself breaking out of a regression pod during best friend Carla’s bachelorette weekend (Taylor Paige), having suddenly transformed into her future 70-year-old self (Academy Award winner Diane Keaton). Going by Aunt Rita, so as not to attract too much confused attention, the old soul learns to free herself from the expectations of others and realize that she may not be as true to herself as she previously thought.

During this interview with Collider, co-stars Lail, Paige, and Dustin Milligan (who plays Jack next door, a 30-year-old who finds himself drawn to both Mac and Rita, without really knowing what’s going on) Talk about what they are most connected to this project, and how perceptions often don’t match up in reality, how it was The personification of Keaton for Lail, the importance of trust and respect in friendships, and what it is like for Milligan when she shares a kiss with Keaton in a scene.

Today’s video collider

Collider: I had a lot of fun with this movie and found it quite exhilarating. When you read the text, what distinguishes you the most? Was there a scene you were really excited to do?

Elizabeth Leal: For me, it really resonated objectively. She felt so much attached to Mac and her sense of not wanting to express herself fully, or hide parts of herself, and I’m not sure how the world would accept that. And then, of course, Diane Keaton in the movie.

Dustin Milligan: And you, too.

Lil: Amazingly.

TAYLOUR PAIGE: It’s a beautiful, fun, uplifting movie and I’m glad to be a part of contributing something like this right now. And I really value my friendships in real life. I don’t know where I would be without my friends. They have been through some ghetto times.

Milligan: The thing I loved about him was playing a character that is seen as one thing. Like all the characters in the movie, Jack is definitely seen as one thing, and then it’s revealed, throughout the movie, that he’s actually not.

Paige: You think it’s a tool, and then you realize it’s cool.

Milligan: I have to remember that.

Paige: That should be in the trailer.

MILLIGAN: He makes a bit of a D-bag and isn’t necessarily the kind you want to spend time with, but he’s actually a perfectionist for Mac and Rita. I loved this development. I loved how it’s a little weird and off the middle, and that he has that. I think that’s a wonderful thing.

Elizabeth, would you say it was hard to figure out how to portray Anna from Frozen in Once Upon A Time or Diane Keaton in this movie? Is it difficult to embody an animated character in human form, or to embody a real human, like Diane Keaton?

Lil: I think Diane’s rendering pressure is a little higher. Although at the time, I felt the pressure to embody Anna was too high because it mattered to all 12-year-olds everywhere.

Paige: Not just 12-year-olds.

Lil: It’s so funny, it’s such a pleasure to do that. I love this aspect of homework, to teach someone and take a rhythm or a hand gesture or whatever. This is really fun for me. I love doing that. I didn’t even think about it. You’ve watched Frozen maybe a hundred times, and you’ve seen all of the Diane movies. It might have been fun to watch Diane’s movies, but I love Frozen, don’t get me wrong.

Taylor, I would love that your character knows and trusts her enough that she believes her when you tell her this crazy thing happened. What do you enjoy most about this friendship dynamic?

Paige: What do we have, if we don’t have trust and respect in our relationships. I just appreciate how honest she is. They are true loyal friends who see each other and understand their speed, and I thought that was really cool. This is a love story in itself. Accepting people for where they are and who they are, and then doing it in personification of both Elizabeth and Diane was a pleasure. It’s sweet. It is colorful. it is fun. They are just unbelievable talents, lucky for me.

Dustin, do you think Mac actually sat down with Jack and had a chat with him, explaining what happened with Mac and Rita’s entire situation?

Milligan: I think about that, too. I understood this stranger, “So, that wasn’t my aunt,” and some off-screen conversation had to happen. I don’t know. I feel like I was kind of like, “Okay.” He’ll feel a little bit like, “Have I been cheating?” There is an element, “How interested did I care about Mack before I fell in love with her aunt?”

Paige: It’s the soul.

Milligan: I’m just talking about the technical aspects because that’s important to me, for some reason, at the moment. I think, at the end, there was a conversation.

Lil: She wrote her story.

Paige: And I really liked who she was on the inside.

Milligan: I can see that and I can trust that it’s the same connection, which never goes away, regardless of his eyes. It’s the same thing, the same love.

When you have a kissing scene like that, with Diane Keaton, do you have a conversation? Do you just go for it? How does this work?

Milligan: These things are usually pretty technical. You need to know who will lean to one side or the other, and how far you will lean. These types of technical conversations always happen. And then there’s this embarrassing thing where there are 40 to 50 people watching you do it, making sure you’re doing it right, judging whether you’re doing a good job or not. And then, you know, there’s a whole audience out there, in multiple theaters, that will do the exact same thing. This is a lot of pressure sometimes. That was fine because Diane was so kind and gentle about it, and she acted like she was just as nervous as I was. I don’t know if it really was, but it was giving off this vibe, which made it so much more comfortable for both of us.

Mac and Rita Now playing in theaters.

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