Lorene Scafaria had threatened her mother for a long time about making a movie based on their relationship and calling it THE MEDDLER. With this smart and heart-warming comedy, she has made good on that threat. Based on their relationship, with a few flourishes involving creative license, Scafaria has crafted the story of Marnie Minervini, a woman who has spent her life giving of herself to her family, and doesn’t see why widowhood should change that. And she’s cast Oscar™-winning actress Susan Sarandon as Marnie.
When I spoke to the two on April 11, 2016, the first thing I wanted to talk about was Marnie’s innate generosity, which led to an interesting discussion about why it is that women are so reluctant to ask for things for themselves.
We went on to talk about how Sarandon found Marnie’s voice, what Scafaria wanted to say about Italian-American families with her film, and how she scored a remarkable scene involving Marnie discovering the magic of an egg raised with love.
THE MEDDLER is a film about love, loss, and how a really good egg can change your life. As the widowed Marnie discovers after moving from New Jersey to California to be near her screenwriter daughter. She is forced to find her own way when said daughter, played by Rose Byrne, won’t let her help her through a tough time.
Enchanted by her new surroundings, but at loose ends when Lori attempts to set boundaries to her boundless desire to be part of her daughter’s life, Marnie finds other outlets for her innate generosity. From making a dream wedding possible for one of Lori’s friends, to paying back an Apple store employee for his help with her iPhone by facilitating his return to school, to volunteering at the local hospital, Marnie finds the joy of making a difference, but when it comes to Zipper, played by J.K. Simmons, a retired cop with a sweet smile and a flock of chickens with distinct personalities, she’s not quite as certain about what she should do.
The film co-stars Cecily Strong, Jerrod Strong, Michael McKean, Jason Ritter, Lucy Punch, and Casey Wilson. Scafaria directed from her own script, inspired by her own relationship with her mother. Her previous work includes NICK AND NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST, FINDING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD, co-starring in the sublimely mind-bending COHERENCE, and recording albums, Laughter and Forgetting and Garden Party. Sarandon’s previous work includes living it, not dreaming it in THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, charming Burt Lancaster in ATLANTIC CITY, blazing a trail in THELMA AND LOUISE, worshipping at the altar of Baseball in BULL DURHAM, put Richard Gere in his place in ARBITRAGE, and winning an Oscar™ as Sister Helen Prejean in DEAD MAN WALKING. Her offscreen work includes championing human rights, bringing media attention where it needs to be, and giving a voice to the voiceless.