Coming to Bluray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and writer/director Hallie Meyers-Shyer is a film that reminds us it’s good to be HOME AGAIN.
Alice (Reese Witherspoon) finds herself back in Los Angeles separating from husband Austen (Michael Sheen) who is in New York. Getting in a routine with daughters Isabel (Lola Flanery) and Rosie (Eden Grace Redfield), she has a little help from Mom Lillian (Candice Bergen). Trying to start a new business and find her footing isn’t being helped with her 40th birthday arriving.
Out with friends for a night of relaxing and a few drinks, she meets Harry (Pico Alexander) who, after a few flirty moments, ends up at the girls table. He brings brother Teddy (Nat Wolff) and George (Jon Rudnitsky) to join the party. These three are in Los Angeles to pitch their short film into a feature.
Waking up the next morning, Alice is uncomfortable to find everyone passed out in her house. Of course that’s right around the time Mom shows up with the girls yet something calming happens, everyone seems to hit it off nicely. When George realizes who Alice’s father is and meeting Lillian, he is thrilled.
That leads to Lillian and the three guys spending the day chatting while Alice gets on with life. Trying to land her first design job with Zoey (Lake Bell), Alice doesn’t have time to nonsense – or does she?
Lillian talks Alice into letting three young would-be artists stay in her guest house while pitching their film. One person who isn’t happy is Austen who learns from his daughters what is going on. Yet, it all seems to work as even Alice and Harry get closer.
As everyone begins to find their way, Alice must decide how her life plays out without the complications of manipulative husbands, mothers or house guests. It’s time to discover how to be comfortable and home again!
Witherspoon is delightful, as she always is, in the role of Alice caught up in just the jumble of life. Trying to find her place without a husband she can’t count on and girls who really need her, the character of Alice is learning to stop trying to control and let loose now and again. That is the diversity of Witherspoon in that she can play roles such as Alice with her frailties and bit of comedy and at the same time nail characters like Madeline in the series Big Little Lies (of which I’m a huge fan).
Alexander as Harry is as cute as he wants to be and knows it as he two companions know all to well. Yet he is also endearing and protective of Alice and the girls which sort of makes up for it all. He wants to succeed but on his own terms and fragile when it comes to believing that things work out the way they are suppose to. Putting on a good front from time to time keeps him focused.
Wolff as actor and brother Teddy is just wonderful in his protection of his new found family and the scene between he and Sheen is hilarious. Being quiet most of the film, this scene is his moment to express every emotion he’d been holding in. Rudnitsky as George is the writer of the group who brings out the confidence in young Isabel. He also wants to protect Alice from making a mistake while also herding in Harry!
Bergen as Lillian is just too wonderful for words but I will try. She is endearing, lovely, funny and just out there which is how Alice wishes she could be. Lillian has a history and Bergen embraces it with a comedic timing all her own.
I had the opportunity to speak with Pico Alexander who plays Harry to talk about making a movie about making a movie, his friendship with cast mates and what we all can learn about unconventionally conventional families.
Jeri Jacquin: Hi Pico, how are you today?
Pico Alexander: Very well, thanks for asking.
JJ: I saw your film.
PA: Lovely, and what did you think?
JJ: I thought it was funny, endearing, moving and it’s a little bit of everything actually.
PA: Not to much tragedy, we stayed away from it.
JJ: Tell me about how you came to get the role of Harry?
PA: I did a self tape for it. I was in Europe and I did a casual tape with my friend and didn’t think there was really a chance that I would get the role.
JJ: You didn’t think you were going to get the role and I’m taken back hearing that. Why didn’t you think you would get the role of Harry?
PA: I just didn’t think I would be the guy to star opposite of Reese, I didn’t think I would be here love interest. It was just too crazy of an idea for me to wrap my head around. It just seemed like a total unreal concept that I would be a romantic love interest. Then it happened so I guess it wasn’t so surreal although I thought so at the time.
JJ: It wasn’t so crazy after all because I think you and Reese reacted to each other perfectly.
PA: So do I and thought it was such a joy and honor to act with her. It was a gift I was given.
JJ: You are with some pretty heavy hitters in the film with Candice Bergen and Michael Sheen as well.
PA: The cast is unreal! I am so lucky to have gone from acting for three years to have the opportunity to share the screen with the likes of Candice Bergen, Michael Sheen, Reese Witherspoon, Jon Rudnitsky and Nat Wolff. Everybody else as well and everyone who even came in to play for day were so tremendous. I think that Nancy and Hallie did a great job casting the film.
JJ: I was going to say I don’t think there was a hair out of place with this film. It looked effortless.
PA: I can tell you it wasn’t effortless (laughing) and a lot of effort goes into making them look so graceful. There are a lot of takes and there is a vision and it’s our job to fulfill that vision to a tee.
JJ: You did it so well that in watching HOME AGAIN you feel like a fly on the wall watching the lives of everyone unfold. When you can do that you know it’s done by a really good cast.
PA: That is so cool to hear and the credit goes to Hallie, the casting and the editing. The way the film was put together with the material they had putting together our performances is a huge testament to them.
JJ: The relationship between you, Jon and Nat – you meshed so well together. You guys were hilarious in this film.
PA: That’s awesome and luckily it happened on screen and off screen.
JJ: I was wondering if a friendship came about.
PA: We went into best friend mode within like three days. I was to be staying at a hotel during the shoot being from New York and Nat and I started talking. Nat was staying at his parents place and he’s convinced it’s haunted so he asked if I wanted to move in with him. It was crazy but I liked it. We did the whole brother thing and then Jon would be there every night without fail. One of the first times we hung out, you know the scene where we meet with the producer who wants to fiancé our film? Then we are on the beach and Harry jumps in the water followed by Nat’s character Teddy. We had gone to the beach our first weekend off and we literally did the scene without even realizing it. We were trying to convince Jon to jump in the water because he had never been in the Pacific and we all jumped in while John was on the beach. We really leaned into that relationship because we felt it should be strong and a chemistry with a number of inside jokes. Hopefully that reads in the movie and I think that’s why we got along.
JJ: It absolutely does. Your relationship with Lola and Eden, you guys are just so sweet together.
PA: Those were the best days when they were on set. They were so awesome. Lola and Eden are two of the most charming and fantastic girls I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. Eden is a genius and probably win a number of Oscars years from now – that is if she keeps on acting. She might decide to go and find a cure for cancer. Eden is so good and a natural talent. We would all joke that Eden was the most talented person on set. Lola is just so awesome and she was listening and learning her place on the set and see her pick up on acting tips and cues on how to function on a set. She is very savvy. They both have secure futures in acting and their parents are great as well. Their parents are so lovely.
JJ: When the three of you are dealing with Austen, Sheen’s character, it is hilarious when the three of you deal with it. It’s almost as if you three are the adults and Austen is the child.
PA: Well, that is an interesting take away (laughing)
JJ: His character gets away with things like a kid and the three of you are guarded and protective.
PA: Yes, we know he is a significant threat to the family we have created. We want to make sure that Alice is in a fragile state. He does act childish but that’s what I appreciate about the film. It explores every characters childishness. Everyone has that little six year old in him or her even if we grow up, there are parts of us that don’t grow up. We have those tricks that the six year old in us has kept to get what we want. It’s important for generations to check you by saying you can’t do this anymore.
JJ: The funny thing is you are young men and you get that!
PA: I feel like Teddy gets it and he’s the baby in the group but the most emotionally mature. I don’t want to vilify Austen’s character because I get where he is coming from and he feels a little neglected. Harry acts a little irresponsible as well and kicks the door in to Alice’s life so there is a bit.
JJ: So would you say that Harry and Austen were probably closer than they even realized?
PA: Yes, Harry could easily grow up and be an Austen if he didn’t meet Austen. It’s a gift to see the result of impulses to always think you can get what you want and not really thinking things through and being self centered. There are long term consequences in that and seeing Austen he realizes he needs to spend more time being in someone else’s shoes. At the end of the day, what ever you take away from it.
JJ: How is it for you making a movie about three guys trying to get a movie made?
PA: It’s great because I didn’t really have to draw on imagination circumstances but instead draw on it from a personal level. I liked that about the movie and I like that these guys travel out from the east coast to get a movie made. I traveled the same way going to LA and they are given a great opportunity like I was given. It’s autobiographical in a weird way. I like movies about making movies.
JJ: Being that you are the younger man and playing opposite the character of Alice, I know its weird because it’s Reese Witherspoon, but the chemistry you two have is so amazing.
PA: That’s awesome, I’m so glad you feel that way. It was very nerve wracking and I haven’t spent too much time around many high profile people. I had a number of expectations wondering what it would be like to work with someone so famous. I was a little intimidated at the time and nervous to be close to someone like that. But ultimately it comes down to trust and a passion for the work. We just needed some time to get to know each other and have conversations talking about it all to make the best movie we could. We wanted to do the characters justice and after a week we were more comfortable around Reese and I can’t be grateful enough for her. I have so much gratitude for Reese’s ability to make me feel at ease, she has more experience than I do when it comes to these kind of things. She did a tremendous job in leading and guiding me without making it obvious that she was doing it. She made me feel like it was my own doing and she is just a tremendous actor and it was really all about the work. It was about this relationship and she thought it was an important story to tell. It was high time we reevaluate the May-December romances and she convinced me that it was important. I could keep raving about her.
JJ: The same with you guys and Candice Bergen on screen.
PA: I have never met anyone from the royal family but I can imagine they don’t come close to carrying themselves with the same grace and dignity at Candice Bergen. She is the classiest person I have ever met and a totally fantastic actress to top it all off.
JJ: Her sense of humor and timing is endearingly graceful.
PA: Graceful, class and doing it with such a straight face. I thought I was intimidated working with Reese? Forget it! The moment I met Candice I hoped she would like me. I think when I introduced myself to her, it was the first day and I was giddy and excited. I went over to her to introduce myself and she just looked at me and then cracked up. I still to this day I don’t know what that meant and that intimidated me.
JJ: I bet she thought it was charming that you came over to say hello.
PA: That’s it, of course, that’s what it was and I’m sticking with that (laughing).
JJ: The film is coming out on Bluray and DVD and I’d like to know what you’d like viewers to take away from the film.
PA: I would hope that when they finish their Bluray that they make a phone call to someone they care about. The movie has a strong sense of family for me and second chances. Relationships are difficult as we get older and I think it’s important to apologize for things and make them right. Take away a gratitude for people that are in their lives as unconventional families are formed every day.
JJ: I understand, this is a family that is unconventional where families are now are unconventional and this is another take on that. It can work if you all put your differences aside.
PA: Put differences aside and realize the love you have for each other is stronger than all the things that have gone wrong in the past. Pick up the phone and make that call to someone telling them how much they mean. It’s a heartwarming film and everyone needs a second chance.
JJ: I thank you so much for talking with me Pico.