Interview: Jane Weinstock from "The Moment"

Photo Credit: Dave Kotinsky | © 2013 Getty Images | Image courtesy gettyimages.com
June 5th, 2014

Jane Weinstock is a brilliant director who showed the world her talents in 2003‘s “Easy”, and now she is back with her new film “The Moment”.  The film stars veteran actress Jennifer Jason Leigh and “Arrested Development’s” Alia Shawkat.  It is an exciting new thriller that is a must see for your summer movie list.  The Movie Network had the wonderful opportunity to talk with Jane and ask her all about this new film.

Nick Leyland from The Movie Network: I saw your new film The Moment a month ago, and I actually re-watched it again today before talking with you, and I really enjoyed it. It's in theaters on June 6th, right?

Jane Weinstock: That's right.

TMN: Just in New York and LA, or all over the country?

Jane Weinstock: Well, so far it's New York and LA.

TMN: Let's talk about this film, it stars Jennifer Jason Leigh who plays Lee, and Martin Henderson who plays John. What can you tell our audience about this film?

Jane Weinstock: It started out as an Edith Wharton novel and it’s a novel about a love triangle between a mother and a daughter, and we couldn't get the rights to that love triangle, so Gloria Norris, the co-writer and I, just kept the basic, the bare bone structure of the novel, and then let our unconsciouses go to work, and this is what we ended up with.

And it's a mother-daughter relationship, but it's also a relationship between the main character, who's a war photographer, and a man who's been wrongly convicted of a crime and spent five years in prison. These are the two important relationships in the movie and they're kind of woven together.

TMN: Right, and the fact that she's a photographer, that's the reason that you called it "The Moment", I'm guessing?

Jane Weinstock: Yes, that's one reason, but I think people have different readings of why it could be called "The Moment". There's the decisive moment in photography, but there's also the moment after which everything changes. So, for example, the moment that she kisses him is a decisive moment because there's no going back after that.

TMN: It's open to interpretation I guess, right?

Jane Weinstock: Yes, exactly.

TMN: Now, a lot of the film has to do with Lee's state of mind. Did you find it difficult creating and directing this character who was going through this kind of emotional and mental sort of lapse?

Jane Weinstock: Well, that's what I wanted. Sometimes it was really intense material and hard to deal with, but I wanted it to be about difficult emotions.

TMN: As I watched the film several times I was wondering how a director would decipher to an audience when they're seeing Lee's point of view, and when they're seeing someone like her daughter's point of view? How did you deal with that kind of challenge?

Jane Weinstock: Well, the whole movie is really Lee's point of view. We never leave that except once, and that's to solve the mystery of John's disappearance. I don't wanna give it away, but that's the only time we really leave from it which. Even though her daughter is in a lot of scenes, it's never really the daughter's point of view.

So I think once people understand that it's Lee's point of view, I think even if it isn't always literally, I think they're kind of going through the story with her. Did you not feel that way?

TMN: Sometimes I guess I can see the other person's point of view while the director's not necessarily showing that sometimes, just through facial expressions I guess, and things like that. So that's what I was wondering. You'd see that the other people almost feeling that she was a little crazy. Like the psychologist, seeing it from her point view instead of Lee's point of view, I guess. When you were directing the film, was it hard not to go back in what you had written?

Jane Weinstock: No, I wanted it to be open, so if things were not working, then I wanted to find solutions that would work better. And we did make changes; Jennifer's a writer-director, so she brought a lot of good ideas to the script and to the editing. And Gloria and I were both there, so we could make changes if we didn't like what we were seeing, so it worked pretty well.

TMN: And now it's been at several festivals, including Tribeca, and it was nominated for an award at the Seattle International Film Festival. Did the film change at all since you premiered it at those festivals, or have you kept it the same?

Jane Weinstock: No, no, nothing's changed since it's been at the festivals. But also, we won the Best Feature Award, Best Narrative Feature Award at the Carmel Film Festival.

TMN: Oh wow, congratulations.

Jane Weinstock: Very exciting.

TMN: So the audiences have been pretty positive in the support for it, huh?

Jane Weinstock: Yeah, it seems so.

TMN: One thing I wanted to ask you about is, I don't know if this was meant to be in the film or not, that I picked up on. There's a scene when Lee is photographing John in front of the "Safety Storage" storage unit. And I don't know if this was intentional or not, as you see it, she's taking pictures , and then one picture he kind of looks happier and he's covering up most of the letters to reveal “Safe” in the background, and then in the next shot he looks a little more sinister I guess, and he's covering up the "STO-" in storage and it says "rage" next to him. Was that intentional?

Jane Weinstock: You are so good. That is absolutely what I intended and nobody has ever mentioned it to me.

TMN: Really?

[chuckle]

Jane Weinstock: Yep.

TMN: I was wondering that, 'cause I picked up on it, and I said, "I think that that had to be on purpose. If not, that's an amazing coincidence."

Jane Weinstock: Yeah. No, it was intentional.

TMN:  One thing I wanted to ask you about was Jennifer. How was working with her and how was getting her in that state of mind every single day?

Jane Weinstock: Well, it was harder for her than me. She had to really go there and it was tough. It was tough, but she did a great job. She's a great actress, and I felt very lucky to have her.

TMN: Did you bring any kind of personal experience or anything like that into the character, or anyone you knew, maybe?

Jane Weinstock: Well, I don't actually know people who have had posttraumatic stress disorder, but I know people who've been very unhappy, and I know of a lot of mother-daughter relationships including my relationship with my mother that are very complicated. My mother was a stay-at-home mother until I was older, so the whole idea of the mother having to choose between a career and being a mother was not an issue for me. But I know people that it's an issue for. I don't have children, so I can't speak as well from the mother's point of view. And also the idea of being attracted to men who are not necessarily the best choice is something that I can relate to, although luckily, I eventually got involved with somebody who was not such a dark character. But I think Leigh is very attracted to dark characters.

TMN: Well, I think the film was great. I really liked the thriller aspect of it. It kept me on my seat the whole time. I loved Meat Loaf's character an I always love him in all the stuff that he does.

Jane Weinstock: Good.

TMN: Yeah, I appreciate you talking to me today, and is there anything we can look forward to seeing from you in the future?

Jane Weinstock: I am writing a new script, which is about the sexual revolution and its effect on this family, a father, a mother, and a daughter. It takes place in 1970.

TMN: Where at in 1970?

Jane Weinstock: Probably the Midwest, actually.

TMN: Oh.

[chuckle]

Jane Weinstock: That'll depend on the financing probably. But in a university town. At the moment, it's in Oberlin.

TMN: Ohio?

Jane Weinstock: Yes.

TMN: Well that’s good because some of us here in Ohio are still stuck in the 70‘s.

[chuckle]

TMN: Well, if you come to Ohio, we'll welcome you.

Jane Weinstock: Oh, thank you. Thank you.