Actress Heather Graham dishes on her directorial debut in Half Magic, Harvey Weinstein, and the #MeToo movement in her latest chat with LA Confidential.
You make your directorial debut with Half Magic, what was is like taking the reigns?
HEATHER GRAHAM: It was so fun because I got to say something that I wanted to say and it just felt like a labor of love. I felt like I was having a baby and that the movie was my baby, and I just felt very loving toward all the actors and the crew. I felt very maternal.
There are so many funny actors and actresses in this movie: Molly Shannon, Thomas Lennon, Angela Kinsey. How did you manage to nab all these people for the film?
HG: I really lucked out. I mean, they’re all so funny. I pretty much told everyone, “Look, if you want to add something, if you want to improv, you can.” I mean, a lot of the stuff is the stuff I wrote but I just wanted them to feel free to do that. So people would do that and some really funny lines in the movie are completely made up, like Chris D'Elia made up that line about his emotional gun.
Molly Shannon is a friend so I lucked out with that. Also, Johnny Knoxville’s a friend, but Thomas Lennon I had never met before. I was just blown away he agreed to work with me. I felt so lucky, and Angela and Stephanie, I just lucked out.
I imagine with a movie like this, that there are a lot of moving parts, but what was, perhaps, the biggest challenge?
HG: The most difficult thing was getting the money. And we had one false start where were we had this group of financiers, mainly this one guy that said they were going to make the movie, and then we went into preproduction and then they revealed to us they didn’t have the rest of the money. So we had to fold that version of the movie, and that was devastating, and it was so upsetting. And then we met our financier, Bill Sheinberg, and he made the movie a year later, which turned out to actually be good because the movie came out a year later. The movie’s coming out now when people care about this issue more than they’ve ever cared about it. So it’s kind of weird that the universe had—it was good timing for us that the movie’s coming out now and not last year.
Heather Graham, Angela Kinsey, and Stephanie Beatriz star in the romantic comedy Half Magic.
Are you referring to the #MeToo movement?
HG: I’m talking about Harvey Weinstein, people talking about sexual harassment at work, people talking about sexism in the movie business, #MeToo, Time’s Up, the Women’s March. People actually seem to care about this issue and people are getting fired for it, which I don’t really think ever happened before so this is massive.
Had you seen any of that firsthand?
HG: I actually wrote this piece for Variety about how Harvey Weinstein basically propositioned me, which is basically that he called me into his office, he had all these scripts, and he said, “I really want to work with you. Choose one of these scripts. Let’s do it together,” and then he was like, “And my wife and I have an arrangement that, when I’m out of town, that I can have sex with whoever I want. So can we hang out when I’m in LA?” And I was like, “Ugh.”
So when the stories first started coming out, I told that story, too, because I just thought, “You know what? I know it’s true because I’ve been around him.” I just wanted to throw my name in there that, yes, that happens.
What do you hope to do next?
HG: I guess I want to direct again now. I do feel like directing is a little bit like taking the best drug that I’ve ever taken. I mean, it felt so good to create this environment where you could tell a story with all these brilliant people. So I hope I get to have that feeling again, it was great.
Photography by: Photography courtesy Rodin Eckenroth; courtesy Momentum Pictures