The role of motherhood as portrayed in film and television has often taken either a saintly approach ("The Donna Reed Show," June Cleaver in "Leave It to Beaver") or one so horrible that it terrifies you for years to come ("Mommy Dearest," and "Psycho"). Neither are completely accurate, and neither truly resemble what moms go through on a day-to-day basis. "Bad Moms," the new comedy written by "The Hangover" duo Scott Moore and Jon Lucas, tries to not only poke a little fun at the "mommy war" lens so popular on social media, but also offer a hilarious, slightly offbeat look into what real moms go through.
We sat down with the leading ladies of "Bad Moms," Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn, to talk about their feelings on having men write the script, navigating motherhood in Hollywood, and getting cool points with their kids for knowing Princess Anna.
Moviefone: I'm a mom of an eight-year-old girl, so I related to so much of the movie. But, let me ask you something: What were your reactions when you first read the script and saw that it was written by two men?
Mila Kunis: The first time I read the script I was not aware that it was written by two men. I read it and I was thought, What a great movie, this should be done and I'm so excited this is going to happen. Then I flipped to the front cover to see who had written it. I looked at it and I thought Oh, wow! Not at all what I expected. Let alone the guys who wrote "The Hangover," where you're thinking I can't believe these two movies live in the same human's brain, but you meet them and they're so wonderful and so smart and so kind. They so wrote this as a love letter to their wives because they have these amazing, wonderful partners in life that help with their kids and they interviewed hundreds of women to get the story together. It ended up making sense once you get to know them. In the beginning, I was a little shocked.
Kristen Bell: I thought it was a great example of defying all obstacles. I'm all for promoting women in the workplace and diversity, because different perspectives are very, very important. But I also think its okay to acknowledge when two men do a brilliant job of telling a female's story. That should be acknowledged; they actually were uniquely observant and took our feedback as moms and they were open and not ego-driven at all during the process. They wanted to learn and I think that's why they made such a great script.
Mentioning that, was there a key moment when you guys actually went back and said, "No, a mom would not do this," or "I would definitely not do this ... my character wouldn't do this"?
Kathryn Hahn: No ... for me at least, there was no ... it's such an escape, the movie, it feels like such an awesome, fun, wish fulfillment, that all of it felt like "Oh wouldn't that be ... " so nothing felt unrealistic because it all felt like something that was a dream. It just felt so fun.
That being said, there's a lot of stories to be told about motherhood. Are there any stories that you would want to tell about motherhood yourselves?
Mila Kunis: I've got a long way to go before I tell a story. Ask my mom, she'd have better ones. I think I have been a mom for too little time.
Kristen Bell: I think this one is a really important story: I think having become a mom I have so much respect for my mom now because I think the hardest thing to do on planet Earth is to birth, nurture, and care for a child then release it into the world and reaccept it as an adult. I think that's probably the hardest thing on the planet; I think it's the hardest thing I'll ever do; I know it's the hardest thing my mom has ever done, and I think that's maybe a story worth telling.
Kathryn Hahn: Any time a woman's story is told as complicated and rich and full as they deserve to be told, I'm all for. So a period of a woman's life when she's a mother is an enormous period that is also complicated and messy and beautiful and hilarious and painful and all of it in one. So yes, I think there are many more stories.
I have to give you props as mothers. As women, you've navigated Hollywood so wonderfully. But I want to know, how does it affect you? Because, as moms, we're already under a microscope. You guys have got to be under an even heavier microscope. Does that change how you perceive going out to work, or how you parent?
Kathryn Hahn: They handle it so well, these two.
Mila Kunis: It doesn't change the way I parent, because, at the end of the day, my number one priority is raising a good human being. But I will say, yes, there are times when I can't always go to the park with my kid. There's that issue, but only for her safety, not for anything else. Other than that, I will never sacrifice my ability to raise her as a decent person due to my concerns about what other people think.
Kristen Bell: My specific take is that I think I realized a few years ago that I was the one holding the microscope and that if I just put the microscope down it was so freeing because, in truth, my healthiest place is "I don't care if you judge me because as long as I'm comfortable with my actions and I'm doing estimable acts in my life then I will have self-confidence and self-esteem." So it was an epiphany for me when I realized I was the one allowing the microscope to exist and once I put that down it felt liberating.
So Mila and Kathryn, have you earned any cool points with your kids now that you know Princess Anna?
Mila Kunis: Mine has the attention span of a gnat. She's only 21 months old, so she hasn't been able to sit through ... "Peppa Pig" is the only thing she sits through because it spans seven minutes. But boy, let me tell you, when she watches "Frozen," I'm going to be like "That's mama's friend." Not only that, but it's no doubt, it's the coolest thing, [Kristen] came over for a birthday party, we were swimming, and my girlfriend had her seven-year-old there. I cannot express to you what happens to these kids when they figure out that this is the real-life Princess Anna. It's like a different existence occurs ... the seven-year-old almost started crying ...
Kathryn Hahn: Beatles nothing!
Mila Kunis: Nothing. Kristen Bell walks in and they're like "Uhhhhh" -- it's just this other ... I can't explain it. Mine is too little, but I've seen it happen firsthand, and it is wonderful and I can't wait to abuse this friendship.
Can you talk a little bit about what's going on with "Frozen 2," or do you not know yet?
Kristen Bell: I wish I knew. I know that they are taking a very long and diligent and specific time to write the script -- to get it right -- because this team is so committed to having the script be valuable and a story that needs to be told. They're not settling, so we haven't actually seen the script yet.
Mila Kunis: That's exciting!
"Bad Moms" opens on July 29th.