FlixChatter Interview with Lea Thompson on ‘The Trouble With the Truth’, career longevity in Hollywood and her directing debut

Though it hasn’t officially starts until October 19th, the festivities of Twin Cities Film Fest has begun! Last Wednesday I got the chance to meet Lea Thompson just before her MN theatrical premiere of her indie film The Trouble With The Truth. I got to meet both Lea and the film’s writer/director Jim Hemphill, here they are at red carpet that night:


I’ve posted my interview with its director Jim here if you haven’t read it yet. I’m glad MN film fans got to see the film on the big screen, and they did a Q&A afterwards.


Thanks to Dallas & Jake for the great shots!


Meeting Lea was definitely the highlight of my week! I was waiting for her at the Showplace ICON lounge waiting to talk with her and was chatting with a couple of people when she approached us. Being from Rochester, Minnesota, she certainly still has the warm Midwestern manner. It’s so lovely meeting her, I mean I grew up watching her films in the 80s… All The Right Moves, Back To The Future, Some Kind of Wonderful, etc.  It’s been three decades since her big break in Back To The Future, yet she still looks as beautiful and youthful as ever, she didn’t look a day over 35! But it’s her wonderful, warm personality that will make me a fan of hers forever.

Speaking of Back To The Future, that very movie was playing on one of the TVs right above us. How cool is that! So here’s the transcript of my interview with the Lea:

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Let’s talk about The Trouble With the Truth. I love your role as Emily. I find that as a female audience, I find that there are so few meaty roles for women out there. She’s not just the girlfriend, or the wife of so and so.

It definitely was a meaty part. When I got the script, I couldn’t put it down. I just couldn’t believe someone had written a part that interesting. I mean, her perspectives keep changing. At times it seems like a male perspective, and sometimes he’s got the more female [perspective]… So it’s very interesting which is like real life, because people often want to put us into little pigeonholes, but all of us are a lot more complicated than that. So it’s very rare to get great parts like that.

lea_sally_cabaretI’ve had four really great parts in my career. One is Lorraine from Back to the Future, this one [in The Trouble With the Truth, I’ve done Sally Bowles in Cabaret on Broadway, and also the role in a TV movie called The Substitute Wife. So those are my great parts.

I also think Amanda Jones in Some Kind of Wonderful is a pretty great part. I mean initially you think she is this way but she has a certain depth the more you get to know her in the movie.

Yeah, Some Kind of Wonderful is close, but not as great as those other four. I do love that movie.

It is timeless. As a lot of John Hughes’ movies are.

It is. People love it. People love the music, the costume, etc.


So back to The Trouble With the Truth. Is it because of the strong female role that made you want to sign on as producer?

Yeah. I helped cast it, I helped getting it together in some way. So yeah, I’m proud of that. I’m really proud of this film. Y’know, it’s hard to get films that weren’t made by studios to be seen by people, so it’s great to have these independent film festivals where they embrace it. They get people a chance to see it, talk about it, discover new filmmakers and meet new filmmakers. It’s so exciting and I’m so happy that the Twin Cities has a film festival now I spent time at the Guthrie, the Children’s Theater, MN Dance Theater, Chanhassen Dinner Theater, the MN Orchestra is wonderful, so it’s great to see films celebrated too in MN.

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There’s a lot of dialog and long takes in this film. How do you approach a role like this? Was there any improvisation or ad lib at all?

There’s hardly any ad-lib, it’s all script. There’s only tiny bit parts when we got up and move to a different location, there’s a bit of improv there, but we stayed to the script. The process was that we rehearse every day for like 2 hours. I mean the shooting was fairly simple but the takes was like 12 minutes long. The takes was hard but it was fun. They had a camera on hand and a camera on me, so it was easier to improv things, not on the words but on how you act it. I can laugh in one take, and cry in another in the same place. So I don’t have to do the same things all the time.

I have to mention Caroline in the City which I love.

Oh thank you, thank you.

You worked on another TV series, Switched At Birth [on ABC Family], which was on fairly recently.

Yes, I’ve been doing that for the past five years. We still have 10 more episodes they’re going to air in January.

Is that season 6?

Yes and I directed the 100th episode which was really nice.

Between working in TV and movies, which one do you prefer?

Oh I’m happy to get whatever job I can get. I mean, I’m directing TV stuff, I’ll be directing The Goldbergs [ABC] in two weeks, and I’m also acting in Scorpion [CBS]. I also just finished my own independent film The Year of Spectacular Men.

I was just going to ask you about that.

So yeah, my daughter Madelyn Deutch wrote The Year of Spectacular Men, she also starred it in and scored it. My other daughter Zoey is starring in it along with myself. It’s a family project and I spent the last year doing that.

Lea with her daughters Madelyn (L) and Zoey (R). Photo courtesy of Huffington Post

Is it too early to talk about the synopsis of it?

It’s about a young girl struggling to figure out what life is after graduating from college. So it’s a Millennial movie. It’s also a story about sisterhood, it’s a love story between two sisters and five horrible boyfriends. Something everybody can relate to.

Is your husband [Howard Deutch, who directed Lea in Some Kind of Wonderful] involved at all in this movie?

He’s a producer, but he doesn’t do too much. I kept him out of the way.

Now that you have two of your daughters in the business. What tips did you give them when they told you they wanted to act?

Well it’s an ongoing thing. I’m always giving them advice, I’m kind of their acting coach. Y’know, we’re kind of contemporaries, we’re at times doing the same job. I’ve been through what they’ve been through or what they’ll go through. I know the ups and down of the business, so it’s nice in that way. I think a lot of people like to hire children of people who have had some success as the kids know it’s work and you have to keep at it. You never just get your big break and everything’s gonna be great. Look, we’re doing an interview under Back to The Future playing on TV right now. I did that 31 years ago and I’m still out here handling my movie that I’m doing.

It’s a testament to your talent and the fact that you’re so prolific in the business!

It’s about the work. It’s not about the fame and all that stuff that’s fake. It’s all about the people you meet and get to meet, the audience. I mean without art, the world is gonna be a complete disaster. We need to make people compassionate, we need to make people feel things, to help people understand how another person live and not be so quick to judge. Artists and stories are super important and I feel that it’s a noble profession. I feel honored that I get to do this for 32 years… no actually I started my first ballet I did here in MN when I was 11. So it’s been 40+ years that I’ve been in the biz.


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THANK YOU so much Lea for taking the time to chat with me.
It’s such an honor and privilege meeting you!


Hope you enjoyed the interview! What’s your favorite Lea Thompson role(s)?

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26 thoughts on “FlixChatter Interview with Lea Thompson on ‘The Trouble With the Truth’, career longevity in Hollywood and her directing debut

    1. Awesome Michael! She is as beautiful in person as she is on screen (if not more so) and so warm & welcoming. Glad to see her directing w/ her two daughters!

  1. What a shot with Lea’s arm wrapped around you! Ha! I loved your interview, Ruth. Especially how she acts/is filmed on the set and then her 2 lovely daughters and their collaboration with their Millennial movie. Awesome opportunity, Ruth. Great work!

    1. Hi there Cindy! I was so honored to have met her, and she was really so kind and warm, definitely one of the most awesome celebrities I’ve ever met. It’s so great to see someone like her thriving in Hollywood AND wearing multiple hats too!

  2. jackdeth72

    A very good interview of a very smart lady, Ruth!

    Ms. Thompson has been around long enough to have made her mark and connections early. And wise enough to work in and be a force to be reckoned with in independent films. While still holding onto directing and acting opportunities in films and “The Big Three” of network television.

    Very much a system John Sayles developed decades to keep his hand in producing and directing independent films. By writing screenplays for Hollywood bankrolled films. And using that money to fund more personal independent projects.

    Very cool indeed!

    PS: Check your e-mail.

    1. Hello Kevin! Amen to what you said man. Yes, it seems you have to be a content creator on top of performer if you want to thrive in Hollywood and Lea’s certainly understood that. I can’t wait to see her film The Year of Spectacular Men!

      P.S. Just replied, sorry for the delay!

  3. Another great interview Ruth! I’ve always liked Lea Thompson and kind of bummed out that she never became a super star but glad she’s been busy and still works in the business for a long time. I know many people always think of her from Back to The Future but the first movie I saw her in was Howard the Duck! Lol. After I saw her in that movie, I started watching her other movies from the 80s including Back to the Future of course.

    1. Hello Ted! Glad to hear you’ve been a fan of Lea, she’s certainly one of the most prolific actresses who’ve been around since the 80s! I think despite not being a major movie star, in a way it’s better that she works steadily up until now. Thrilled she went into directing, too, we need more female filmmakers!

        1. Oh I see. You should check out Some Kind of Wonderful, it’s written by John Hughes who’s famous for a bunch of great 80s movies like Ferris Buellers, Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink, etc.

  4. Wonderful interview! Lea has been my favorite actress since the 80’s and I’ve followed her career ever since. I finally had the chance to meet her briefly a few years ago and she was incredibly nice and sweet. I had it all planned out what I was going to say, but when I actually met her, I could barely speak a word. LOL She has made a ton of movies that very few have seen. If you get the chance, I would recommend The Unknown Cyclist and Fish Don’t Blink, although they may be hard to come by. Both are MUCH better than they sound (LOL), and Lea is phenomenal in them both.

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