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:


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.


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.


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)?

The Flix List: 10 movie scenes to celebrate back-to-school season

Hi folks, welcome to September! Well, to some of you, the Fall season means ‘back to school’ season. It’s been a while since my college graduation (I’m not gonna tell you how many years it’s been, ahah), sometimes I miss those fun college days. So, whether it’s you or your kids who are heading back to school/college, I thought I’d pick ten memorable scenes that get me all nostalgic about academic life. Please keep in mind this is not a ‘best of’ list as I’m sure I haven’t seen a whole bunch of movies that deserve to be on this list, the idea is to hopefully prompt you to think of other scenes that make you nostalgic about ‘back to school.’ As you can see, I have lots of 80s movies on my list 😀

Ten Things I Hate About You (1999)

I heart this movie! It’s perhaps my favorite high-school movie ever and it’s because of the chemistry between Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles. I’ve dedicated a post for this movie before, and I included a scene of Heath singing ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You’ which is one of my fave scenes from the movie. But I also love this one when Julia’s character is reading a poem (which is actually a really good one) out loud in front of her class. It’s such a genuine scene and Heath’s expression in the end is just priceless. I so miss this guy!

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

Yes, it’s utterly predictable of me to include a scene of HP with Alan Rickman in it, ahah. But I actually was trying to find a good classroom scene and find this one quite whimsical. Man, what I would give to have a teacher like Snape (ok, preferably without all the wizardry), but just to listen to him lecture for a full hour… I’d either end up being extremely good on the subject or utterly useless at it as I won’t be paying attention to what he’s saying at all. Anyway, I like this scene as it’s the first time we see the HP kids growing up and fussing over the homecoming dance. There is also that first hint of ‘spark’ between Hermione and Ron.

Dead Poets Society (1989)

I saw this movie ages ago, but it’s perhaps one of the most memorable movies I’ve seen back in high school. I remember being so affected by it and if you’ve seen this movie, you probably know why. This is one of my favorite work from the great Peter Weir and perhaps one of my fave Robin Williams roles who’s perfect as Prof. John Keating. I spent parts of my early years in a boarding school (not, not at all as posh as this one in New England, not even close), but I can relate to the camaraderie and being really affected by a caring and charismatic teacher. I wonder whatever happened to Robert Sean Leonard as he was really memorable here (as well as in Swing Kids), I’d think he’d have as decent a career as Ethan Hawke.

Class (1983)

Ok so it’s not as rowdy or raunchy as Old School, but Class paints a pretty fun and rambunctious picture of college life in an expensive prep school. The teen-heartthrobs of their day, Andrew McCarthy and Rob Lowe played roommates Jonathan and Skip, one a country boy and the other a rich and suave playboy. Things get um, complicated (and funny!) when Jonathan somehow ends up sleeping with Skip’s mother, played by the alluring Jacqueline Bisset. Yes, it’s silly at times, but what 80s movies aren’t? 😀

[I can’t find an exact scene I want to feature, so here’s the trailer instead]

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Ok, who hasn’t had a crush on a teacher before, right? I mean, especially if the teacher looks like Indiana Jones! I love this rare scene of Dr. Jones teaching in class, and definitely one of the most memorable. Jones’ expression as he tried to read what’s written on the female student’s eyelid is a hoot. Man, no wonder Indy is everyone’s favorite Harrison Ford role, he just captures the archaeology-geekiness down pat!

With Honors (1994)

Brendan Fraser starred in quite a few school-related movies in the 90s (he was also in School Ties and Glory Daze). I remember quite liking this one where he played a straitlaced Harvard student whose thesis paper is somehow being held hostage by a homeless man and of course, it ends up being the best thing that ever happened to him. Joe Pesci played the homeless guy and y’know it’s perhaps one of the more um, sympathetic roles he’s played. The classroom speech scene here is one of the highlights of the movie. Yes, it’s a bit over-idealistic and syrupy, but overall it’s got a moving and uplifting message.

The Breakfast Club (1985)

As someone growing up in the 80s, a back-to-school movie list just won’t be complete without a John Hughes movie. I didn’t go to high school in the US so I’m always fascinated by it. American high schoolers just look soooo much cooler, but there also seems to be a whole lot more pressure to fit in. The story about five very different students bonding and baring their souls to each other in detention is brilliantly directed by Hughes, starring members of the Brat Pack. This whistling scene is pretty funny, just one of the many memorable scenes from this John Hughes classic. If detention were this much fun, who wants to be in class??

A Beautiful Mind (2001)

Yet another crush-worthy college professor scene… starting to see a theme here? He..he.. actually, it’s not intentional, trust me. I just happen to think this ‘heat vs. noise’ scene is quite memorable for the palpable chemistry between Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe, even without as much as touching or even being near each other. Connelly uses not only her logic but also her feminine wiles to solve the problem at hand… “As you’ll find in a multi-variable Calculus there’s often a… number of solutions to any given problem,” he quipped … and boy, Crowe really should smile more often 🙂

Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)

I have a real soft spot for this Howard Deutch movie, which is also written by John Hughes. I’ve featured this in this post to commemorate Hughes’ passing back in 2009. It focuses on the quintessential teen angst and dealing with that big first crush and suffering from unrequited love… the best stuff about high school right? We’ve all been there before and I can certainly relate to what Watts is going through, though unfortunately I never became good friends with any of my crushes in high school, so Watts certainly is luckier than she thinks 🙂 This is by far my favorite scene from the movie… Eric Stoltz wasn’t really my type but I couldn’t help having a major crush on him on this movie!

Spider-Man (2002)

Well, as a self-professed superhero geek, I can’t possibly not have a movie from that genre on the list. I think the first of Sam Raimi’s Spider-man has a lot of great high school scenes and capture the whole teen angst perfectly. Puberty is tough enough without having some weird, um condition like Peter Parker does and this scene in the cafeteria is funny and cool at the same time, going from pure euphoria to utter humiliation to total awesomeness seeing the nerdy kid give the cocky jock what deserved! Tobey Maguire with his melancholy puppy dog eyes was perfectly cast as the awkward teen with a heart of gold.

Well, that’s my list. Now your turn, please share your own favorite back-to-school movies and/or scenes in the comments!

Some Kind of Wonderful – my fave John Hughes movie

SKOW80s iconic director John Hughes died Thursday of a heart attack whilst taking a walk in New York City. He was only 59. I can’t help feeling nostalgic as growing up in the 80s, I watched a lot of his films: The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink. He was a visionary who has an uncanny ability to appeal to teens, offering a slice of that tumultuous years of our lives. His wasn’t 90210 or Gossip Girl kind of high school, it was a realistic and riveting portrayal with real teen angst and awkwardness.  Yet he made the awkward and the outcasts ‘cool’ and endearing, and threw the ‘Norman Rockwell’ style of a perfect family that was prevalent at the time out the window. He made quite an impact in the span of a decade, not only did he pretty much invented his own genre of teen malaise, he also made stars out of his actors—The Brat Pack: Molly Ringwald, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson and Andrew McCarthy were all household names to his credit. His tremendous success with that specific genre still have an impact on how movies are marketed today, with the film industry targeting specific age groups in their campaigns.

But out of all of his movies I’ve seen, the one that made a lasting impression on me is Some Kind of Wonderful, which was written by him but directed by Howard Deutch. I must have seen this gazillion times, but I’d turn to mush every time I watch it. As I didn’t go to an American high school, this movie gave me a glimpse of how it’s like living it, whether it was accurate or not is beside the point. The story of a tomboy who secretly has a crush on her own BFF Keith. Now who hasn’t felt that in high school, college or any other time in life? It’s a classic love dilemma all of us can relate. But of course, the boy in question has a crush in someone else, and not just anyone, she’s the prettiest, most popular girl in school, complete with her dirtbag rich boyfriend. The story of unrequited love always appeals to the hopeless-romantic side of me, especially when it’s your first. Eric Stoltz as the destitute but charming boy Keith made me wish I had a best friend like him (which was kind of impossible since I went to an all-girl school) and I could see the appeal he had on Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson).

The kiss training scene is arguably the best scene of the whole film. Watts’ been helping Keith land the date of his dreams with his crush, even though she secretly despised it. As the date looms, she offers to ‘train’ him on how to properly woo his date. It’s such a funny and toe-curling-ly moving scene, funny how clueless guys often are even when the signs are smack dab in front of them, and how resourceful some of us can be when it comes to love. I love Watt’s line, “Lesson’s over. You’re cool,” to which Keith reply, “You’re blushing… that was very nice, you’re pretty.” Ha.. ha! I absolutely adore this scene!

Of course, the second best part is the ending — “You look good wearing my future.” Hughes has a gift for one liners, and this one gets me every time. See this if you haven’t already, and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

RIP Mr. Hughes. Thanks for the memories.