Interview: Multiple Sarcasms' Mira Sorvino
Having grown up idolizing Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, it was difficult to look at Mira Sorvino and not think of her as the woman who proposed a miracle diet of candy corn, jelly beans and gummy bears and had a major thing for Billy Christianson. Luckily I was able to pull it together and switch gears to put the focus on Sorvino’s upcoming film Multiple Sarcasms. Giving me an extra nudge? Sorvino is quite convincing in her role.
She plays Cari, a free-spirited record executive and Gabriel’s (Timothy Hutton) best friend. He’s an architect suffering from an identity crisis obsessing over his venture to write a play about his life, which obviously damages his relationship with his loving wife (Dana Delany) and daughter (India Ennenga). When it all starts to unravel, Cari is there to pick up the pieces as best she can, and she's the film's main source of humor and ultimately reason.
Not only did Sorvino have a lot to say about her experience playing Cari and her thoughts on the character Gabriel, but she also delved into her passion project--working as a UN Goodwill Ambassador fighting human trafficking. She also had some interesting thoughts on the male-female friendship at the center of the film, and whether two heterosexual people can ever be "just friends." Check it all out below.
Do like playing characters that are a little off kilter, like this role or Romy in Romy and Michele?
I mean, I like to play all kinds of parts, but this one was fun because I like the ebullient characters and she is one of those. She’s just very off the cuff and says what she feels and thinks in the moment. She’s not tremendously concerned with protocol but she’s a good person and a little bit of a loner. There was more in the film originally where you sort of got more of a picture of her life. She kind of views herself as this kind of punk gal who’s living this great life, but I think at the core of it, she’s pretty lonely. But, yeah, she’s more outgoing than I am, so sometimes I like to play characters that have more confidence and are a little bit more ballsy and whatever than myself.
A major theme of this movie is people being stuck in a rut. Has that ever happened to you and how did you deal with it?
Wow. I’ve gone through periods in my life where then I made a change or stepped back. After years of working back-to-back, I kind of escaped to Europe for a while and just stopped being a movie star, just was back to almost being like a tourist. I was almost like myself as like a student tourist, because people didn’t recognize me and I could just be normal. That was right after the height of my fame and I was kind of overwhelmed and not very happy. The biggest revolution in my life though is having my family, getting married and having children. My life is completely different now. I have three children, five, three and nine months and even just getting ready to come to press today was this sort of Olympics of managing different things. I don’t care about the business the way I did before. I care about my family the most and if it all went away, I might be disappointed, but it would not be the be all end all. The be all end all is my kids and I’ll always be happy with them no matter where we were. You’re no longer this selfish entity of like, ‘Oh, what will fulfill me?’ It’s like, ‘No, what did they need and how can I make them happy and how can I make them a great life that they can then grow up to be good people and be good members of the world, community?’
Your character has this line to Gabriel that goes something like, ‘I exist and I don’t want to be a way for you to experience yourself.’ Did you have any input in that?
I came up with that line, yeah. ‘I won’t be another way for you to experience yourself.’ Because he’s sort of going from woman to woman and then he shamelessly puts them all into his play. He promises them that he won’t and then he does. I think many men go through a period certainly, when they’re younger especially, where women are just sort of a new flavor, a new way to try out life and sex is a way of living an adventure, but it’s not really a deep interpersonal experience. It’s more like going on a rollercoaster or having a great glass of wine or something.
Without that line you’re a co-star in his life.
I think we discover she is sort of in love with him, but she’s tried really hard to repress that and tries really hard to be a good friend and not ever create a conflict for him and his family, you know? And so she’s always been there as like the buddy and for his wife as well. There were other scenes cut out where I call the wife after they had that fight in my presence to make sure they were okay and things end up on the editing floor, but I really tried to make an effort that she’s not like a home wrecker, she’s not there to take him, she’s kind of sublimated whatever feelings she had for him and she’s his best friend and she’s his family’s best friend.
A lot of movies use this concept that two people of different sexes that are heterosexual can’t be friends. In movie plots they always have to fall in love or have suppressed feelings of love for each other. Do you think this is realistic?
Well, remember they also started off as teenagers kind of fooling around, so it started with a romance and then kind of went underground for 20 years or something. But I have found in my life it is hard to maintain best friendships with a straight guy. If you have that much in common, then why isn’t it a romance?
Most people think the best marriage involves two people married to their best friend. What do you think about someone who’s married, but not to their best friend? Do you think the marriage is heading for trouble when there’s that third person there?
Yes, if there was a third straight person in that mix of the opposite sex, I think that that would be a problem. Definitely my husband’s my best friend, and it’s caused some of my regular even female friendships to suffer a little bit because he’s the one I go to for everything. We’re each other’s best friends and so I don’t have as much time and certainly not with the three kids for all of my other friends that I love dearly.
Do you see yourself writing something to reflect these insights now that you’re a mother and have this ability to distance yourself from your previous adventures and all?
I do some fictional writing sometimes. I don’t know if it’ll ever see the light of day. People have talked about doing like a mommy blog or something and I don’t know. I haven’t really joined the whole Twitter, Facebook generation yet. I know that there’s a Facebook page with my name on it and I think my publicity firm bought it or something or has it. I don’t know what they have to do to get it, but I’ve never gone on it, I’ve never done anything with it. I’ve never tweeted. So I’m not there yet. The writing that I do now mostly is I write my own speeches for all of my activism that I do because I’m a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN on trafficking so I always do my homework and write my speeches for that, so that’s sort of what my official writing is.
Can you talk more about that?
Well, I just came back from Mexico where the Mexican government is the first in the world to officially adopt the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes Blue Heart Campaign, which is the idea is a blue heart sort of the way that AIDS has the red ribbon or breast cancer has the pink ribbon, to try and make it a worldwide awareness and action priority for every nation in the world. But Mexico is the first one to really come forward and say, ‘Yes, we’re going to emblemize the Blue Heart Campaign’ and so the president, Felipe Calderón, came out and spoke on this dais with all of us and was very passionate about it, which is great because Mexico is a place where a lot of work needs to be done.
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