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In Jason Reitman's Tully, Ron Livingston plays a challenging role. Drew, the husband of Charlize Theron's Marlo, is the father of three children, but leaves most of the parenting to his wife while he works and frequently travels on business. This might immediately paint him as an absentee dad, but the movie works to compensate for it by adding scenes of him pitching in - for example, helping his kids with their homework. The funny thing is, that scene was actually a late addition to the movie, because apparently test audiences initially reacted negatively to the character.
Earlier this month I sat down with Ron Livingston and co-star Mark Duplass at the Los Angeles press day for Tully, and bulk of our conversation surrounded the ways their individual roles depart from being architypes. In the case of Drew, I noted in my question that the movie shows him helping out and contributing, but Livingston revealed that wasn't always the case. While he didn't exactly get into it at length, he suggested that there were some reshoots after early screenings that helped his character's image a bit.
Drew definitely isn't ultimately depicted as a bad dad or even necessarily a bad husband in Tully, but he is a bit tuned out to everything that's going on even while actively making an effort. Describing Drew's role as a parent in Tully, Ron Livingston told me about a conversation that he had with Jason Reitman about the character, and used an analogy to try and get his impression across:
I had a conversation with Jason where I was like, 'Okay, so there's the [personal assistant] who is ignoring his walkie; there's the P.A. who has a dead battery and didn't check; and I want Drew to be the P.A. who is eagerly listening, but he's on the wrong channel.'
Click play on the video below to watch my interview with Ron Livingston and Mark Duplass for Tully, which includes also Duplass' thoughts on his complex character: Marlo's wealthy brother, Craig, who actually isn't the stereotypical snobby jerk that you expect.
In Tully, Charlize Theron's Marlo is an exhausted and overworked mother who has just given birth to her third child. Completely overwhelmed, she accepts an offer from her brother (Mark Duplass) to hire a night nanny. This introduces Marlo to Tully (Mackenzie Davis), an ambitious, philosophical young woman who slowly begins to reshape the way Marlo looks at her life. You'll be able to see the film soon, as it will be arriving in theaters courtesy of Focus Features next Friday, May 4th. Stay tuned for more of our coverage here on CinemaBlend, including my interview with Charlize Theron and Jason Reitman!