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Malin Akerman Talks About ‘Couples Retreat’

Malin Akerman Couples Retreat

 

Malin Akerman in ‘Couples Retreat’

© Universal Pictures

Malin Akerman and Vince Vaughn play a married couple who are the unofficial ‘leaders’ of their circle of friends in the Universal Pictures comedy Couples Retreat. Akerman plays a mom for the very first time in the film, written by Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau, and at the movie’s LA press day she said she was fine with being a mom onscreen. “I grew up. It was a lot of fun to do. I am 31. I could be a mother of two, no problem. It’s always fun to do [different things]. I’m always intrigued by any roles that are different from the last. It’s nice to exercise all your muscles.”

But that wasn’t the only thing that drew her in to Couples Retreat. “I was more attracted just to the script and the dynamics of everyone, and then I went, ‘Wow, she’s got two kids. That’s kind of cool.’ I am the oldest of four siblings, so I’ve had a lot of experience in raising kids. It wasn’t completely foreign to me, but it was definitely a huge difference, in going from action hero [in Watchmen] to mom, which is also a type of hero.”

And the fact Couples Retreat filmed in Bora Bora certainly didn’t hurt. “Obviously, you can’t really call it work when you’re there,” joked Akerman. “It’s just an amazing vacation. Between every take, you just look out and you go, ‘Wow, we are in paradise.’ Of course, we did get a lot of work done and it was supremely enjoyable. We had such a great cast. It was such a great way to start a film. It was 3 ½ weeks in Bora Bora. Anytime you travel, the cast and crew gets to hang out. You really get to know each other well, which was a nice base for this film, especially, because we’re all couples who know each other. We’re supposed to be good friends. So, we all ended up hanging out and having dinners together. It was fantastic.”

First-time feature film director Peter Billingsley (remember him as Ralphie in A Christmas Story?) allowed a lot of room for the actors to play with the script. And co-writers Vaughn and Favreau were equally open to changing up their script, if the actors had better lines than what they’d written. “It was actually a really nice experience because it was so collaborative and everyone was so open to taking ideas. It just felt like a team effort, which is nice for us who didn’t write the script, because we were allowed to have a voice. It’s nice to come in and go, ‘Well, I don’t know if she would really say this.’ And Vince would go, ‘What do you think she would say? What would she do in this situation?’ It was just about fleshing it out and trying to make it as three-dimensional and real as possible, which is always nice. You don’t always get that opportunity. It was a really great experience, in that sense,” offered Akerman.

That said, Couples Retreat was also a bit challenging in that Akerman wanted to make her character as truthful as possible, and this film marked the first time she played a wife and mother dealing with relationship issues. “At the bottom of this film it’s all about relationships, and everyone in life has some sort of relationship, whether it’s with your family, your friends or someone you love. It wasn’t as difficult as far as trying to relate to what you’re saying or what it would be like if your husband wasn’t listening to you, because that does happen in real life. You want to snap him into the reality,” said Akerman.

Akerman added, “I’m always nervous going to set, no matter what. No matter how many months into it, I’m always nervous and excited, even though it’s a good nervous. There was a lot of improv as well, which I find exciting. But you just want to make it as good as possible. The challenge is always where you go, ‘Okay, how can we heighten this and make it the best scene ever?’ Every day is that challenge. It’s not something specific.”

Well, maybe there was one specific thing… Akerman and the cast had the opportunity to swim with sharks and she admits that was a little scary. “Actually, our guide had a shark bite on his arm. Right before we jumped in, I asked him, ‘What kind of shark bit you? That must have been a big one.’ And he was like, ‘Actually, it was a lemon shark,’ which was the kind we were about to swim in. But, he was spear-fishing them.”

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October 15, 2009 - Posted by | 1

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