Sometimes the only way people realize how important reconnecting with their family is is when they experience a devastating loss together. In the new film ‘Darling Companion,’ which was co-written by husband and wife filmmaking team Lawrence and Meg Kasdan, and directed by the former, the characters start to feel love again after rescuing an abandoned dog. When the dog becomes lost, his owners must learn to work together and communicate again in order to find him.
‘Darling Companion’ follows married couple Beth and Joseph Winter (played by Diane Keaton and Kevin Kline), who are dealing in their own separate ways with their two daughters, Grace (portrayed by Elisabeth Moss) and Ellie (portrayed by Lindsay Sloane), starting their own lives. With Joseph extremely involved with his career as a surgeon, Beth views him as self-indulgent. In order to fill the void of love she’s feeling, Beth rescues a dog she finds on the side of the road, and names him Freeway.
After Grace marries Sam (played by Jay Ali), the veterinarian who saved Freeway, at the family country cabin, her parents linger behind. Joined by Joseph’s sister, Penny (portrayed by Dianne Wiest); her new boyfriend, Russell (played by Richard Jenkins), who everyone feels in only taking advantage of her; Penny’s son Bryan (portrayed by Mark Duplass), who’s also a surgeon; and the cabin’s caregiver, Carmen (played by Ayelet Zurer), Beth and Joseph embark on a frantic search to find Freeway after he becomes lost while on a walk. In the process, everyone learns that family is the most important thing in life, and how to reconnect.
The Kasdans recently took the time to sit down for a roundtable interview at New York City’s Regency Hotel to discuss the process of writing and directing ‘Darling Companion.’ Among other things, the filmmakers spoke about what it was like reuniting with Kline for their sixth movie together, and the feelings of loss when their own dog was missing for three weeks.
Written by: Karen Benardello
Question (Q): Was it an easy process for a husband and wife to make a project like this, or was it a tug-of-war? What was the process like?
Meg Kasdan (MK): It was not difficult for us. We spent lots and lots of time together. Once we both committed to doing this, we had a really great time doing it together.
Lawrence Kasdan (LK): We had done another movie together, we had done ‘Grand Canyon’ together. It was a really satisfying experience. People always say, how does your marriage survive it? It isn’t like that at all, it’s really a fun, collaborative thing. I’ve written a lot of stuff alone, and it’s lonely and hard. I do it all the time, I’m doing it now. To collaborate with someone, which I’ve also done a lot, it makes the job more pleasant.
Q: Why were you inspired to put this film together?
MK: Well, we rescued a dog, and the dog was lost for three weeks in the mountains in Colorado. We had a real adventure searching for him for the three weeks. Eventually, we recovered him, and we still have him. He’s 14 years old now.
There were things that happened during that search that we felt maybe we could make a story out of those experiences. So it’s a fictionalized version of something that really happened to us.
LK: I was surprised, personally, over how upset I was over losing this dog. I knew I liked the dog. We had rescued the dog from a shelter. But I didn’t have any idea how deeply upset I would be at the thought that we had lost him.
We had a dog previously, and I think we were good owners. But it never happened, this sort of bonding. It had happened with this dog in a short time. I was shocked by it. The feelings were not any different than the feelings we had toward people. There’s a lot of resistance to that in the world.
A friend of ours who teaches literature at the University of Washington was telling us there’s a big debate in the academic community about if animals have souls. We thought, how can there be any doubt? It didn’t seem doubtful to us that a living creature has a soul. That was weird debate to me that it’s a big debate in academia.
To continue reading this interview, please visit Shockya.