June Diane Raphael

Submitted by on Oct 20, 2015

“Grace and Frankie”Star June Diane Raphael Talks Writing”Bride Wars”and Not Playing the”Fun Squasher” Woman

“Even five years ago, actresses were expected to just walk off into the wilderness after a certain age and never be heard from again.”

Cosmopolitan.com spoke to Raphael — whom you might also know from her podcast How Did This Get Made with husband Paul Scheer or from her last movie, Ass Backwards. with writing partner Casey Wilson — about her new show, the limited roles for women in Hollywood, and her first job out of college: writing Bride Wars .

Bride Wars was one of your earliest work experiences; you and Casey Wilson basically wrote it out of college. What did that teach you out of the gate about Hollywood?

You wrote it when rom-coms were starting to really get trashed. They’re having somewhat of a comeback now, but it wasn’t a good time for them then. How did that color your experience?

It was interesting, the reception of Bride Wars. A lot of things happen with studio movies … they take on a life of their own, there’s a lot of input from a lot of people. So a lot of times, by the time you’re watching the finished product — it’s very different from the original script we wrote. I’m so proud of the movie and stand behind it, but there’s a ton that goes into creating a big budget studio movie, [a] comedy especially. So, that said, what I loved about the movie was that it was really a rom-com about two women, and about their friendship, which I feel hadn’t really been done, and it was taking the tropes of romantic comedies and wanting to be married, but focusing it on this friendship, and how women can be distracted by the wedding, the dresses, and the this-and-that. And that’s all great and fun, don’t get me wrong — there’s nothing I love more than a wedding dress — but they’re really ruining this friendship that could’ve been for the rest of their lives. So that was the whole draw to the movie initially. My relationships with my girlfriends are so intense and amazing and hilarious. That’s why, in my own writing, that’s been the focus.

You and Casey are writing your third movie together. What it about?

I can’t get too much into the logline, but I will say if Ass Backwards was sort of our time in our 20s, this is definitely about a different time in our lives … our late 20s and early 30s. Totally different from what we’ve explored before. We get in a room and talk about ideas, and we just laugh. There’s something great about having a [writing] partner because I’m like, Well, I don’t know if it’s funny but I guess if she’s laughing it is.

Why are you making the movie with Gary Sanchez Productions and not Gloria Sanchez Productions [the female-centric arm of Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s production company]?

We are doing it with Gloria Sanchez Productions.

Oh, you are? I read Gary online.

Gloria Sanchez didn’t exist when we first started to pitch them the idea, [but] we are doing it with Gloria Sanchez, which I’m so excited about.

Jessica Elbaum [who runs Gloria Sanchez Productions] was at Gary Sanchez and she came to the premiere of Ass Backwards [which Gary Sanchez produced] and was like, “This would be perfect for Will’s company,”and I was like,”Well, that would be a dream come true.”And then she ended up becoming a good friend of ours. We were all very intent on, and this is a conversation Casey and I were having: God, we need to do it for ourselves. We need to not play the wife who’s the fun squasher. We need to create these insane women who we want to play, who are bananas and awesome and flawed and real, and not worry about them being likable. which just makes me want to blow my [mumbles ] fucking brains out. So, Jessica was like,”I wanna create this division of the company that’s just focused on that.” And, that’s what she did and it’s amazing and we’re so excited to be part of it.

Does that mean you were getting offered too many fun squasher roles?

A lot of roles I get offered are — and I think this happens a lot in TV, although it’s totally changing — but it’s about supporting the men and being like “you guys are so crazy, stop it with all your antics.” I just don’t have any interest in those types of roles. I have certainly played the wife or the girlfriend, and I’ve tried to find my own way into it that’s interesting and different, but that’s a decision that I feel like I’ve made, which is turning down things that I don’t feel are suited for me.

Ugh I love that. I love that. I love that!

It’s so lame now to ask a woman about being a woman director or a woman writer or a woman whatever — like we’re past that. Yet there’s obviously some difference or else women wouldn’t be craving better support systems like this.

Well, I think what you’re focusing on is the right thing, which is that there are so many women supporting each other. We’re [normally] set up to compete. What Jessica’s doing with Gloria Sanchez is all about, No, let’s all come up together, there’s room for all of us. It’s not about fighting it out for that guy’s attention. That’s boring to me, that’s not interesting. I’m so excited for this moment in time because we’re going see, and I think Grace and Frankie is a part of this too, we’re going to see different stories. With Grace and Frankie. these women are having full, new chapters at their age, and guess what? They are in their 70s and they’re funny and they’re sexual and they’re smart. Even five years ago, actresses were expected to just walk off into the wilderness after a certain age and never be heard from again. That is exciting to me because I’m headed there, we’re all headed there. I want to be doing a show in my 70s.

Your character on the show is not the wife or the girlfriend. But is she the “chronically single woman”? I can’t tell yet, six episodes in.

No, she’s definitely dating in other episodes that are coming up. You’ll see her attempt at a dating life; it’s not great. What I love about her is she’s a little wrong-headed about things and strong-willed. She has a line where she’s like, “I don’t want to subvert my needs.” It’s hard for someone like that to connect sometimes and be vulnerable.

I think it’s a dating issue that a lot of feminist or independent women have, at least the women who are now in their early 30s that I know.

Well, a part of being in a relationship is being open and showing someone your weaknesses and your vulnerabilities and your insecurities, and feeling safe to do that. And that’s hard when a lot of women are pursuing their careers or are told time and again to toughen up. And so to really open up — it is a strange moment in history for women, because it’s kind of uncomfortable to do that, to turn one thing off and let the other thing happen. You have to if you want to be in an intimate relationship.

You just had a baby a year ago.

So there are huge life changes?

June Diane RaphaelJune Diane Raphael
June Diane RaphaelJune Diane Raphael
June Diane RaphaelJune Diane Raphael

Leave a Comment