Q and A With… The Cast of The Women

The cast of the new film talk about love, relationship, fidelity—and more.

In The Women, infidelity infiltrates what is supposedly a good marriage. Why do you think people cheat?

Debi Mazar: That’s the first question?! Women stop having sex with their husbands after children possibly. Or before. There are many reasons…

It’s an interesting scene when Candace Bergen (who plays Meg Ryan’s mom) finds out her daughter’s husband is cheating. Her response is to tell her to keep quiet about it and not tell her husband. Is infidelity even less accepted now than it was in the 1940s and 1950s?

Meg Ryan: There’s definitely a generational difference in how women cope with male infidelity. There are also certain observations I think are interesting in the movie, i.e., should she stay in the marriage or should she go? The film tries to make a case for both, with the X factor being the fact that she was still in love with her husband. When this occurs in a woman’s life, it’s an enormous thing—your husband is cheating on you, what do you do? Who are your allies and who comes to your aid? All these things are, I think, relevant and equally true now. It’s just different observations on an age-old trouble.

Debi: And we have Prozac now! I think that back in the 40s, women used to have to shut their mouths. But today, no one really accepts infidelity. Certainly no one deals with infidelity well, period. Women, men, no one deals with it well.

Eva, was it fun to play the scheming other woman?! What did you want to wrap your claws around?

Eva Mendes: I like that “claws” … I just wanted to bring some fun to her. We didn’t want to vamp her out and make her this evil woman with an arched eyebrow! We wanted women watching to realize that the other woman is not a bad person; she’s just desperate.

This movie had no male actors for you to play off of. How did you play that estranged romantic relationship then?

Meg: I kinda had someone in mind. But I’m not telling you who!

Eva: I had someone in mind, too. Wouldn’t it be funny if it was the same person!?

The film touches on men having issues with dating successful women. Do you think this is relevant today?

Meg: I think it’s definitely something women deal with, still. I don’t want to generalize, but I feel it’s easier to be more outwardly defined as a man than a woman. Women just find their value in a lot of different ways. When a woman is eclipsing a man out there in the marketplace, or wherever, it definitely is trouble in a relationship. It’s something that needs to be coped with intelligently—as intelligently as you can.

I loved how when the two best friends had a fight, their breakup was just as impactful as if it happened between a boyfriend and girlfriend. Do you have good girlfriends like this that you can go to for romantic advice?

Annette Bening: I am really lucky because I have such wonderful close girlfriends in my life. Some of them are from when I was a little girl, and we used to play pretend together. And then I’ve really stayed close to a number of girls from college, my acting conservatory friends. There’s a kind of sustenance that you get from your female friends that is so unique. And I know that if I’m struggling with something, if I sit down with a few of my girlfriends, I feel that it puts me back on track.

Meg: I feel the same way. I have a very close tribe of girlfriends—I don’t know what I would or who I would be without them.

Meg, what advice would you give young women who are dating?

Meg: Don’t give up your girlfriend for a boyfriend. Because guys are going to come and go, but good girl friends are the greatest!

Contributing entertainment editor Susan L. Hornik is based in Los Angeles.
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