Director Susan Seidelman talks ‘The Hot Flashes’

Director Susan Seidelman, whose film credits include “Desperately Seeking Susan” and “She-Devil,” recently spoke with “Breakthrough Entertainment” about her new sports comedy “The Hot Flashes.”

In “The Hot Flashes” – which opens Friday, July 19 exclusively at Harkins Camelview 5 – Brooke Shields, Virginia Madsen, Daryl Hannah, Wanda Sykes and Camryn Manheim play an unlikely group of middle-aged women who challenge the high school girls’ state basketball champs to raise money for a mobile breast cancer screening truck to continue its work.

Question: What was it about this project that initially appealed to you and drew you to the directing chair?

Answer: I got the script around 2008 and the first thing that appealed to me was the title – “The Hot Flashes.” Being a person of a certain age now in my life, I thought that it was about time that somebody made a movie about middle-aged women. There are so many great actresses out there that there are no parts for so I thought that this was a great ensemble for five actresses of a certain age. And I thought that dealing with the issue – in a comedic way – of being middle-aged was something that really is not usually touched on in Hollywood movies.

Q: And how about once you were in that aforementioned directing chair? What about this project excited you most?

A: These women are dealing with not only the personal issues in their life but also the challenge of playing basketball. They are getting their old 1980 high school basketball team back together, resolving all of those issues that we all harbor from high school, challenging the current 18-year-old girls championship team and doing it for a good cause. So, for me, there was something exciting about these women having the physical challenge as well as the emotional challenge of dealing with their own self-esteem and proving their own worth at this stage in their life.

Q: Tell me a few words about each of the members of your cast. Brooke Shields?

A: Really nice person. Elegant and beautiful, but you would not believe how nice she is inside. She is as beautiful inside as she is outside.

Q: Virginia Madsen?

A: Feisty, sexy and sassy.

Q: Daryl Hannah?

A: Sweet and quirky. Daryl is great because she is a little shy and a little goofy. She is not goofy in real life but she is shy in real life. And I think that is something that people do not know about her.

Q: Wanda Sykes?

A: A fireball and funny. She is funny on screen and she is funny when the cameras are not rolling, as well.

Q: Camryn Manheim?

A: Earthy. Down to earth. Solid. Straightforward. Direct. Tells it like it is.

Q: If viewers come away from this movie with only one theme or idea, what do you hope that would be?

A: I think that the takeaway is that the only limitations a person has are the ones that they set for themselves. People often reach a certain stage in their life where they think that they are not appreciated. To me, it is not about age or what you do. It is about inner strength that I think everyone has – no matter what their age. This team does something that they did not think that they could do. And the fact that they succeed at it makes them feel good personally and also does something good for the community.

Q: Finally, what is your message to moviegoers?

A: This is not just a movie for middle-aged women. I hope that men will enjoy it, too, because it is funny. And I hope that younger people enjoy it because everybody hopes to be middle-aged and beyond. I believe that movies about older characters do not have to only be seen by older people. I think that that is one of the sad things about some Hollywood movies. Once an actress reaches a certain age, she suddenly no longer gets to be the leading lady. Working on this movie gave me an opportunity to work with five very unique and very different actresses that are not seen very much on screen in leading roles. That, to me, is a waste of talent because as you get older you get better.

Joseph J. Airdo

Joseph J. Airdo is a film critic, producer and on-air personality for Breakthrough Entertainment, a talk radio show airing 10-11 a.m. Saturdays on KPHX 1480 AM and BreakRadioShow.com that shines a spotlight on the practical perspectives of the topics and themes explored in movies. He has a pet duck named Frozen who is as opinionated about movies as he is. E-mail him at joseph.airdo@gmail.com.

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