Marguerite Moreau spoke with Solzy at the Movies this week about the new film, Monuments, and a wide variety of subjects.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to chat with Moreau for The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers reunion episode. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to chat with Moreau about the new project and outside the constraints of the 7-minute press junket window. And then, somehow during the course of this interview, we found ourselves talking about Star Wars!
What was it about the script for Monuments that attracted you to the role?
Marguerite Moreau: The jokey answer is that I had just read The Stand by Stephen King and it had a whole part in Boulder and so I wanted to go to Boulder (Laughs). But the real reason was that I had lost my father about a year before that. I just felt like this was an opportunity to explore grief in my work and really give myself like a concentrated time to explore what’s going on in me and what goes on for other people because it’s such a weird thing we experience as humans and you don’t really know about it till you know about it. I thought that the film handled it in so many different wonderful ways. Plus, when I read the script, I was so curious about the vision of the director.
I am so sorry for your loss.
Marguerite Moreau: Thank you.
You’re welcome. I was telling Jack earlier but an adventure-comedy isn’t the first genre I think of when it comes to exploring grief on screen.
Marguerite Moreau: I know. Pretty cool, right? People don’t know what like I felt like—grief was not what I expected it to be so I felt like that pays respect to the experience itself.
Did you get a chance to check out the Field Museum when you weren’t filming?
Marguerite Moreau: Yes, I did. I was always running off as far as possible and buying trinkets for my young son, who was only three. It was a real treat on a movie of this size to get a location like that and kind of take it over. They were wonderfully gracious to us.
What do you generally look for in a character while you’re reading a screenplay?
Marguerite Moreau: Something that makes sense (Laughs) and isn’t exploitive and is interesting. That’s sarcasm, I know. I think I like to understand emotionally what people are going through. (This is where the call broke up a little bit.)
I really like characters that are trying to connect or figure something out or anything that has to do with interpersonal relationships is really my biggest interest because I feel like I learned a lot about how to be a human from going to the movies—how to be a good human, that other people are going through things that I’m going through, just how to connect.
As I was perusing your biography, I noticed you graduated with a degree in political science. How did you get interested in the subject?
Marguerite Moreau: Kitchen table. My parents were always, especially my mom, engaging us around the dinner table with current events. I always thought if I want to help people, government was the place to go. That was always my interest. It still is. What I do when I volunteer, it usually is about voting. It has been ever since I graduated but I really felt like I stepped into acting. In college, I thought, well, I’m gonna go do the thing that I always thought I wanted to do and see if I want to do it. But I’d caught the acting bug and so I also was like, this is where you get to decide if you’re going to do it as a grown-up instead of something you sort of fell into.
I think I felt like politics is a lifelong passion, it’s a little more cutthroat than acting. (Laughs) I thought it was a healthier business. I remember my thesis that I pitched was I wanted to do pop culture and politics. This was in1995. 1999 was the year I graduated so a few years before that, I said I want to do how media is influencing and specifically, celebrity is influencing politics—I think they’re going to merge in this way. They’re like, we have nothing for that—you don’t have to write a thesis; you can if you want to in the Poli Sci department. I didn’t really get a lot of encouragement and then to see what happened with the last administration. I was just like, I mean, not that it’s rocket science but I was right.
I started out as Poli Sci before going the communications route.
Marguerite Moreau: Oh, cool. What drew you to it?
I’m Jewish so when Al Gore nominated Joe Lieberman in 2000, I’m like, that’s when a Jew could actually make it in national politics.
Marguerite Moreau: Oh, yeah. Totally.
And then I saw Second City during freshman year in college and the improv bug bit me and the rest is history.
Marguerite Moreau: (Laughs) I understand. I had never acted with people my own age before or for free. I auditioned for every single thing that went up on the board at Vassar. I must have been cast in like eight things in the first quarter, not really understanding I would have no time to go to class and be in all those plays. It was a wonderful opportunity to get to explore both Poli Sci and kind of acting with new eyes if I was going to try to pivot.
What’s the best advice you would offer to child actors as they start making the transition into more adult roles?
Marguerite Moreau: I think one thing that took me a long time, just speaking from my own experiences, was to see my agents and managers more as peers than as authority figures or parental figures and thinking of them as my team. It took me such a long time that I think it took a long time to find what I felt like was a good home, which is where I’m now represented at Buchwald. I didn’t know how to work with them or encourage—kind of a drive my own team in not in that I have to call them every day but in how I engage them. I think my point of view took a very long time to kind of shift certain ideas of relationships because I was just so used to them as a kid.
I would say: anything that you can do to try and evolve from your childhood perceptions of (inaudible) on set, friends at work versus work is work. It’s just taken me a really long time to slowly evolve.
Have had the chance to watch the rest of The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers?
Marguerite Moreau: No, I haven’t. I’m so excited. I just watched pieces. I’m caught up to seven and then I kind of was pivoting over to Monuments for a bit. I also got obsessed with the show, Dickinson. Have you seen that?
Not yet. There’s so much on me between streaming, broadcast, and cable.
Marguerite Moreau: Oh my gosh, I know!
I don’t understand where these combined film and TV critics have the time to watch everything.
Marguerite Moreau: Oh, no, no, no. Would you think that it would be that you pick a genre or just what you’ve seem to respond to like, Oh, that sounds interesting. I’ll review that. Or is it really expected that you watch everything still?
With films I mean, the big awards contenders, I automatically watch those. Whether I write a review is a different story.
Marguerite Moreau: Right.
With TV, it’s generally comic book type shows, Star Wars, Disney+, some Netflix shows if they pique my interest. The same goes for HBO Max, Peacock, and Paramount+ these days. (While transcribing, I realized I left out comedy.)
Marguerite Moreau: Well, I did not expect to Dickinson to be so cool. It is irreverent. It’s cast like Bridgerton. It makes poetry so cool in the way introduces kids to it. But it’s David Gordon Green so it’s all EDM music. The kids talk like they do nowadays. It’s so much fun and nice after things are so serious during the day. That’s my pitch. Tell me what you think.
It does a good job.
Marguerite Moreau: Thank you. But I do look forward to watching Game Changers. It’s bittersweet and it’s been so fun to connect with all the fans. Because we kind of—like I said, when we spoke earlier that we all grew up together but we didn’t really know that everyone was enjoying it together. Instagram has been super fun to share old photos.
That was also the time when there wasn’t social media so you didn’t have that immediate—
Marguerite Moreau: I know! Ability, right?
Marguerite Moreau: Yeah, the kids now on the show are dumping photos every week of their fittings and all of that. And I’m like, Whoa, right, I’ve been sitting on these photos for 30 years. Not because I thought I would show them one day but just because I was like, Oh my G-d, I’m in a movie, mom! But yeah, I mean, I don’t know—what’s next? I think the world is sort of trying to get—
How has the pandemic been for you?
Marguerite Moreau: Well, like a lot of people, there’s some nice things and some terrible things. I feel grateful that time has slowed down to let me breathe a little bit because I’m a mover by nature. I think I also had the privilege of sitting in my child’s kindergarten class every day and learning how people learn, which was exciting, like, Oh, that’s how you learn to read. Wow! But at the same time, after a year, we were all incredibly—it was just really, really hard. My son is back in school and it’s in-person learning and I can actually have the time to speak with you today without being like, hold on one second or trying to figure that out, which feels like—I don’t even have words for it yet. I’m still like, is this really happening? Is this for real?
I think this movie that I’ve known about for so long and with the festival circuit not going this past year, which is too bad because we all got along like a house on fire—the creators and the actors—and had maintained a text chain as well even though we only thought for what 20 days, maybe, which is unique. It feels really special and I was worried it wouldn’t get a chance to really live and breathe but given the timing of everything, it feels so for perfect for its audience. People want things that are light and they want things that are relevant and that are fun but also to make you (inaudible) and make you think.
I only wish I had a chance to watch it with an audience.
Marguerite Moreau: I’m excited about that. We’re gonna do that tomorrow night.
Marguerite Moreau: Thank you.
It was so nice to talk with you again.
Marguerite Moreau: Nice to talk to you again. Yeah, totally. Good luck with Dickinson. I know you’re going to love it! I know you’re watching the Obi-Wan Kenobi show, too.
Kenobi’s still shooting!
Marguerite Moreau: I know. I got to audition for it. I was so excited. It was like a lifetime dream. To get it would be amazing but even just to get the sides. I was freaking out! We are huge Star Wars fans over here!
Between Jurassic Park in 1993 and the Star Wars Special Editions in 1997, that was when I knew I wanted to go into filmmaking.
Marguerite Moreau: Oh, cool.
And then, of course, 2005 comes and I’m like, that’s the end of Star Wars. There’s no more films and then lo and behold—
Marguerite Moreau: I know, right?
Disney buys Lucasfilm and more films come out!
Marguerite Moreau: Yeah, we are so lucky. I feel lucky for those actors, too, because they kind of get a second chance. Sometimes, it’s just the combination and that’s probably a thing that might feel really good for them or I hope it does.
Especially since the prequels were not that well received.
Marguerite Moreau: Yeah, exactly. But I watched Ewan McGregor’s Long Way Up, which is the third installment of his motorcycle series. He would go into the middle of nowhere where you would think no one would have ever seen those films. Someone clocks him and it’s like, an hour of pictures because everyone wants to hang with Obi-Wan Kenobi. I’m like, well, that’s awesome because my son’s five. He doesn’t know that those three films were not well received and he loves them. He wants to watch Anakin all the time and Obi-Wan is one of his favorites so I’m like, Okay.
Star Wars Celebration was here two years ago and I stopped by one of these booths where Daniels was going to be revealing the title of his upcoming memoir at the time. And so Friday, I get there and I’m freaking out because with social media, everyone’s using their phones and I can’t load Twitter to find out the question that I need to answer. By the time I actually get to the booth, it’s hard getting the words to come out of my mouth! And then that weekend, I need to C-3PO himself.
Marguerite Moreau: Oh, really? That’s exciting! Oh, wow. That’s really cool. It’s such a special, special franchise. I adore it.
Marguerite Moreau: Yeah. Well, here’s to enjoying many more and I’m sure I’ll talk to you again at another time.
Marguerite Moreau: Hopefully about Star Wars!
That would be awesome.
Marguerite Moreau: Take care.