Meadowland, which premiered on April 18 at the Tribeca Film Festival, tells the story of a couple dealing with the harrowing aftermath of their son going missing. Olivia Wilde stars in this female-driven drama, and behind the scenes, the film also had a strong female team behind it. Wilde produced the movie along with Margot Hand (Tumbledown), and Reed Morano, who was cinematographer for The Skeleton Twins, shot and directed the film.
After the film’s debut, the trio spoke to EW at the Bombay Sapphire after-party about the creative process behind Meadowland and women making films in Hollywood.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Reed, this is your directorial debut, but your background is in cinematography. How was the transition from solely operating the camera to also directing the actors?
Reed Morano: I thought I had a lot of responsibility as a DP, but you get into a way more vulnerable position as a director, and you have a responsibility to not only make a compelling storyline, but also a responsibility to be there for the actors. If you’re going to take them to this place, you got to know how to be there for them in the right way. So, it was scary but it felt like a natural transition especially because I was shooting it as well. I just kept everything [with the cameras] really simple. I was so much more concerned with getting the story right and being there for the actors. I could’ve given two sh-ts about what was going on with the camera, and it actually taught me that maybe that’s the way I should approach it all the time.
Obviously an actor needs to trust their director a lot and, Olivia, you called Reed your “Ride or die.”
Olivia Wilde: Ride or die! Either me or Jay-Z said it first, one of us.
I’ll give credit to you. But it’s rare that someone is shooting and directing you at the same time. As an actor, what was that experience like for you?
Wilde: Oh, it’s so nice—it’s such a luxury. I wish more directors were capable of that and it is such an intimate experience because Reed could adjust my performance from two, three feet away from me. We could also improvise in the middle of scene. Where the script scene ended, we would continue and find something else, and either I would be following her or she would be following me. It was a really unique experience. It’s just not possible with most directors.
Hollywood is so male driven, and there are so many strong females behind this project. Did you find that you ran into any challenges or did you find that there were advantages to having such a strong female force behind the film?
Margot Hand: Financing and getting a female-driven drama off the ground was probably the most challenging female aspect of the movie, because unfortunately we still live in a fairly misogynistic world in terms of film sales and value, so that was really difficult. I think for me personally, it made it better. It made it easier to do my job because I was so empowered and I felt so invigorated by the entire process that I was just so happy to be there. I wanted to do whatever I could to make these ladies proud and give them what they needed to make a movie.
Wilde: I think that certainly was the biggest challenge in terms of being women, but in terms of how it really helped us is that I think women are natural multitaskers, and we handle crisis in a natural way. This was not an easy project to pull off but it felt like a very smooth set, like a very calm set, a very positive environment, and I credit that to our team. I think that has something to do with how women handle problems. That’s why women make great directors and great producers.