Sarah Jessica Parker Talks About Her New Movie, 'Here and Now'

Sarah Jessica Parker's new film Here and Now, directed by Fabien Constant, explores what happens when a woman learns about her earth-shattering illness. The movie, out in theaters November 9, features a star-studded cast, including Jacqueline Bisset, Common, Taylor Kinney, Renée Zellweger and Simon Baker.

Parker's character, Vivienne, has alienated her family while pursuing her career as a successful jazz singer. She's a complex woman—something that's not always shown on film—who doesn't know how to confide in her family when she needs them most. Parker beautifully embodies Vivienne, finding it easier to find comfort in a stranger than her loved ones.

Vivienne knows that she doesn't have a lot of time left and she's left with a choice: Will she open herself up and repair her fractured relationships while she still has a chance? Vivienne's not perfect and is arguably hard to like at times, but now, on the cusp of this life-changing development, she has the opportunity to make things better. There is still hope for Vivienne.

Parker and Constant sat down with Newsweek to talk about the film and Parker's lead character.

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Sarah Jessica Parker (L) as Vivienne and Jacqueline Bisset as Jeanne in AMBI Distribution’s drama "Here and Now." Photo courtesy of Paul Schiraldi

Can you tell me what inspired you to make this film?
Constant: The complexity of a woman for who she is, the entire spectrum of who she is, not just one side or aspect of her. Sometimes, we ask ladies to be the mother, the worker, the performer, the challenger or the lover, but women can be all of those things together and especially this lady, [Vivienne]. She made strong choices. She tried to make her career, has a daughter. She's having an affair…. She's as complex and diverse as a real woman's life should be. That's something, unfortunately, we don't really have on screen to show all the spectrums of one lady. That's why we jumped into this together and tried to work on this. As a director, when someone is processing such hard news, it's internal, and she's given a kind of muted performance, even if there's a lot of dialogue and confrontation with people around. You can still see through her eyes what's happening.

You mentioned we get to see through Vivienne's eyes. The film starts and finishes with Vivienne's eyes opening and closing. Is this supposed literal?
Constant: It is. It's also very first-degree. How do you not want to shoot this? [Looks at Parker and laughs]. It's about diving into the perspective, brain and thoughts of this lady.

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Sarah Jessica Parker as Vivienne in AMBI Distribution’s drama "Here and Now." Photo Courtesy Paul Schiraldi

I noticed the color blue is very important in the film, and the name used to be Blue Night. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Parker: I loved the name Blue Night. We both did, but [these things] are sometimes out of your control. Other people have opinions—sales and marketing teams...

I like that name better too!
Constant: I was like you ladies, and I went with Here and Now at the end of the day. We tried our best to be really true and fair to our character, to Vivienne. I think Blue Night is beautiful…but it's metaphorical, a jazz reference…. Here and Now is very obvious, first-degree and honest. It's here and now for this lady.

Parker: But the aesthetic and cinematic experience is not at all a mistake. Those things are very important to Fabien, and even though we only had 16 days to shoot it, every single thing was purposeful.

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Sarah Jessica Parker as Vivienne in "Here and Now." Photo Courtesy Paul Schiraldi

Yeah. It seemed that way.
Parker:
[Talking to Fabien] Even when you captured things they weren't intending to capture, the idea was to be open to all possibilities and have a super nimble camera department. We would do something, and Fabien would say, "Oh, let's go do that. Let's capture that." And everybody did that.

Constant: That's true. It's coming ready. I think that's the key. To come prepared and ready. I think that's why we are a good match because she [Parker] comes very ready.

There are a lot of complex relationships in the film. I feel like Vivienne even has a strange connection to the Lyft driver. Can you talk about why she picked him to drive her around the city and why he was important to the film?
Parker:
She needs shelter. She needs a neutral space. The city isn't that anymore for her. The city is asking more than it's giving. The city has betrayed her in some way and it's taken so much—as it does even when you love the city—and I think this thing happens in his company. It's unexpected at first, it's hostile and it's conflict, and its aggression on both their parts. They're not listening to each other. Those things happen really fast in cars and cabs all the time but I think the confluence of events that bring them together, the coincidence, it proves comforting to her.

Constant: It's about trusting someone you don't know when it's so hard to express yourself to the people around you. It's way easier and fast to open your heart to a stranger. She witnesses that he was struggling. He was also going through the worst day in his own way. They might have more things in common than expected. I think it's also easier to confess to a stranger. That's what happens in those taxis.

Parker: There are possibilities because you can recreate yourself.

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Sarah Jessica Parker as Vivienne in "Here and Now." Photo Courtesy Paul Schiraldi

It's interesting to see Vivienne's relationship with her mother versus her relationship with her daughter. She might not be able to fix the relationship with her mother, but maybe there's hope with her daughter.
Parker:
I think the mistakes made in parenting are different. I think whatever mistakes the mother made, or that she holds her responsible for, are probably different than the mistakes that Vivienne is making with her own daughter. I always got the impression from the way Jacqueline (Bisset) and my character interact is that there's a difference of being over-bearing, the parent that's too present but also self-absorbed to one who sacrificed parenting because it was, in some ways, too painful to be half-in and half-out. It always felt to me that Vivienne didn't know how to share parenting. She didn't know how to let quality have value.

Like when her ex invites her to have dinner with the two of them, she declines.
Parker:
It's too painful to be in it with somebody and recognize all the ways in which you've fallen short. I feel like Jacqueline's character made different mistakes and Vivienne is making her own mistakes, but not without knowing the disappointment she feels with her own relationship with her mother. When Vivienne says, "I've missed so much," I think to say it out loud must be far more painful than to have known it all this time. It gives you hope. You think, no matter how much time she has left she will probably work hard to correct that. Her daughter is more forgiving, I think, than Vivienne is to her mother.

Constant: It's also out of love in both situations. It's clumsy. It's badly expressed sometimes. Jacqueline's character, Jeanne, is over-invasive, intrusive but she wants to come, she wants to see Vivienne perform. All of this is out of love it's just that how real life is sometimes. When you're facing a hard day, it's so easy to explode in front of your mother. It's easy to be pissed at your mother. It's the safest thing in the world. It's like you're a teenager again. You'll always be your mother's child and so it's the easiest thing to be 15 again and slam the door. It's an escape in a way and only your mother loves that.

Don't miss Here and Now when it debuts in theaters, on demand and digital November 9.

Sarah Jessica Parker Talks About Her New Movie, 'Here and Now' | Culture