Just Getting Started is a not so classical holiday film about reinvention, competition and survival.
Duke Diver (Morgan Freeman) gets the chance to live the high life as manager of a luxurious resort in Palm Springs, California after being placed in witness protection. His paradise starts to crumble after Leo; (Tommy Lee Jones) a former military man likes the same woman (Rene Russo) that Duke is interested in. When things couldn’t seem to get any worse for Duke, his past suddenly catches up with him and he must put aside his differences and team up with Leo to stop whoever is trying to kill him.
Director Ron Shelton, writer/director of Tin Cup and Bill Durham does it again with this comedy. Check out our exclusive interview below with cast mates, Morgan Freeman and Rene Russo as they discuss behind the scenes, set life and this “feel good” movie.
The Knockturnal: What did you connect with the most with Duke Diver?
Morgan Freeman: Well he’s charming and I think I’m charming.
The Knockturnal: And he’s also extremely competitive, so what would you say you’re extremely competitive about? Is there anything?
Morgan Freeman: I’m just really not the competitive sort. I don’t play sports. If I lose in something… if I beat someone at something I feel guilty.
The Knockturnal: Really? Ok so Duke gets to reinvent himself during this film, how would you reinvent yourself if given the opportunity?
Morgan Freeman: I wouldn’t change a thing about me. Well yes I would, but not much.
The Knockturnal: This film looked like it was so much fun but how was it being on set with Tommy Lee Jones and Rene Russo?
Morgan Freeman: Fun, fun. It’s one of those movies where you can safely say; oh we had fun making this one. Yeah we had a really easy going director. He wrote it, he was not married to it that strongly, well he was married to the dialogue I’m saying, as writers are but he wasn’t anal about it and that’s always good. Plus he has big ears, if you have an idea, something to comment on, he’s willing to listen and of course I’ve been a big fan of Tommy Lee Jones since I don’t know when and Rene’s so it was just great. We had a great crew; I mean team of guys that were my cronies. You know Graham Beckel, Joe Pantoliano, yeah.
The Knockturnal: It was a squad!
Morgan Freeman: Squad, yeah.
The Knockturnal: During this time there are so many holiday movies, why should audiences check out Just Getting Started?
Morgan Freeman: This is a feel good movie. Holiday seasons, if you’re going to go to the movies, you’re going to want to go see a feel good movie not something that will put you down in the dumps or make you sorry you went.
The Knockturnal: Exactly, during the holidays you want to be happy. But I just have to know personally, can you actually limbo?
Morgan Freeman: No.
The Knockturnal: Was that a body double?
Morgan Freeman: Yes. Well there was a time now. I mean I’m 80 [years old] so bending down like that and then supporting yourself that low to the ground ahh no no, not anymore.
The Knockturnal: What did you love most playing Suzie, and is she anything like how you are in real life?
Rene Russo: I think I’m closest with Suzie than any other character because I think she does manage to get things done somehow and there is a strength to her but she’s always kind of hanging by the thread a little bit so I would say I’m most like Suzie than any other character. Ron’s other film that he did as well, Tin Cup that’s kind of similar but I would have to say, that’s me.
The Knockturnal: Speaking of Ron I was going to say, how was it working with Ron and Morgan Freeman again?
Rene Russo: Well Morgan I didn’t work with, we were in the same film but I didn’t really get great scenes with him or any scenes with him. It was amazing working for Ron. When he called he said, would you like to…and I said yes, I didn’t need to read the script. I didn’t know who was in it and then when of course Morgan and Tommy were in it I was like, oh my God working with these two giants you know and it’s one thing to think of it and it’s another to come in the room and see them standing there. It was actually intimidating. I mean, Clint Eastwood I was intimidated by a little bit because he just doesn’t speak and these two at the same time, I was like, oh my God. I realized I had to really be on my game. They’re professionals, they want in and out. They want your actress to like get the lines and sometimes I’m like, what’s my line. It was like, oh God. So yeah it was kind of tough. It was tough.
The Knockturnal: So how would you describe the set life? Was it more serious, were you guys clowning around?
Rene Russo: Ok here’s what’s interesting. These guys don’t feel the need to talk. I mean they would sit next to each other like this. Literally I would look at them like oh my God they’re in these king chairs, they’re not speaking, they don’t feel like they need to speak where I, as you can tell, don’t shut up because I…I was cool around them. I was cool but I think it’s uncomfortable to sit next to somebody and not talk to them. It’s like ok, what do I want to say, what do I want to say and you just didn’t talk to Tommy unless Tommy spoke to you because you don’t know actors. Maybe he’s in character and he doesn’t want to talk, but once Tommy started talking, you realize that there pretty much isn’t anything he can’t talk about or doesn’t know and he is just incredibly complicated and he’s like a badass on the outside but I think he’s really soft on the inside so that was interesting to see. He’s really complex and Morgan is like suave bola, you know, he’s like so charming and he sings in the desert, he has a beautiful voice so off set it was fun.
The Knockturnal: Just so easy for them.
Rene Russo: Exactly.
The Knockturnal: Their characters got to play poker, they were in a limbo…they got to do all these crazy things but we didn’t get to see what you can do so I wanted to know, do you have any crazy talents that we don’t know of?
Rene Russo: Oh my God that’s a good question. Talents…oh yes, gardening! I’m a really good gardener. I love just…I’m a California girl and so I love all of our native plants which when the settlers came East, came West from the East they pretty much yanked everything out of the ground and planted roses, so I’m sort of trying to bring California sense of place back and so I fancy myself as a pretty good gardener.
The Knockturnal: That is a pretty amazing skill because I kill all my plants! I’m a terrible plant mom.
Rene Russo: Yeah but that’s because you probably never really started. Like you would, and I have help anyway to teach me how to do it so I’ve had a long time to learn.
The film hits theaters this Friday!