Based on the classic children’s book of the same name, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, opens on October 10th. The Disney film follows the exploits of 11-year-old Alexander Cooper (Ed Oxenbould) as he experiences the worst day of his life.
But for the rest of his family, including his mother, Kelly (Jennifer Garner), and father, Ben (Steve Carrel), it’s the next day that turns into a total disaster.
Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner spoke of their new family film at the press day for the movie.
How do you lift up your kids’ spirits when they have a bad day and let them know it’s not so bad?
Steve: You know, my wife and I go through this from time to time and part of the challenge for us is not being overly sensitive to our kids having good or bad days because you can drive your kids crazy by saying “Are you okay? Is everything all right?
At least tell me what’s going on.” Sometimes, they might be having a privately bad day and you just want to work through it yourself and you don’t want your parents trying to make it better.
Ultimately, we’re not always going to be there to make it better. Like if they get assigned to a class that doesn’t have all their best friends in it, allow them to make new friends.
Life is going to hand you twists and turns. You can’t make every day a great day. It’s just not realistic.
Jennifer, you’ve played moms before. What do you think is the key to playing a convincing mom?
Jennifer: Have I tracked what it is to be a great mom? No, but that’s the great thing about being a parent; every day is a fresh start. You always can say “Today, we’re gonna try this.” If it goes horribly you can say “Today we’re throwing that out and trying this.”
That’s part of what I like about being a mom in general. I have enjoyed this new world of playing moms. This little kid, whose mom is a teacher at my child’s school, said “Mrs. Affleck (Jen is married to Ben Affleck) is kind of like my mom. She gets to have a lot of other kids.” and I feel that way.
Steve, after doing The Office on TV for so long, with all adults, what was it like working with so many kids?
Steve: It was the worst (he laughs). No, it was great. They are so much fun, including the babies that were in this movie which we all fell in love with. I had nothing but love for these special, special little people.
Is there a danger to being too positive like the Coopers are?
Jennifer: Oh sure because you need to have a bad day and show kids that it’s okay to have the whole range of emotions.
You should have it all; rage and anger and sadness so that there is a lot of room for joy and happiness as well.
What do you hope families take away from this movie?
Jennifer: I do feel so excited that we get to be part of a real family movie. This is a movie that teenagers should like. I brought my 5-year-old to see it and she loved it too. Her favorite scene was Steve with the kangaroo.
I hope by the end of the film you feel more like a family when it reminds you that, whatever happens, you’re all going through it together.