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Married with Children

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Jennifer Westfeldt has written and starred in films exploring same-sex relationships (her 2001 breakout hit Kissing Jessica Stein) and couples therapy (Ira & Abby). Now, she tackles children in Friends with Kids, her sincere, deeply funny directorial debut. Westfeldt and Adam Scott play friends who decide to have a baby together but keep their relationship platonic. Jon Hamm, Kristin Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Chris O'Dowd star as Westfeldt and Scott's married-with-children friends. Here, we chat with the actress-director-screenwriter (who's been dating co-star Hamm since before Don Draper was even a glimmer in Matthew Weiner's eye) about her real-life views on the subject.

Do you and Jon think about having kids?

We do. It's hard to know if we will, or won't, or if it's too late, but, it hasn't been pressing for us. I kept thinking I'd wake up with some clarity about it and I haven't yet.

Is that why you made the movie?

It was born out of just watching the different ways in which our friends handled the transition, and being such a big part of their lives, but also being somewhat removed because we are out of sync with our peer group.

You also have to realize how much your friends with kids' priorities shift and understand them. You're mourning the loss of your one-on-one time with those friends, but they are too. It's incredible when your friends with kids get a free moment with you and get to go out for a drink or a meal, they can't believe it. Most of my friends all say the same thing, 'It's the most rewarding thing in the world but it's the hardest thing I've ever done.' No one really talks about that as much as they do the joys of it. It's interesting when your friends are really honest with you about it and say, 'It's unbelievable, it's amazing, it's like nothing else but it's the hardest thing I've ever done, I'm exhausted all the time, and I feel like I'm failing half the time.' That's the double-edge of it; it's the richest experience you'll ever have and it's the hardest one too.

Do you worry about how kids would affect your relationship with Jon?

Sure. We've been in such a long relationship and it's been such a successful one and such a romantic one and we have the luxury of going wherever we want. There aren't a lot of limitations on what we're able to do and what we're able to do as a couple. Obviously that shifts and changes if you have kids. You have to kind of give up the old life and reign in the new, and that's a big decision.

Adam Scott is so great in this. Is it strange to be in a movie with Jon where you're not playing opposite him?

Adam, Jon, and I have been friends for fifteen years, so it was sort of a no-brainer to cast him. I think he embodies the part and I can't imagine someone filling it in better. I don't think Jon was particularly right for that role. But also, I don't think anyone wants to see us play opposite each other.

Your production company with Jon, Point West Pictures, produced Friends With Kids. What was it like working together in that sense?

It was so exciting to be a part of something together from soup to nuts. We had a say in every decision. It's our first project through our company and I think, given that, we were left with a real sense of accomplishment. We got through this indie shoot in the dead of winter in New York in 25 days, which is insanely fast. It was really like being shot out of a cannon and just problem-solving every day when the lenses would be frozen because of the weather, or because your key crew members would be stuck in New Jersey snowed in. That brutal winter made making the movie even more challenging and, not to mention, having babies and toddlers on your set. Every day, there was a child-related or weather-related crisis of sorts.
 
Last winter in New York was really bad.
I was like, 'Really, New York? All I do is defend you, and this is what I get for it? And Jon's like, 'Exactly. This is why we live in LA!'

You mentioned having children on the set. What was it like working with the kids who played your son?
Adam and I were so in love with the child who played our son for the bulk of the film. He was just this ray of sunshine on our set. He would arrive and everyone would smile and be so happy. We definitely had discussions about just kidnapping him, like, 'Maybe they won't notice.'

Friends with Kids is in theaters March 9th.

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