Amy Smart is no newbie to the film world, yet she achieved a true first with The Single Moms Club. After making a name for herself in films such as Road Trip (one of our top 10 road trip movies!) and Crank, she had rarely been part of an ensemble. And the fact that it was a female-driven large cast in Perry’s latest, was all the better.
We caught up with Smart for an exclusive interview where she dished her hopes for the movie (real Single Moms Clubs!) and how she’s not “afraid to make a fool of myself.” Which of course, in a comedy… is a very good thing.
Movie Fanatic: The movie was inspiring and funny… was it like that on set too?
Amy Smart: Yes! That was Tyler Perry leading the helm. He’s so heartfelt and deep, but he also knows how to laugh and have fun. I think that was the vibe on set. He wanted all of us to have a really fun time shooting this, and having that intention, we all arrived ready to have fun.
Movie Fanatic: What expectations did you have for working on a Tyler Perry movie… and how were those different than the reality?
Amy Smart: I was slightly intimidated to work with Tyler Perry because he’s so successful. He’s so good. He’s built this amazing empire. I didn’t know what to expect. The minute I spoke to him, he told me that people come to set and have fun and I want you to have that experience. I just felt at ease and he was really wonderful. Because he’s such an actor’s director, those moments where you need to go deep emotionally, he was able to talk me there and get me to that place and what it represented in the movie. He made all those cathartic moments matter.
Movie Fanatic: You had to act with a baby. Was that a challenge? I mean, you improv with Wendi McLendon-Covey, but you kind of have to improv with a baby!
Amy Smart: With babies it’s hard to have much of a scene [laughs], especially because you don’t want to be holding them here (points to her waist), because you want to be able to cut them out [laughs]. You want to say, “Look at this baby,” and then do the scene with a fake baby [laughs]. You never know what you’re going to get.
Movie Fanatic: When you look back at this experience 20 years from now, what will you remember most?
Amy Smart: To me, in my life, there’s nothing better than sitting around with a small group of girlfriends having a glass of wine or tea and just chatting and talking. It’s like a group therapy session. When we had those scenes where we sat around chatting -- and of course Wendi and Cocoa (Brown) were so funny. Their improv was outrageous. That was a highlight having scenes when they’re together. I also like working with Ryan Eggold, because he’s such a lovely person. Yes, he’s good looking, but he’s a warm, nice person. We had fun with improv too.
Movie Fanatic: That was one of the best scenes in the movie where you and him are clearly talking about sex, but you’re using carpentry as a metaphor. How comfortable are you with improv?
Amy Smart: I love that stuff because I’m not scared to make a fool of myself. It was very helpful because Tyler Perry was in the background feeding me funny lines that he was coming up with. It was just in the moment, using his lines to come up with my own. The hardest part is keeping a straight face, like, “Am I really going to say this right now?” We’re talking about sex, but we’re really talking in circles around it!
Movie Fanatic: One thing about the film, evident from that first The Single Moms Club trailer, is how much of an ensemble this is. As an actress, what are the unique joys of working in an ensemble piece?
Amy Smart: For me, I feel like I haven’t worked with a ton of female actresses or any kind of female-driven films. It was such a new experience to be around these strong, funny women. I feel that women are just more complicated. Being an actress, I’ve been the “girlfriend of,” “the wife of...” the side character. Being around these women felt empowering. There was something electric working off each other. And we’re all so different as people, so it was fun complimenting each other.
Movie Fanatic: There are so many elements to the film. If you had a hope for what the audience will take away from The Single Moms Club, what would it be?
Amy Smart: Honestly, when we were shooting, it is such a great idea to have single mom clubs. It seems like a perfect support group for women. And the way it was structured in the movie… one woman babysits and the rest go out. They take turns. It’s like having a sisterhood. If anything, that would be my encouragement for women to feel that they can have each other, be supportive of each other. Not competitive or alienating each other, just embracing each other.
As we wait for Perry's latest, you can watch one of his latest ones... watch Tyler Perry's Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor online!