- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 25, 2016

While living in the Irish countryside with husband Daniel Day-Lewis and their two children, Rebecca Miller was once trapped with her family in their home for weeks, awaiting three feet of snow to melt.

“It was a great time for writing, for our family. It was very intensely itself,” the actress and writer/director told The Washington Times. “It was the opposite of New York,” she added with a laugh.

And yet the city life was never far from Ms. Miller’s heart. She returned stateside and began working on what would become the new film “Maggie’s Plan,” opening Friday in the District. Part soap opera and part comedy melodrama, “Maggie’s Plan” starts Greta Gerwig as a New Yorker determined to have a baby on her own. But then she falls in love with the married John (Ethan Hawke), which spells doom for his marriage to the artist Georgette (Julianne Moore, employing a unique accent).

“I was very lucky that I had gotten who I wanted in this film,” Ms. Miller said. “Julianne is a really close friend of mine. I literally dropped [the script] through her mail slot.”

Ms. Miller discussed the project with Hollywood legend Mike Nichols before his passing in 2014. He expressed not only support for it but also his enthusiasm for casting Mr. Hawke as John. (Nichols in fact directed Ms. Miller in his 1990 film “Regarding Henry,” which starred Harrison Ford.)

“He had a great understanding of dialogue as sort of music,” she said of the director of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “Working Girl.” And I think rhythm is everything in comedy.”

With her actors in place, Ms. Miller tailored the script to the strengths of her cast, which also includes Bill Hader and Maya Rudolph.

All of them are writers.

“I didn’t go out to cast five writers, but clearly I did,” Ms. Miller said. “There’s something about the way that they express themselves, the way they speak, that I think it becomes all the more believable that they live in that world. Not everybody can pull it off.”

The number of male versus female directors in Hollywood remains terrifically unbalanced. Ms. Miller would like to see more women and minorities behind the camera, not simply because of their gender, but because they’re the best qualified for the job.

“I’m less interested in hearing about women directing differently. They don’t direct differently; human beings direct differently from each other,” she said. “Which doesn’t mean that I don’t acknowledge that there is a problem, because statistically there is one.”

With a New York film now in the can, Ms. Miller can turn her thoughts to future projects. Her time in the Emerald Isle, she said, has absolutely spurred her creativity.

“I’m definitely a city person, but living in the [Irish] country was very enriching,” she said. “I got so much writing done. There’s a reason there are so many great Irish writers.”

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