LOL MOVIE CAST – Written and directed by Lisa Azuelos, LOL is a new coming-of-age comedy based on her 2008 French smash-hit, LOL (Laugh Out Loud). When it came down to casting, Azuelos was especially ardent about casting Demi Moore as Anne, the mother. As a matter of fact, she only wanted Demi Moore. “I wouldn’t have done it with any other actress. I didn’t want to do the remake to just do the remake. I said, ‘If I do the remake, it’s Demi Moore, otherwise I’m not interested because I’ve already done the movie.’ The only person I want to see as the mother is her,” she reiterates.
However, it wasn’t until her first day of shoot that Azuelos was firmly convinced of why it had to be Moore. “The first day she arrived, she increased joy at least twice as much as I did. And she’s a joy increaser too. She loves to invite people… We’re like the same type of women.” Given that both women had gone through a divorce and experienced what it was like to raise teenage children alone, there was nothing more for Azuelos to explain for Moore to capture that character on-screen. It simply came down to the question, “How can we make so many people relate to our story?” Not only did they never argue, but the two had matching working styles. Azuelos insists that working with her was “just pure pleasure.”
Moore made a big impression on the producers. “She’s fun. She is smart. She is relentless in her pursuit of excellence and the truth and what’s best for the movie, not just for her character and she’s great fun to be around. She is inspiring to everybody. She will make any call just to help the film and she’s completely committed to telling the truth of the story, the fun of the story and the emotion of the story,” adds Shamberg. He further explains that “Demi Moore is perfect for the role of Anne because, like Sophie Marceau in the original French film, Demi was a big star when she was young and she’s a big star now and with children of her own. So the idea that she’s still attractive, actually beautiful, and has children—she’s wonderful for the part.”
Working with Miley Cyrus was just as much of a pleasure. While on set, she was always so happy and always smiling. “I’ve been so lucky because with this American version I really found the same breed of women,” Azuelos exclaims, “It’s like we’re the same blood. We like that the work goes quick, fast and clever. No doubt, no arguing, no problem. We just think of it intuitively and it’s always right. Shoot it. Let’s do it. That’s it,” she says. Cyrus was also very professional and a great example on set. She was known to always be the first one there and ready to go. She knew her lines, she was on top of her game, and she took her craft very seriously.
Furthermore, Cyrus impressed her director with a natural talent and an infectiously endearing personality. “I just love Miley so much,” says Azuelos. “First of all, she’s so gifted… Naturally, if she’s where she is today it’s not because she’s been lucky. It’s because she’s pure energy: heart and joy. I think that people love her for good reason. She brings love to people. And people really love her in return. I’m not sure I had it that much in the French movie, but here I have chemistry between Demi and Miley that is absolutely out of control. And I didn’t create that. The two of them act like they’ve been in the same room since Miley was born. Although Miley and Demi don’t really look alike physically, they look alike in the same room. They’re like mother and daughter. I’ve been so lucky that both of them did the movie.”
When Cyrus met with Azuelos at Demi Moore’s home, Cyrus said “Before heading there I read the script and I immediately said to myself, ‘I am going in there and signing whatever contract they need me to sin. Whatever they want.’” Cyrus continues, “I read it. I fell in love with it. I fell in love with Demi. Everything about this movie touched my heart. I knew it was like the perfect thing for me. And Lisa’s amazing.”
Miley Cyrus (Lola) sees herself in her character. Her relationship with Azuelos and Moore helped to create a realistically family-like environment in which to develop. Says Cyrus, “I’ve always had a really good relationship with my mom. But it’s good when you can also have another woman in your life that you can go to and talk to, as well-one that is like a mother figure, but also just a friend with no expectations. And you can just say whatever ike. That’s whay Demi and Lisa are for me. On random days I’ll get a text from Demi when I may be down. And I’ll get a text like, ‘Your second mom loves you,’ And that’ll just turn your day around.”
Demi Moore (Anne) was enamored with her character, and the film as a whole, from the start. Having seen the French version, Moore had the luxury of seeing the story already told. “I fell in love with it. I thought it was magical, unique and very honest,” she says. “It has unique aspects and a level of honesty that Lisa Azuleos captured that you don’t get to see very often between a mother and a daughter on screen.”
The American version of LOL presented a challenge to the actors, to make it their own. Says Moore, “It’s a very interesting experience because you don’t want to paint a picture that’s already been painted. And yet you need not throw the baby out with the bath water. There are things that worked in the original that I think are working here, but we also needed to find the elements that were culturally honest and unique to us as Americans.”
Moore describes her character as a kind of super mom, totally committed, even if at times, also totally overwhelmed. “Anne is a recently divorced mother of three, dealing in particular with the trials and tribulations of her teenaged daughter, Lola,” says Moore. “I think that she’s an extremely present, caring mother. Very normal. And I think that a lot of people will really relate to her challenges. What’s interesting in this is that, as somebody who has been divorced for a year, she hasn’t yet found her way back to romance.”
“Both mother and daughter are each on their own path of self discovery. For the daughter (Lola), it’s her first time really discovering love. And for Anne, in an odd way it’s her first time as well. Even though she’s been married and has kids, she’s having to rediscover herself and love. That’s something that we haven’t really seen on film.”
Moore was inspired in working with Azuelos for the first time, saying, “She’s incredible. Passionate, smart, funny and deeply authentic. She’s a light that uplifts everybody every day. We are two Scorpio women with great intensity and childlike playful spirits; it was like reuniting with a kindred soul. We both share a big picture scope but gratefully, she is less of a perfectionist than I am. She helped me to let go and I made sure we didn’t let go too far!”
Moore was affectionately considered the mother on set. And the young cast loved to spend time with her. “On one hand,” she notes, “we’re dealing with professional actors and on the other, I’m looking at them as I do my own kids. There’s a feeling that someone needs to look out for, protect and take care of them. I think that’s been a role that both Lisa and I have taken. Mothering is in both our natures.”
She saw both in her character and in her own experience as a mother, the reality that relationships worth having don’t come automatically. “Being a mother of only daughters, I find that the foundation that you create from when they are young is selfishly out of a desire to want them to choose to be around you when they’re older. And it’s an ongoing effort that has to be made to have that kind of bond. A bond is something you earn. It’s not something that you can just have.”
She says that a parent’s most important job “is to help your children be good decision-makers because if they’re good decision-makers they have a foundation of trust and they know that they have a place to fall back on, and there isn’t anything that they can’t handle.”