At this time 12 months ago, Naomi Watts was coming off back to back indie misfires “Diana” (possibly one of the worst choices of her career) and “Adore.” Sadly, the sheen of her second Oscar nomination for the global smash “The Impossible” only a year earlier was starting to fade.
What a difference a year makes.
Watts earned a surprise Supporting Actress nomination at the SAG Awards for the indie hit “St. Vincent” in December. The following month she took home her first SAG statue as part of the ensemble for Alejandro González Iñárritu's “Birdman,” one of many ensemble honors she earned for the critically acclaimed drama. In February she took the stage with Iñárritu and her co-stars to celebrate “Birdman's” Best Picture win at the Academy Awards (the first Best Picture on her resume). And there's more! Last weekend she joined the “Divergent” franchise and “Insurgent's” $52.2 million debut beat out “King Kong” as the biggest opening of her career. Now, just one week later, she's back with another new release, Noah Baumbach's “While We're Young.”
“Young,” which premiered at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival last September, centers on a fortysomething couple, Josh and Amelia (Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts), who develop a strong friendship (or so it seems) with a twentysomething couple, aka Brooklyn Hipster Millennials Jamie and Darby (Adam Driver, Amanda Seyfried). You can assume with Baumbach involved there's much more to it, but Watts says she immediately found the script “hilarious” and a situation she could relate to.
“I get it. Unfortunately, it feels very familiar,” the 46-year-old Aussie says laughing. “Just these two couples and being at such different stages in their lives and how they become symbiotic in some ways, but it's not obviously going to last. But one couple comes out at the other and moves forward [past] that bump in the road.”
In the film, Darby convinces Amelia to go to join her at a Hip Hop dance class. Now, if you think about this juxtaposition too much it won't work (Amelia could have been going to similar classes when she was Darby's age, they are not new), but Watts sells the funny in the moment wonderfully. So much so that Baumbach has said he could not stop laughing during the filming. Watts says that day was unlike any other because Baumbach, who usually sticks to the script, allowed her to improvise. Plus, she doesn't necessarily have two left feet in real life.
“I have a little frustrated dancer in me,” Watts admits. “I've always loved to dance, but [Cornelia] is obviously not supposed to know where the hell she was or what to do. At the same, she wanted to wake her body up and then she just sort of forgets and runs with it that she because almost tribal.”
For more on Watts' thought on making “While We're Young” watch the embedded video at the top of this post.
Moreover, make note: Watts' impressive run may be far from over. She appears opposite Matthew McConaughey in Gus Van Sant's upcoming drama “The Sea of Trees” and opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in Jean-Marc Vallée's “Demolition.” Both films are expected to be hit theaters later this year. Moreover, Watts is currently filming the new thriller “Shut In” which is set for a 2016 release.
“While We're Young” is now playing in New York and Los Angeles.