Diablo Cody, a.k.a. Brook Maurio, won an Oscar for writing “Juno” in 2007, but since her hailed debut, she's delivered more complicated, unconventional, and hair-raising movie scripts featuring women in starring roles. “Jennifer's Body” gave us Megan Fox as a zombified cheerleader; “Young Adult” offered up Charlize Theron as a jaded, sociopathically self-absorbed writer who pines for her high school boyfriend. Even 2013's “Paradise,” Cody's directorial debut starring Julianne Hough, focused on a religious woman who rebuilds her life in Las Vegas following a traumatizing accident.
Now, Cody's giving us yet another antiheroine with “Ricki and the Flash,” her new film starring Meryl Streep as a rocker and wayward mother who returns to her Midwestern roots when daughter Julie (Mamie Gummer, Streep's real-life daughter) experiences a devastating breakup. With director Jonathan Demme at the helm and a spellbinding cast (Streep, Gummer, Kevin Kline, Rick Springfield, Audra McDonald, and more), “Ricki and the Flash” is a study in familial resentments and begrudging warmth.
We chatted with Cody about the new movie, out August 7. She taught us these eight lessons about the greatness of Streep, the reason she left Twitter, and the fun of her new Amazon series with Tig Notaro and producer Louis CK. (Above, watch our December 2014 video interview with Cody.)
1. She has a good theory about why her movies are often about women rebelling against quaint upbringings.
“I think maybe I have a fantasy of returning to Lemont [her Illinois hometown suburb] and just upending things. I would be even cuntier than Mavis in 'Young Adult' though. I wouldn't even try to couch it. I usually say that everything I write is about somebody going through some Cronenberg-esque transformation like pregnancy or becoming a zombie or getting older or getting burned. I don't know why. It's just a thing I constantly return to. But fucking with a quaint hometown? That's interesting. This is a coming-home story.”
2. She knows she's changed since 2007. That's how Ricki came to be.
“I have to say, I look at things differently now that I have kids. I find myself having anxiety over how my kids perceive me as they get older and I get older. That's where Ricki from. I guess my anxieties have changed. I don't know if they'll see me as a Ricki-type character, but I hope they're appreciative of the shit I've done rather than resentful. The people I know who grew up with a parent who had a cool career, they seem like they have more of an issue with it than they take pride in it.”
3. Yes, she was intimidated by Meryl Streep.
“I was really just trying not to fuck things up,” she said. “These are people who know what they're doing — like really know what they're doing. There's a level of professionalism here I'd never encountered before. I said to myself, from now on, I'm working exclusively with legends. I was just trying to sit back and watch things go down rather than having a really active role in the production where I'm changing things all the time.”