‘The Kitchen’ stars find humility in mobsters’ ruthlessness

Entertainment ‘The Kitchen’ stars find humility in mobsters’ ruthlessness

Aug 14, 2019 12:00 am
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By Katie Campione / The Associated Press

LOS ANGELESEver seen a female-led mob movie? Neither had The Kitchen writer and director Andrea Berloff, and thats why she says she jumped at the chance to adapt DC Vertigos comic series of the same name.

But first, she had some key changes to maketo the source material.

I said to the studio: I dont want to make a movie about three white women. I want tofigure out a way to authentically make one of these characters AfricanAmerican, she said, noting she had just finished work promoting StraightOutta Compton, which she cowrote.

The Kitchen tells the story of threemob wives in 1970s Hells Kitchen whoare forced to take over the family business when their husbands are sent toprison. Elisabeth Moss, Tiffany Haddish, and Melissa McCarthy play women who,despite a common goal, are motivated by different experiences.

McCarthys Kathy is a mother of two who lovesher husband and is worried for her family while hes away. Mosss Claire, whosuffered through an abusive relationship, feels liberated by her husbandsarrest. Haddishs Ruby is the only black woman associated with the Irish moband has a unique perspective because of it.

In order to embrace their charactersjourneys, the three actresses had to think about what happened to the wives upuntil the day the cameras started rolling.

I always thought about Kathy as just alwaysbeing smart, always being capable and no one ever asking for her opinion andknowing that she wasnt able to even offer it, McCarthy said.

And I thought, What is that resentment andfrustration? And then when you mix that with the panic of not being able totake care of your children and keep a roof over their head. What is that personwilling to do?

Treating each woman with humility wasessential to embodying them, Moss said. She added that her character findssolace in the more gruesome parts of the job because of her past.

Somebody who has only experienced violenceand has only experienced that kind of physical pain, to her that means powerand strength, Moss said. To her, the person who is hitting the hardest is theperson who is in power.

Although disturbing, Claires attraction tothe violence is understandable, Moss said. Luckily, her costar, DomhnallGleeson, who plays her love interest and a former hitman, embraced the samementality.

Theyre just a kind of a really weird couple, but they seem real happy, he said. So, you look over and theyre smiling and theyre very much in love, and you know theyre going back to chop up abody in the bathtub.

While audiences may wince at some of the moregrotesque scenes, they may also feel a strange sense of empowerment watchingthese women take control of their lives. The three women at the center of thefilm certainly did.

There are definitely a few moments that Ithink we did like walking down the street together in a row that I think wefelt pretty cool about ourselves, Moss said. We felt ourselves sometimes, forsure. But a lot of the time, I mean, what I felt was empowering was thissupport that we all gave each other as the three actors in the film. There wasno hierarchy.

They just clicked.

It felt like a reverse Girls Trip to me, Haddish said. We were having fun on the camera, but like being silly when theres no action, and then they say, action and were serious. That was super fun. Theyre gonna be my friends for a long time. They dont know this, but theyre not going to be able to get rid of me.