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Edie Falco says a good movie needs a good script: 'If it's not there in the writing, I can't fix it'

Edie Falco, Jenny Slate, and Abby Quinn in Landline (2017)
Edie Falco, Jenny Slate, and Abby Quinn in Landline (2017)
Amazon Studios

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In the new comedy Landline, actress Edie Falco plays the mother to two daughters (Jenny Slate & Abby Quinn), who are investigating their father for cheating.

The film deals with gender and its role in the concept of "normal" relationships. Falco's character in Landline follows suit with her emotionally complex, often contentious roles in her previous projects like The Sopranos and Nurse Jackie.

Jenny Slate and Abby Quinn as daughters Dana and Ali in Landline
Jenny Slate and Abby Quinn as daughters Dana and Ali in Landline
Amazon Studios

With a long career of demanding roles, Falco says she has come to value directors like Landline's Gillian Robespierre who is not afraid of silence. She says this is rare, "Those have been the moments in things I've witnessed — theater, film, television — that have touched me so deeply."

She goes on to say, "So much of life takes place in these silences."

Edie spoke with John Horn about the opportunity to be selective with her projects because she wants to devote herself to influential, meaningful writing.

Landline opens in theaters on July 21st.

Interview highlights:

On sussing out great writing for her projects: 

In hindsight, I realize I was maybe able to do so-and-so project because I had just done that project which made it possible financially for me... When I first read Sopranos, I was like "This is a great thing," and as it turns out it also afforded me to get a bigger apartment and I could pay off my student loans. So financially it made my life easier as well but it was originally the writing that I responded to. That's always the case. We need writers, writers, writers. It always starts there. As an aside, for many years I thought, "Well you know, the script isn't very good but if I work hard enough and do a really good job, I can fix it." It's taken me this many years to realize I can't. If it's not there in the writing, I can't fix it... One of the many life lessons I've learned.

On how Landline's deals with intimacy and dishonesty:

I played each scene for the emotional reality of the moment. But as I have a chance to think about it, I think you have a chance to learn some relationships are able to withstand the sort of laziness that comes after — the assumption that a couple will always be together. Something originally drew them together and they worked a little hard to attend to their partner and the relationship and then after time a lot of that stuff falls away and you get caught up in your own life but some attention does need to be paid to keeping it afloat... But all is said and done- the forms a relationship take are secondary to the love that's there.

Edie Falco as Leslie Abramson in Law & Order: True Crime (2017)
Edie Falco as Leslie Abramson in Law & Order: True Crime (2017)

On her upcoming role in Law & Order: True Crime as Leslie Abramson, legal defense for the Menendez Brothers:

You kind of make these snap decisions- "That's a terrible person!" or "That's a good person!" And we all knew where we were when the O.J. verdict went down... I had grown up on these trials where there weren't eight-million channels to watch so everybody was paying attention. The Menendez brothers were peripherally in my life at that time. All I knew them to be was these two sort of bratty, rich kids who killed their parents. And I- like many people- made a snap decision about who they were and why they did what they did and I was able to move on with my life. But sometimes these things deserve a second look. Anyways, that's what I think this series hopes to be and it has certainly enlightened me in a way I had not anticipated.

To hear the full interview, click the blue play button above.

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