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A Good Day with the Alexander Cast

Oct 07, 2014

By: Lynn Barker

It seems that the cast of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day did some serious family-like bonding on the set of the film. Listening to them, we sense that they had a great time portraying characters whose day just couldn’t be worse.

Could this day get any worse!Could this day get any worse!Courtesy of Disney

Based on a popular kids’ novel, Disney's Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day focuses on soon to be 12-year-old Alexander Cooper. Alex is sick of things just never going his way. When he wakes with gum in his hair and slips on a skateboard before he can even leave his bedroom and his family is all wrapped up in their own lives, he wishes on a birthday candle that they could experience a horrible day like his and… his wish comes true.

Alexander cuts gum out of his hairAlexander cuts gum out of his hairCourtesy of Disney

What comes out of the fun and heartfelt movie is that, no matter how bad your day is going, sharing it with family can make it better. Actors Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Ed Oxenbould and Bella Thorne gathered to talk to journalists about their characters, prom fever, family bonding and Steve gives great advice that you might wish your parents would listen to! He says that, often, parents should back off a bit when kids are having a bad day. It might be a private bad day that the kids and teens just don’t want their parents’ input on.

Q: As parents in real life, Steve and Jennifer, did that help you play parents in the film?

  • Jennifer: Yes, Steve and I are parents, not together.
  • Steve: We’re the best parents.
  • Jennifer: Well, (the movie) is basically a day at my house.
  • Steve: Yeah.  Also, we did feel like a family of sorts (on the movie) and that’s the way I like to work.

Dad (Steve Carell) stuck wearing a pirate shirtDad (Steve Carell) stuck wearing a pirate shirtCourtesy of Disney

Q: Ed, why did you want to play Alexander?

  • Ed: I love the character of Alexander because he’s quite relatable. I can’t relate to him completely because I’m not a full-blown pessimist like he is. Maybe part of him is a terrible person. But I’m sure other kids can relate to him at least slightly. I knew it would be fun with Jen and Steve and the other kids and it was.

Q: Jen and Steve, how do you lift up your kids’ spirits when they have a bad day and let them know it’s not so bad?

  • Steve: You know, my wife and I go through this from time to time and part of the challenge for us is not being overly sensitive to our kids having good or bad days because you can drive your kids crazy by saying “Are you okay? Is everything all right? At least tell me what’s going on.” Sometimes, they might be having a privately bad day and you just want to work through it yourself and you don’t want your parents trying to make it better.
  • Ultimately, we’re not always going to be there to make it better. Like if they get assigned to a class that doesn’t have all their best friends in it, allow them to make new friends. Life is going to hand you twists and turns. You can’t make every day a great day. It’s just not realistic.

Mom's job is at stake! Pedal faster!Mom's job is at stake! Pedal faster!Courtesy of Disney

Q: Good advice. Jennifer, you’ve played moms before like in the “Timothy Green” movie. What do you think is the key to playing a convincing mom?

  • Jennifer: Have I tracked what it is to be a great mom? No, but that’s the great thing about being a parent; every day is a fresh start. You always can say “Today, we’re gonna try this.”  If it goes horribly you can say “Today we’re throwing that out and trying this.” That’s part of what I like about being a mom in general. I have enjoyed this new world of playing moms. This little kid, whose mom is a teacher at my child’s school, said “Mrs. Affleck (Jen is married to Ben Affleck) is kind of like my mom. She gets to have a lot of other kids.” and I feel that way.

Mom (Jennifer Garner) is freaked at baby's green faceMom (Jennifer Garner) is freaked at baby's green faceCourtesy of Disney

Q: Is there a danger to being too positive like the Coopers are?

  • Jennifer: Oh sure because you need to have a bad day and show kids that it’s okay to have the whole range of emotions. You should have it all; rage and anger and sadness so that there is a lot of room for joy and happiness as well.

Q: Steve, after doing “The Office” on TV for so long (with all adults), what was it like working with so many kids?

  • Steve: It was the worst (laughter). No, it was great. They are so much fun, including the babies that were in this movie which we all fell in love with. I had nothing but love for these special, special little people.

Celia starts to wonder if prom will come off okayCelia starts to wonder if prom will come off okayCourtesy of Disney

Q: What do you think about movie parents and do you have a favorite one?

  • Ed: No but my movie parents are better than my real parents (laughter). They’re incredible.

Alexander (Ed Oxenbould) and pal wonder if he'll have a partyAlexander (Ed Oxenbould) and pal wonder if he'll have a partyCourtesy of Disney

Q: Bella, how would you describe your character Celia?  

  • Bella: Well, I don’t think that Celia, at the end wants to be part of the Cooper family. The character Celia, this (prom) day is so big for her. It’s everything. When it doesn’t go exactly perfect, she gets a little angry.

Q: It’s prom. You don’t mess with prom.

  • Bella: No!

Celia (Bella Thorne) wants a limo for promCelia (Bella Thorne) wants a limo for promCourtesy of Disney

Q: Was it fun or hard playing kind of a bitchy, sort of “bad guy” character?

  • Bella: It’s hard when I’m looking at Dylan (Minnette, who plays her boyfriend) with his big, frickin’ eyes looking at me so sensitive, so “Please don’t hurt me”. It was so hard to do that dinner scene that I’m so mean in and the director was like “Meaner, meaner!” and I’m looking at Dylan. It was hard to be mean. It is hard but, at the same time, you do love to hate her. It’s fun to be mean too. That’s the take away.

Celia (Bella Thorne) and Anthony (Dylan Minnette) discuss promCelia (Bella Thorne) and Anthony (Dylan Minnette) discuss promCourtesy of Disney

Q: Did any of you have a very bad day during the shooting?

  • Jennifer: There’s always a day. One day was really hot and we shot the same thing outside all day. The baby was crying but we also understood we had to put it all in perspective.

Q: What do you hope families get out of this movie?

  • Jennifer: I do feel so excited that we get to be part of a real family movie. This is a movie that teenagers should like. I brought my 5-year-old to see it and she loved it too. Her favorite scene was Steve with the kangaroo. I hope by the end of the film you feel more like a family when it reminds you that, whatever happens, you’re all going through it together.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day PosterAlexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day PosterCourtesy of Disney

See Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day in theaters October 10th.