Discussing her new movie The Mother starring Jennifer Lopez, director Niki Caro was joined by a roundtable of some of Audacy’s finest female hosts including Julia, Shelly Wade from New York’s The Block, Sarah Pepper from Mix 96.5 in Houston and D.C.’s Poet from WPGC and 94.7 The Drive’s Corinna Delgado.
LISTEN NOW: Audacy's 'The Mother' Roundtable with Director Niki Caro
Jumping right in, Corinna asked Niki to share the most challenging part of making this film, which according to her wasn’t even directly correlated to any technical part of the job.
“Honestly, it was having to wear a mask,” Niki admitted. “This movie was made in the COVID years and it's a big, epic, global, complex, piece of machinery anyway to tell a story at this scale in this genre. But to do so, to direct this movie with only half my face, I hadn’t anticipated how hard that would be for me. Because directing is actually a very intimate thing, and actors are very sensitive creatures and they read everything. So a lot of the directing takes place in the intimacies and in the silences. I had to work really hard at choosing words really carefully and being really precise with what I was asking for them.”
As a director with such a stellar cast and notable actors like Jennifer Lopez and Edie Falco, Sarah asked Niki what it was like to “critique” and direct such well-versed actors, wondering if it's done "individually or as a whole of how you want the film to be."
Niki revealed it's actually both: “Being a director is like being a conductor of an orchestra," she says. As the conductor Niki, “reads the music, and can hear the piece, and can encourage the best out of every musician… The music is the script, Jennifer is the lead violin -- she’s the most important person in my orchestra. But I have to get all of those people to individually be brilliant and collectively be brilliant in a film that only I can see.”
“What I've found in my career I’ve been so privileged to work with people who are right at the top of their game," Caro says. "Like the higher you go up, the realer they are, the more committed to the craft they are, the less bulls*** there is. And that’s a very happy place for me to be."
What was it that made Niki know J.Lo was the perfect choice to play this “bada** mother,” Shelly asked. “Who else?,” Niki rhetorically responded, before offering up some other reasons why. “Okay, the obvious thing is her legendary skill and precision as a physical performer. There was no question that she would handle the action elements of this film very effortlessly. But also I was really interested in working with her as a dramatic actress, because she’s a very very good, very strong dramatic actress. And then there’s the fact that she’s such a fierce mother herself.”
Niki also shared what she took away from working on this project. Including what aspects of her motherhood and reflection of her own children she brought whether it was intentional or not. Plus, Niki elaborated on the thought processes behind using the mother wolf and her cubs as a parallel to Jen and her daughter in the film. To hear the rest of the conversation, press play on the interview above.
The Mother, starring Jennifer Lopez as a military-trained assassin who comes out of hiding to protect the daughter she's never met from ruthless criminals gunning for revenge is now available to stream on Netflix. Check out the tailer below.