Taking a 10-year hiatus from filmmaking after seeing her Sundance-premiering The Savages collect two Oscar nominations, writer/director Tamara Jenkins is back at the fest in a productive year, with not one, but two films that are drawing strong buzz in Park City. There’s Juliet, Naked—based on a Nick Hornby novel—which she scripted, and then there’s Private Life, a Netflix release which opened this year’s festival.
Private Life follows Rachel (Kathryn Hahn) and Richard (Paul Giamatti), who come up against no small share of challenges in trying to have a child at their respective ages. Undergoing multiple unsuccessful fertility treatments and exploring every option under the sun that would result in Rachel having a child of her own, the couple eventually turn to their “angel” of a step-nice, Sadie (Godless‘s Kayli Carter, in her breakout film role), who decides to offer up an egg, hoping to help her “artistic parents” realize their familial dreams.
In the role of Sadie, Carter saw a depth of character that had previously been hard to find. “I was really discontented with what I was reading, with what was being sent to me as a young woman. I read Sadie and I was like, ‘Oh, this is actually a person that I know,'” the actress explained, sitting down at Deadline’s Sundance Studio yesterday alongside Jenkins and Hahn. “I think a lot of women my age feel that really stuck, aimless in-between-ness, and that’s something that she struggles with a lot, trying to become the woman that she wants to be.”
Looking forward, Carter hopes to “surround [herself] with women in creative spaces,” while Jenkins’ simple wish is to keep making movies. “When I was making this movie and I was working with these brilliant actors, there were so many times when I was standing on that set with this script that I had labored over, and then suddenly, it was coming to life,” Jenkins said. “I was so moved, and I really feel deeply lucky.”
To view Deadline’s conversation with Jenkins and her Private Life stars, click above.
The Deadline Studio is presented by Hyundai. Special thanks to Calii Love.