Q: Working with actual Bosnians and Serbs, were there ever moments where you had to play the negotiator to get everybody back on track and not to get into the politics of what happened?
AJ: Well, we started on the first day and we had everyone come in from different sides and I intentionally picked when we would watch their interviews. We also talked to them and I knew how they felt. I knew they were all very intelligent, and very open and thoughtful people as I was casting them. And I kind of instinctually felt they should talk and if they got in the same room and really talked it through. I knew what they didn’t. I heard their private conversations, I heard their interview, I knew they wanted the same goal, they worried for the same thing for their countries and they all considered themselves Yugoslavian. Even when they were interviewed, they’d say and you’re background is? They would all say Yugoslavian. Because they deal now with this divide of being divided but they were all born Yugoslavian. There was so much kindness because they were confronting with this story of ugliness of this past that they do not want to repeat. So it did quite the opposite.
Q: When are you the most happiest? Is it on set or being a mom?
AJ: Being a mom. We had a moment, often I’m happy whenever I’m with my children, but there was a moment where we had just finished work in New York and Brad and I were piled in the car with the kids and we’re listening to Christmas songs and we were laughing and playing games in the car and I looked at Brad and I said, “This is one of these moments, isn’t it? This is the moments we live for.” And so it’s that. You just catch yourself sometimes and you look around. I’m so fortunate; I love my family so much. And they’re such a funny, interesting group of people.
Q: Was Brad in anyway used as a sound board when writing the script?
AJ: Yeah, he was the first person to read the script, because probably if he would have said anything negative, we wouldn’t be here today. [Laughs] I just kind of showed it to him as just this experiment that was on my desk, and he took it with him when he did a two-day thing in Japan and then he called me and said, “You know honey, it’s really not that bad. It’s pretty good.” And we talked further about it and he encouraged me through the whole process and he came to set on most days and did some still-photography for the film. He was always around and always supportive.
Q: Did those maternal instincts ever show up with your cast and crew at all?
AJ: Probably. Well, probably in the sense that you’re always answering to somebody with something. When you have six kids you’re just used to, “What’s next? Who else?” So I think the natural multitasking that comes with being a mother works well and transitions into being a director.
Q: How long did it take you to write it?
AJ: I wrote this two years ago I think, maybe. It happened really quickly. As I said it didn’t intentionally happen, somehow it just happened and there it was. If I would have had 10 years, I probably would have gotten scared. So it happened to quickly for me to think about it.
Q: I know you can’t say much on the lawsuit, but does it come with the territory that when you’re writing something, does it surprise you that someone would come out of the woodwork that would say this is my property?
AJ: It’s expected and a part of the course and I believe it happens in every film.