LOS ANGELES – If the Romans were right that in wine is truth (“in vino veritas”), the women of “Wine Country” find both the joys and disappointments of middle age floating in their wine glasses, a mix of emotions that Amy Poehler, in her noteworthy debut as a director, is sure her audiences will feel as well.
“Ideally I’d like to see this as the kind of film that makes people laugh and cry, and not just because they are drinking wine when they are watching it,” Poehler said in a telephone interview with EFE.
“I wanted not only to tell a real story that had depth and show that things can be very big and funny and mean something, but also I wanted to allow the women in it to show themselves because they don’t always have the chance to do that,” she added.
“Parks and Recreation” and “Saturday Night Live,” as well as the three memorable Golden Globe galas she hosted together with Tina Fey made Poehler, 47, into a star of comedy at its brashest and cleverest.
But now with “Wine Country” she not only acts in front of the cameras but also directed this film that Netflix premieres next Friday.
On the occasion of a friend turning 50, a group of women go on vacation to California’s Napa wine-producing region, a trip that will have its moments of fun and craziness but also unexpected revelations, hidden secrets and the fear they will soon be known by one and all.
For “Wine Country,” Poehler recruited Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer, Paula Pell and Emily Spivey.
“It was fantastic. Every director wants to get the best cast they can. And to be able to work with these legends... I felt ahead of the game before we even started,” Poehler said about a film inspired by a trip that they themselves once made as friends.
Poehler said that on vacations like that, “when you only have a few days together and you are escaping your life, you tend to get right into” enjoying all the fun but also setting your emotions free.
In this case it’s all about insecurity, loneliness and the hopes of women in their 40s, a segment of the population that Hollywood has traditionally ignored.
“They have young children, they have aging parents, sometimes work is busier than ever, and there is a lot to explore there,” she said.
A very active feminist voice, Poehler has made an effort throughout her career to boost the presence of women in the industry.
About “Wine Country” she said, “I do think it’s a feminist movie. I think when you depict real women in their real lives you are providing a look into other experiences. Women on screen and behind the camera, in any way represented, it’s just good for everybody.”
Poehler was referring to the special sparkle of any scene she shares with Tina Fey and Maya Rudolph, a natural chemistry that has developed over the years and which shone once more not long ago during a marvelous segment of the last Oscars.
“Maya, T. and I were in the trenches together at SNL, so we worked together in a very high stress environment,” Poehler said about a history of collaboration that explains why they can “work together very fast.”