Peter Hedges wrote and directed Disney's The Odd Life of Timothy Green, the story of a couple trying to conceive who are surprised with a child from their garden. The magical movie stars Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton as parents to Timothy Green, and Peter shared that he used his own experiences as a parent in the film. He also talked about Jennifer being perfect for the role and Joel's incredible acting skills.
it was just so evident that she was supposed to be Cindy Green. I was able to to take some of my guilt and embarrassment and regret about those experiences and turn them into that scene. So, as a parent yourself, was there any specific theme in this movie that came from your personal experience? Oh, sure, many. There's a moment where Jim, when he's sending Timothy off to school, and says, "Have a great day." And she says that's too much pressure and then Jim says, "Have the day you have." I started to notice recently that oftentimes when I'm speaking to my kids, I'm putting lots of pressure on them to have a particular experience, the experience I want them to have, so I started to modify my language. So, that's a small example.There 's a big scene near the end of the film where he's playing soccer and the parents really want him to be on the team and out on the field and a lot happens from that moment. While my kids didn't play soccer they did play other sports. And there were many instances where, too many to mention where I got, even though I thought I was being very cool and very aloof and I was the cool dad, the truth is I wasn't. I was too invested and it put inordinate pressure on them. So I was able to take some of my guilt and embarrassment and regret about those experiences and turn them into that scene, which is one of my favorite scenes in the film. That's actually the scene that I was thinking of. And I think you know, look, we want our kids to succeed. We don't want them to be hurt. We want them to feel like winners. And we give them trophies for just breathing, and kids now, my kids have so many trophies that the shelves are overflowing. We're good, don't worry. And so, I feel you know, that scene is very much an articulation of some of my parental crimes that I committed. So, Jennifer Garner is really perfect for this role, did you write the script with her in mind? Well, I wrote it with the hopes that someone like Jennifer Garner would want to be in this film. I didn't picture anyone. I just pictured an amazing actress who would be, you would root for, and so when I heard that Jennifer had read the script and she wanted to do the film, I was over the moon, and then we sat down, and any hesitation that I didn't have, 'cause I didn't have any hesitation, was, you know, vacuumed away because it was just so evident that she was supposed to be Cindy Green. And then to have Joel play opposite her, they were just so good together, and they just played so well together and then how they interacted with CJ, it was just pretty heavenly. So you said you kind of like to look for an actor who you think is like on the cusp of becoming big. What was it about Joel that made you feel that way about him? Oh, you know, you meet him and you go, this is, he's, you know, he's very winning, he's very smart. He's paid his dues, he's done a lot of theater. He's known an actor circles to be one of the great, great actors. And it's true. And it's just an instinct. You know at a certain point. You go, "Oh, this guy, we can cast him now or in a few years, we won't even be able to get him on the phone." And Disney was smart and they saw what I saw and I know we're right. We're right about Joel. We were right about Jennifer. And we're right about CJ.