In line with Focus Features' sustainable production policies, the new movie "Admission" recycled and provided biodegradable utensils and containers at meals and water coolers instead of bottles. In addition, a location was found in Old Westbury, N.Y., that served as the alternative New Quest school — a farm called HorseAbility, where developmentally challenged kids interact with horses. "We were able to take the money we were going to use to build the set and help them fix the place up," says director Paul Weitz.
In the movie, which opens March 22, Tina Fey plays a single, stressed and somewhat uptight Princeton admissions officer and Paul Rudd portrays her unlikely love interest, an eco-conscious, globally concerned teacher at New Quest, where he's landed with his adoptive son after international travels to build irrigation systems. "It's a really important part of his character," says screenwriter Karen Croner. "He wants to make the world better."
Lily Tomlin plays Fey's feminist mother, with whom she has a strained relationship because ideals and expectations get in the way. As a longtime feminist herself, Tomlin was familiar with the idea of "believing deeply in a in a philosophy or doctrine. You're really wed to it and don't want to betray it." She responded to the movie's theme of "people not being their authentic selves and living some other kind of life," and relished playing both the dramatic and comedic aspects of her role, as well as working with Fey. "She has always kept her humor intelligent and perceptive," says Tomlin. "She's not an ass-kisser."
Tomlin, who usually spends much of the year making solo appearances, did fewer dates this year, as she was busy playing Reba McIntyre's mother in the ABC sitcom "Malibu Country," which has its season finale March 22. "That's another case where I was attracted because it's an older woman who's very free-spirited," she says.
As for green living, "We try," says Tomlin. "I had Ed Begley come over one day to see what I can do with the house. We have some solar power. We'd like to have more, but it's an older house." She's also into vintage clothes and accessories — a habit started when she'd visit thrift shops with pal Barbra Streisand — and she finds recycled items, too. At a press event for "Admission," she wore a charm bracelet made from old typewriter keys with a necklace she "bought 30 years ago from a guy on a plane."