Editor's note: This week's Ecollywood column was so long, we split it into three parts. Read the other two posts, about how Pierce Brosnan and Jamie Lee Curtis are going green and about an event where celebs came out to support the next generation of filmmakers.
At the home Demi Moore shares with Ashton Kutcher and her daughters, you won’t find plastic water bottles. “We have a water filter and these incredibly great glass bottles that you can get at Crate & Barrel. That one thing has cut down on an enormous amount of trash, and it’s very cost effective,” says the actress, whose latest movie The Joneses opens Apr. 16.
She plays a woman whose seemingly perfect family is actually a stealth marketing team hired by brand reps to get the neighbors to covet and buy what they have. Those trying to live by the reduce-reuse-recycle tenets of the green movement will appreciate what the sharply written, often funny film has to say about conspicuous over-consumption, but a ban on Styrofoam cups aside, its small budget made it difficult for the production itself to conserve on set.
“Unfortunately at this point, the green set is a luxury,” explains actor David Duchovny, who plays Moore’s pretend husband. “On an independent film the ugly truth is that we probably are more wasteful than a set that has a lot of money and can actually do these things. Hopefully, as technology gets better and people get more aware, it becomes more cost effective to do so, so you can actually live your conscience.”
Writer-director-producer Derrick Borte got the idea for the movie after viewing a TV news magazine segment showing that sales of a specific drink rose because pretty models -- hired plants -- ordered it. Actors pose as happy families at open houses to spur sales, Borte notes. “It exists in a variety of ways,” like product placement in TV and movies, something used liberally in The Joneses, with the exception of a faux liquor brand for an underage-drinking scene. “If we faked too many of the products it would have taken it into a cartoon kind of area,” Borte believes.
Moore puts the consumerism theme in perspective. “There’s nothing wrong with wanting or even having nice things,” she points out. “It’s when we place that as a measure of the value of ourselves that it goes askew.”