Chris O’Donnell first swooned us in a series of great films such as Circle of Friends and Scent of a Woman. He’s back in the charming family film, Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, co-starring the adorable Abigail Breslin.
In real life, Chris and his wife Caroline have five children: Lily, 8, Chip, 7, Charlie, 4, Finley, 2 and Maeve, 6 months. Chris plays Mr. Kittredge, a dapper dad with a precocious daughter who face hardship during the Great Depression. Following is a rare interview with the busy dad.
On preparing for this role which deals with a father not able to provide for his family: “I’ve got kids of my own; We all love our parents and we love our spouses, but until you have your own kid you don’t really know what that kind of love is. It’s where you would put yourself in front of a moving train for your kid and I think that you understand what that must have felt like. Mr. Kittredge’s trying to protect his daughter as most parents do and not have her worry about the hardships of what was going on in their time. And when she sees him in the soup kitchen, he’s forced to tell her a little bit more about what the realities are and what they are going to have to do. He tries to put the best spin on it or prepare her for it by telling her that story about his car — don’t let it beat ya, and as parents that’s about all you can do. It’s a situation where he has to go off to find work.”
On his fears of being able to provide for his own large family:“What’s tough for me is when I’m away on location because in my business it’s feast or famine when it comes to spending time with my kids. I either have more time than I know what to do with or I don’t have any time with them, so I try to maximize my time when I’m with them. But when I’m away on location, thank God for Apple iChat because I can see them on the computer. It’s scary — part of being a parent is trying to teach the kids the lessons they need to learn. And sometimes, the kid comes home and asks you a question and you’re kind of stalling thinking what’s the answer that I am supposed to give here. I’ll be calling my older brothers or sisters and asking what do we tell them about this again? Because you realize they are coming to you for all this information and most of it is instinctual, but every once in a while they’ll come up with something and you’ll think that’s a tricky one. You know, let me get back to you on that one.”
On doing Batman for his sons and this movie for his daughters: “She [Lily] is a fan [of the American Girl dolls] and I knew about it because I’m from Chicago and I had visited the store before with my nieces and now with my daughter and we’ve got a lot of the dolls and that sort of thing. I was highly aware of the whole American Girl phenomenon and I think that for people that do know about the dolls they are going to be so excited about the movie. And, for everyone else that wants to take their kids to a movie on the weekend, they are going to be really pleased because there’s so many times that kids want to go to a movie and I can’t tell you how many bad family movies I’ve sat through. This one really works; It’s a great ride. It teaches kids a great lesson and they don’t even realize they are being taught a lesson. When I left the theater with my daughter, she started asking me all about the people who lost their houses and it was great to have brought that subject up especially now — it’s going to be so timely.”
To read the rest of this interview, go to lilsugar.
Photo: Bauer-Griffin, June 15