“The One I Love” director Charlie McDowell reveals his mom, Mary Steenburgen, was just being a typical mom on set while shooting his first feature film

By: Izumi Hasegawa   August 20, 2014


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Charlie McDowell, who makes his feature film director debut with The One I Love, is the son of Malcolm McDowell, and stepson of Ted Danson. When I spoke to Ted a couple weeks ago, he was so proud of this film. What’s Up Hollywood asked Charlie how much his family gave him support for this project and why he wanted to be a director even though he’s from such a famous acting family. Also, he talks about the experience of working with his stepdad!

TheOneILove_still6_BTS_MarkDuplass_Charlie-McDowell_-200x300Q: How much does your family support you and how did it affect you growing up with an actor family as you became a director?

I come from this sort of bizarre family, where it is like Ted is my stepdad, my mom is Mary Steenburgen and my dad is Malcolm McDowell. They were big looming shadows above me and they have all had so much success in different areas. But, first and foremost they are just the greatest people, so I grew up in this kind of very normal house where it was just like my parents, but I happened to be on a film set. For me it is such an incredible experience because I was exposed to being on a set and watching great directors work. And I think for a while I was very anti the business and I didn’t want to be associated with them and kind of wanted my own name, and when I was eighteen I got sucked back in and found love behind the camera.

091209_030CreativeArtsEmmys0030-200x300Q: How was casting your stepdad?

I just called up my parents’ house and my mom picked up. I was like, “Hey mom, so we want Ted to be in the movie,” and she was like, “All right, hold on, let me put him on.” “Ted, so we want you to be in the movie.” He is like, “Oh, are you sure?” I was like, “Yeah, you are in it,” and he is like, “Okay, fine.” It was like the most easy way to get an actor to be in it.

Q: And working with him?

He is just like the most charming, fun, incredible guy. Once I pitched the idea to Mark (Duplass) we couldn’t get him out of our heads. He came on our last day of shooting and I think he was a little nervous because we had all connected and bonded and he was coming into this thing.

TheOneILove_still1_ElisabethMoss_MarkDuplass-300x158He came in and he was nervous, and I am like, “Ted, you are the most veteran person here.” And he was like, “I know, but what am I supposed to do?” And I am like, “Just have fun.” It was great, it was cool. The only embarrassing thing was I let my mom come into where the monitor was, and I could see her with this huge grin on her face, and she was turning to people being like, “That’s my son directing.” She was just being a typical mom. But, yeah, it was fun.

The One I Love opens in theaters August 22nd and on VOD.