Mike Mills Q&A: ’20th Century Women’ director and writer
During our recent video chat (watch above), Mike Mills opened up about how his unique childhood inspired for his new film, “20th Century Women.” “My parents were born in the ’20s,” he reveals. “They were 40 when they had me. So the division between someone who was a teenager during the Depression, drafted into World War II, experienced World War II, experienced post-war America, and then to have me, this kind of ’70s punk rock skateboarding kid…there’s such differences between us, there’s such a huge generation gap. It was like two different worlds.”
Set in Santa Barbara in the late 1970s, this A24 release opening December 28 stars Annette Bening as a single mother who enlists the help of two other women (Greta Gerwig and Elle Fanning) in raising her son (Lucas Jade Zumann). Mills modeled Bening’s character off of his own mother, a woman who, “would never describe herself as a feminist,” but, “never played by any of the rule books, never conformed herself to what a woman was supposed to be, or a mother.” This made her not just an interesting film character, “but a way to talk about history, and a way to talk about relationships.”
Mills’ last film, “Beginners” (2011), inspired by his father’s late-in-life coming out, won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Christopher Plummer. “20th Century Women” recently scored Golden Globe nominations for Best Film – Musical/Comedy and Best Actress – Musical/Comedy for Bening. She also competes at the Independent Spirit Awards, where Mills was cited for his screenplay. It’s his fourth career nod from that group, following Writing and Directing bids for “Beginners” and a Best First Feature nod for “Thumbsucker” (2005). Are the Oscars next?