Toronto Flashback: Lily Tomlin Huckstered for ‘Huckabees’ in 2004

Toronto Flashback: Lily Tomlin Huckstered for ‘Huckabees’ in 2004

Lily Tomlin, whose latest film, Moving On, premieres at the festival on Sept. 9, first came to Toronto 18 years ago with I Heart Huckabees, director David O. Russell’s trippy dark comedy about two detectives (Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman) tasked with identifying the meaning of their clients’ existences. 

The Hollywood Reporter’s review of the heady ensemble film, which also stars Isabelle Huppert, Jude Law, Jason Schwartzman, Mark Wahlberg and Naomi Watts, praised the “unique premise and some truly inspired casting” but lamented that the movie “remains stuck in an existential rut of its own.” Fox Searchlight released Huckabees in October 2004 to a modest box office response, pulling in a worldwide total of $20 million. But the film perhaps drew more attention for what went down off-camera, thanks to tension between Tomlin and Russell during production.

In 2015, Tomlin spoke with THR to promote her film Grandma and recalled that she and Russell “made up in just a few hours, and then we had a second fracas. By then, I was like stoic in my suffering. But we’ve overcome it. It dissipates and it’s gone.”

She added that she didn’t see the friction as a big deal, and she has stated in other interviews that she would work again with Russell, who had previously directed her in 1996’s Flirting With Disaster. However, the pair have yet to set up another project ­— whereas Moving On marks her third film with director Paul Weitz following Grandma and 2013’s Admission.

Tomlin headlines Moving On with frequent collaborator Jane Fonda, fresh off their Netflix series Grace and Frankie. The film promises a mixture of laughter and pain, as the two play former friends who reunite at a mutual pal’s funeral and band together to enact revenge on her widower.