'West Wing' stars reunite in 'The Oranges'

By KAREN BUTLER, United Press International  |  Oct. 4, 2012 at 8:19 PM
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NEW YORK, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Allison Janney and Oliver Platt say having previously worked together on TV's "The West Wing" helped them play a long-married New Jersey couple in the new big-screen comedy, "The Oranges."

Helmed by "Entourage" and "How to Make It in America" director Julian Farino, the film stars Hugh Laurie as David Walling, a lonely good guy who finds himself drawn to Leighton Meester's character, Nina Ostroff, the free-spirited, 24-year-old daughter of his neighbors, Terry and Carol, played by Platt and Janney. The May-December romance, which is almost immediately discovered, wrecks David's marriage to Paige, played by Catherine Keener; causes friction with his daughter Vanessa, played by Alia Shawkat; nearly ends his close friendship with Nina's parents and brings the long-simmering resentment Vanessa has toward Nina to a boil.

"We have fun together," Janney told United Press International about her co-star Platt at a recent news conference in New York. "I think we even knew each other before 'The West Wing.' I just know that he has a sense of playfulness that makes it really easy. He's very easy to be around and easy to have fun with, and this relationship with the two of them, I just knew that he was going to make it more exciting to do. So, yeah, it helped and it definitely gave us ... we had a common ground or something that we came in on, just our mutual love and respect for each other, that made it easy to jump off and be a married couple that was ignoring each other."

"It always helps when you know each other," added Platt, who was seated beside Janney at the news conference. "And if it's Allison Janney that you have to be married to then it's just ... when you like a person and you respect them tremendously as an actor, that's two big boxes checked, especially when you need to create the illusion that you've been living together all this time. I also give a tremendous amount of credit to Julian for creating an environment on the set. And I don't think this is really something that you can teach a director -- creating an environment on the set that brings out the best in people. That is sort of playful, but constructive and fluid, but charged. It was just a really delightful day at work every day.

"They did another very enlightened thing, which is that they -- driven by economics -- but instead of having trailers, they put us in this house down the street [from where we were shooting.] The doors were always open and Hugh had his piano and there was always extraordinary jazz wafting down. We took our clothes off and really lived a utopian existence," Platt joked.

"I shopped at Target and put rugs in the rooms. It was really fun," Keener recalled.

"The Oranges" opens in U.S. theaters Friday.

Janney starred as presidential press secretary C.J. Cregg on "The West Wing," while Platt played the recurring role of White House Counsel Oliver Babish.

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