Comedic actress Leslie Mann (How to Be Single, Knocked Up) plays Lisa, a mom who is trying to be cool while still parental and the emotional core of Universal Pictures’ new comedy Blockers (in Philippine cinemas May 02.)
In the film, when three parents discover their daughters’ pact to lose their virginity at prom, they launch a covert one-night operation to stop the teens from sealing the deal. As nonstop helicoptering struggles with awkwardly letting go, the well-meaning trio shares in the raucous comedy that accompanies their kids’ biggest step into adulthood.
Lisa (Mann), Mitchell (John Cena) and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) are thrown together by fate—or rather their daughters becoming fast friends on the first day of kindergarten. As their inseparable girls grow into ride-or-die young adults, the trio of parents becomes de facto commiserates, sharing in their kids’ special moments, from birthdays and teen heartaches to first dances and now prom.
“Leslie has built an incredible body of supporting work over the 20 years, and this was the perfect vehicle to let her shine,” says producer James Weaver.
In a case of life imitating art, Mann was offered the role of the soon-to-be empty nester at the same time her own child was headed off to college. “I actually got the call to do the movie while I was dropping my eldest daughter off at school, so it was something that I felt really connected to,” recalls Mann.
For director Kay Cannon, the timing could not have been more ideal. “Lisa and her relationship with Julie are the heart and soul of film,” she explains. “Leslie had just lived through saying goodbye to daughter; it was very fresh and real for her.”
The scenes with Kathryn Newton, her on-screen daughter, eased the real-life separation for Mann. “Thank God for Kathryn during that time,” she relays. “She’s the exact same age as my daughter, so being around her made it a little easier because she’s so sweet and I got to hug her.”
Although Lisa and Julie have a strong mother-daughter relationship, Lisa struggles with the idea of letting go. Her desire to keep things status quo goes to extremes when she thinks her daughter might get hurt.
The actress was thrilled to work alongside Cannon, who kept the set light and loose to inspire the actors to go off script. “Kay comes from improv, so she’d throw out ideas or change up the lines,” Mann recalls. “It was a really fun experience.”
For Cannon, the admiration was mutual. “Leslie is such a comedic talent,” she says. “You can give her a B or B+ joke, and she easily turns it into an A with her natural delivery.”
Working alongside co-stars Barinholtz and Cena made for more laughs on and off camera. “It was nonstop fun with both of them,” Mann says. She dryly adds: “Plus, John gave me some pointers on how to do deadlifts.”
Blockers is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.