How Paul Weitz Came Up With ‘Moving On’ for Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda (Video)

TIFF 2022: “Around when ‘Grandma’ came out, I met Jane through that and Lily called me up and said, ‘Jane, and I would love it if you’d write something for us,'” the director said

When Paul Weitz directed Lily Tomlin in 2015’s “Grandma,” little did he know he would get the idea for a follow-up film, “Moving On,” which would star Tomlin and Jane Fonda.

“Around when ‘Grandma’ came out, I met Jane through that and Lily called me up and said, ‘Jane, and I would love it if you’d write something for us,’” director Paul Weitz told Sharon Waxman at TheWrap and Shutterstock’s Interview and Portrait Studio at the Toronto Film Festival.

Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Malcolm McDowell and Richard Roundtree star in “Moving On,” which tells the story of two old friends who reconnect at a funeral and plot to take their revenge on a widower who wronged them in the past.

“It kind of stuck in my head, and I’ve worked with Malcolm before and had this image of somebody who was at his beloved wife’s funeral coming up saying, ‘Oh, we love you. We’re so sorry for your loss,’ and then Jane comes up on that and says, ‘I’m going to kill you this weekend’ and then moves on and I thought how did that come about?” Weitz said.

Weitz added: “So that image, that little scene first occurred to me, and then it was just about discovering what had happened and what their lives were, what might have happened in their friendship with each other again, and really, what were the sort of losses and joys of Jane’s life.”

Weitz pointed out that he likes movies set off by an inciting incident that takes you on a journey where you learn more about the character.

“I really like movies where a character inadvertently opens up and you learn about their lives, and then they have a journey set off by this one instance,” Weitz said. “So this is very much about that and about something that almost destroyed this person’s life but it’s also about her rediscovering a friendship, rediscovering a love and getting revenge.”

Tomlin, who worked opposite Fonda on Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie,” had to put the chemistry aside she had with Fonda for seven seasons on the show in order to make “Moving On” work. The pair also famously co-starred in the 1980 comedy hit movie “9 to 5” with Dolly Parton.

“We wanted them to be very different,” Tomlin said. “Paul puts it on the page. The characters there. You have to dig for it a little bit to do it correctly. The ground is very fertile. So you can create something that will work for you.”

Watch the rest of TheWrap’s interview with the cast above.

Studio sponsors include GreenSlate, Moët & Chandon, PEX and Vancouver Film School.