Actor Liv Tyler sits in the Hot Seat this week to talk about the film Robot & Frank. She costars alongside Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon (who we interviewed back in March), Peter Sarsgaard and James Marsden.
RECOMMENDED: Full list of Hot Seat interviews
TONY: Hi, Liv!
Liv Tyler: Hi, how are you? Where are you?
TONY: Good. I’m in Hell’s Kitchen, at the Time Out office on Tenth Avenue.
Liv Tyler: The first boy I ever kissed used to live in Hell’s Kitchen. [Laughs] I like that neighborhood; it’s one of the last very New Yorky places.
TONY: Wow. I never thought of it as a particularly romantic neighborhood before.
Liv Tyler: Oh my God, it was! And there were all these rats running around everywhere.…
TONY: That doesn’t sound very romantic.
Liv Tyler: Well, it was romantic in the sense that it was very alive and there were strange things going on. I mean, this was in the ’90s, when I was a teenager. That sort of old New York doesn’t exist in the same way anymore.
TONY: Okay, let’s talk shop. I haven’t seen you in a film for a while. What have you been up to?
Liv Tyler: Well, I wasn’t so focused on moviemaking for a big chunk of time. When I had my son, I just wanted to be home more, and workwise I’ve had a cosmetic contract with Givenchy and Pantene. So I’ve just been doing stuff like that, and having a little break from moviemaking and moving. I moved from New York to L.A. back to New York, and I got divorced, and, like… You name it, it happened.
TONY: And now you’re in the indie comedy Robot & Frank, which got a great response at the Sundance Film Festival in January. What about this project hooked you?
Liv Tyler: I really just go with my gut when I read things, and there was something just so incredibly touching about this. The humor and the simplicity of it sort of reminded me of the movies that I loved as a kid. What’s that movie where alien pods come down into the old folks’ home? It was such an amazing movie. What was it called? Okay, I’m gonna think about it—it’ll come to me.
TONY: Cool. So Robot & Frank is set in the near future, where technology has advanced to the point that robots can help care for people—
Liv Tyler: Cocoon! It’s called Cocoon!
TONY: Well done, I’m impressed! So yeah, about technology: How do you feel about how integrated it already is into our lives?
Liv Tyler: For me, I find it all incredibly stressful. I think it creates a sort of disconnect between you and everybody in your life. I find that I’m much happier and more creative—and a better mother and a better person in general—when I’m not that involved with machines all the time.
TONY: You have a seven-year-old son. Are you concerned about him being glued to his phone at the dinner table?
Liv Tyler: Oh, he’s not having a phone. [Laughs] Not in the time he’s gonna be living in my house.… I really want to watch Cocoon right now.
Robot & Frank opens Aug 17.