Thompson went over his script one more time. "Everything I write is about people's inability to reach each other. Moliere said that comedy worked because the people in the audience felt superior to the person on stage, so they can laugh at him. I tend to reverse it, I write sort of comedy--sad comedies. I write through pain, I write through sadness and that's what I encourage my actors to find, always. If I see them drifting into the obvious or the superficial--I say to them but what's the pain, what's the person's pain at that moment. I asked Bruce that when he's watching the guys landing on the moon on television."
Dern said his character, unlike the others in the film, "never really comes to a realization about himself. He believes he's close to his kids but he's not. He's by the book, inflexible. So, while he comes to an understanding with Scott, he never can admit that maybe he was wrong about things."
"My character is forced to change because she's identified herself with her family, and her kids are about to leave the fold," said Cassidy. "Ernest writes in such a way that you don't have to play the obvious to get across the emotion of a scene."
"It's pentimento," said Thompson. "You see something and it looks OK but then it seems there's something slightly askew, you rub it a little and there's a layer underneath and it's a little bit different. So, if the director hasn't totally ruined the writer's intentions, that full circle aspect of the story should make for pretty powerful drama."