BEVERLY HILLS – Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon have some advice for women stuck in bad relationships.
“Jump ship, babe,” says McKinnon, who stars with Kunis in "The Spy Who Dumped Me” (in theaters Friday). “That’s what I’d say. Just get out.” The high-adrenaline, R-rated comedy serves up Kunis as Audrey, an introverted 30-year-old grocery store clerk ghosted by her boyfriend (Justin Theroux) only to learn he’s an undercover CIA operative. What’s a girl to do? Fly to Europe with her best friend Morgan (McKinnon) to untangle an international conspiracy, obviously.
Before you head to the theater, catch up with the two busy stars on everything from motherhood to "Saturday Night Live."
A word about heartbreak
Audrey is blindsided by a breakup in "The Spy Who Dumped Me," and it takes several car chases, some amateur Jason Bourne moves and a mad dash across Berlin, Paris and Prague for her to find her footing. What advice does Kunis, 34, have for young women in bad relationships? “If I could tell a 16-year-old anything, (it would be): No relationship is permanent," she says. "It took me until I was in my mid- to late 20s to realize, 'Oh if this isn’t working out, I can simply walk away.' ”
McKinnon, 34, says time heals (most) wounds. "When you’re younger, a year is such a higher proportion of your life. And as you age, one year becomes less and less of a significant fraction. So time does start to pass faster and you do start to put things in perspective more."
Sorry, 'SNL' fans: Helsinki is on ice
It's no secret that McKinnon is the MVP of "Saturday Night Live." (Thanks to zeitgeisty impersonations of everyone from Hillary Clinton and Jeff Sessions to Kellyanne Conway and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.) But the comedian's vibe is distinctly more mellow in person. “When I’m performing, I’m quite loud, and then in real life, you can’t hear a word that I’m saying,” she says, smiling. “I speak in dulcet tones only. I think people are sort of confused when they meet me by how shy I am and sometimes serious.”
The comedian, who jogs to work when the show is in season ("SNL" returns this fall), dashes hopes that "SNL" writers had a group text about a Trump/Putin Helsinki sketch (which would have been a perfect opening if the show wasn't on summer hiatus). “We all are in a different mode" right now she says. “I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts and following (politics) and stuff but I’m not trying to think about how to make comedy out of it.”
Finding your crew
In “The Spy Who Dumped Me,” McKinnon and Kunis are gold-standard BFFs, so when the effervescent, occasionally outrageous Morgan (McKinnon) is deemed “a little too much” by a sneering male character, Audrey swings to her defense. In real life, both McKinnon and Kunis say they still have tight crews from their childhoods. “When I was younger, I remember being told that I was weird,” says McKinnon. “I sort of felt bad about it, then I noticed that half of the people were telling me I was weird, but the other half were laughing. So I just decided to hang around those people instead. And that’s been my strategy for my life.”
The movie's director and co-writer Susanna Fogel calls female friendships “one of the most important relationships in life.”
“For me, the most important thing was to show adult female friendships as I see them,” she says, explaining Audrey and Morgan’s airtight bond. “Most movies about female friendships have some manufactured conflict and all the conflict that comes from a misunderstanding or a petty argument.” In "The Spy Who Dumped Me," nothing – not dudes, a restaurant shootout or threat of torture by way of a psychotic Russian gymnast – can break these two up.
Party of four
What changed after Kunis gave birth to her second child, Dimitri, 1? "Everything," says Kunis who also has a daughter, Wyatt, 3, with husband Ashton Kutcher. "You don't appreciate how easy having one kid is until you have two – and then it's too late to appreciate having just one.
"When the second baby pops up, you’re like, ‘Oh, my God, I’ve got to keep both of you alive, but the two of you have completely different interests! What am I going to do?' I’m physically exhausted keeping them literally just not falling off the edge of (anything),” she says.
So goodbye, sleep. “The one thing that I tell people is you’ll never sleep the same ever again,” says Kunis with a wry laugh. “You will ultimately sleep through the night, your kids will sleep through the night. (But) I simply never slept soundly ever again. Because you’re always concerned about that little noise that can happen, that little sound that can be made, that little hiccup." She shrugs. "It's not bad, it’s just a different life.”