Miami Living Magazine

Olivia Culpo

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Page 134 of 211

"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore," said French author and Nobel-prize-recipient, André Gide. Recently, 36-year-old actress Lauren Miller Rogen embarked on her directorial debut aboard her very first cruise –so, she has done this literally and figuratively. Had she grown up anyplace else, I wouldn't have been so surprised by the latter fact, but Lauren, like myself, was born in New York and grew up in Central Florida. Cruise ship vacations to Floridians are like bottomless brunches to 20-somethings —it's a deal you simply don't pass up. You just don't. "I know!" Lauren exclaims. "It's weird, honestly. When I was on the ship, I was like, 'Why didn't my parents take us on a cruise?' My brother was one of those kids who liked to go off and explore on his own. Honestly, it's the perfect vacation for a family with kids, and yeah, we just didn't. We moved from [Long Island] New York to [Lakeland] Florida —all of our vacations were to come to New York and visit family and friends." Subconsciously, Lauren must have felt that she had been missing out all these years, since her latest film, Like Father, is set on a cruise ship. The actress best known from movies like For a Good Time, Call… (the first feature film she co-wrote/starred in), Superbad (which her husband Seth Rogen co-wrote/starred in), and 50/50 and I are seated at a table out front of Think Coffee in SoHo, Manhattan. On this breezy, overcast afternoon in late June, Lauren is wearing a long, multi- patterned, floral summer dress (just like me, further solidifying the kindred-spirit vibe I am picking up), and has her light- brown, shoulder-length tresses down. Yesterday, Lauren officially completed production on Like Father, starring Kristen Bell, Kelsey Grammer, and Seth Rogen. The Netflix movie follows Rachel (played by Kristen) as she is left at the altar and ends up on her honeymoon cruise with her estranged father, Harry (played by Kelsey). While Seth plays Jeff, a fellow cruiser Rachel meets onboard. The premise for the story came from producer Anders Bard (I Love You, Man), who shared it with Lauren during a meeting one day. "I honestly can't tell you why I sparked to it, because I was not left at the altar, I have a great dad, and have never been on a cruise before. But for some reason, I just really liked it." Unable to get the story off her mind, Lauren pushed to write the screenplay until Anders gave her the greenlight. Essentially in uncharted waters, Lauren consulted with her mother-in- law on all things cruise-related as Seth's parents are "big cruisers." The end result: a funny, heartfelt story that takes you through a range of emotions from start to finish. As for Kristen and Kelsey, they give an excellent performance as father and daughter. "I feel like these are both kinda roles that we've not seen either of them do and they're both so good. He is just so heartbreaking, and she shows so many colors that you had no idea were in her palette, and you're like, 'Wow, she's so dramatic and just moving and heartbreaking.'" Like Father is Lauren's first foray into directing. A multi-talented artist since childhood, she grew up writing short stories and poems. Initially, she wanted to become an actor, but her parents convinced her to go to film school so that she could support herself behind the camera when she wasn't in front of it. "I went to film school at Florida State and made short films. This was the path all along, it just hadn't happened," she says about her directorial debut. However, before Lauren stepped in as director, she sought out other female filmmakers to fill the position. But once these women put it in her head that she should be the director, she jumped at the opportunity. "I was like, 'Fuck yeah! I want to do this.' To just come out and be like, I want to direct it. Like now, I would say it. Now, that's normal, but still, there were not a lot of female filmmakers [four years ago when they first started out] and so it was an exciting, amazing thing for Anders to believe in and get behind me, which he completely did." The new director also has a Hitchcock-like cameo –so keep your eyes peeled. What do you think that people would be surprised to find out about you? "That I'm really messy. Not dirty, I'm messy. Really bad at cleaning my room. I feel like that's always surprising people. When Seth and I go stay in a hotel, we'll really take over the room with our stuff. So, most people come in and are like, what happened in here?! I don't know what happened," she laughs.

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