Taking to heart the old adage of “write what you know,” Heather Graham was inspired to write and direct her upcoming film Half Magic after going through a breakup.
“I went through this breakup and I was laying in bed, kind of depressed and I was, like, ‘I want to write a script and just laugh at all the stupid things I’ve done in relationships.’ ” Graham tells PEOPLE of her cathartic writing process. “So I just started writing this story and I was doing it to crack myself up. You know when you’ve had enough time away from something you can look at it and go, ‘That is hilarious. Why did I do that?’ So I did that with some stories that I could relate to from myself and from my friends.”
The film revolves around three women played by Graham, Angela Kinsey (The Office) and Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), who make a pact to find better romantic partners for themselves and to stop letting their insecurities prevent them from getting and going after what they deserve.
“One of the themes is a woman trying to make movies about women in Hollywood and how hard it is,” Graham says. “I sort of make fun of the different things I’ve struggled with, one of which being trying to make a movie about a woman. Everyone’s like, ‘If you want to get a movie made, write about a man.’ I put all these different things in my movie so I could laugh at it.”
Graham hopes that Half Magic captures the more nontraditional, progressive spirit of today’s women, much like HBO’s Sex and the City and Lena Dunham‘s Girls, as well as Amy Schumer‘s work in TV and film.
“I feel like there’s definitely female voices coming out and expressing themselves, it’s inspiring to hear our side of the story,” she says.
Although Graham is still working on finishing the film, fans can hear the Hangover actress in the new animated adventure Norm of the North, her first-ever voice acting gig for an animated film.
“I’ve always watched them and thought it would be so fun to do,” she says. “So it was really fun to work with great actors and comedians. I got to actually work with Rob Schneider and Ken Jeong, who I already knew. I like doing comedy with comedians, it’s really fun.”
Plus, she didn’t have to worry about any hair and makeup.
“You don’t have to look good, you can just show up looking like a slob,” Graham quips of the voice acting benefits. “It really expands the options of what you can play, you don’t need to play what you look like, you can play anything.”
“I have a bunch of different kids in my life, it will be fun to show them the movie,” continues Graham. “Some of my friends’ kids and these kids I sponsor in Cambodia through the charity called the Cambodian Children’s Fund. One of the kids that I sponsor, because we email to communicate, she sent me the trailer and was very excited. It’s fun because I can’t really send her The Hangover.”
Norm of the North is now in theaters.