LONDON (Reuters) - Lily Tomlin's part in "Grandma" was written with the actress and comedienne in mind, the film's director Paul Weitz says.
"I heard her voice and that unlocked it for me. I think she's the only person whose particular brand of comedy would work in this," Weitz, who directed and wrote the film, told Reuters in an interview in London.
The movie tells the story of Elle Reid and her granddaughter Sage (Julia Garner), who needs to get money together for an abortion. It follows the two as they try to borrow the money from various characters from Elle's past.
"I knew who she was, I mean I felt like I knew enough about her that I could bring her to life," Tomlin said.
"But ... when Paul gave me the script I worried about reacting well to it and saying 'Oh God I want to do it' rather than equivocating about it ... luckily I loved the script and I thought it was a real opportunity to play a complex character."
After premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in January, the comedy-drama has received widespread critical acclaim and Oscar buzz for Tomlin's performance.
"I've enjoyed that people have responded that well to the performance and to the movie, but I try not to take it too seriously or dwell on it or anything like that so ... I'm not horribly disappointed," Tomlin said.
"Grandma", which was released in the United States in September, hits UK cinemas screens on Dec. 11.