Leslie Bibb Says 'About My Father' Mirrored Her and Sam Rockwell's Mothers Meeting: 'They're Both Wolves' (Exclusive)

There is no denying that it can be worrisome for couples to introduce their families to one another, but that is exactly the fear that comedian Sebastian Maniscalco's new movie, About My Father, deals with. The film stars Maniscalco as a fictional version of himself who has to introduce his Italian immigrant father Salvo, played by by Robert De Niro, to his girlfriend's family. Actress Leslie Bibb portrays Maniscalco's better-half, Ellie, and she recently revealed how the movie's premise somewhat mirrored the first time she and Sam Rockwell's mothers met, joking that both women are "wolves." 

In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com, Bibb discussed how About My Father approaches "the integration of two families" with heart and humor. Noting that many people can experience "fear" of losing a child to someone else, Bibb said, "Trying to circumnavigate the merging of worlds together is... very hard," and the film expresses this by depicting a family that "is insane, but loving."

Bibb then referenced "a great scene between" De Niro and Kim Cattrall, who plays Ellie's politician mother Tigger. "They seem like such opposites," she explained, being careful not to spoil anything. "Then they have the scene and something happens afterward and they have a weird chemistry that's sort of like, 'What's happening?' But also they see each other like, 'Oh, we're not so dissimilar.' There is a common thread between them."

This, she says, reminded her of the time she and her partner, fellow actor Sam Rockwell, took her mother to meet his. "We took her to Virginia... for Thanksgiving. I was very nervous. I was like, 'My mom is very specific and she's Southern... I don't know if your mom...' And I remember at one point I looked over and they were sitting on a couch having a drink and just chatting and talking."

Bibb then quipped, "I was like, 'Oh my God. That's right. We were both raised by wolves. They're both wolves. They're both insane.' Penny loved my mom, and Betty loved Penny. I was like, 'Why would they ever be nervous about that?' It was really heartwarming to see that. Usually, there is some sort of common thread that we can find with our in-laws."

Another important part of family that the film reflects is the relationship between parents and their kids, which Bibb also found relevant to her own experience. "There's a bit about cologne," she recalled, "and Sebastian does love his cologne, but I said, 'When was the first time you remember doing cologne like your father did?' And he goes, 'My first communion.'" The actress acknowledged that this is something that happens when "you're young," and then added that Maniscalco told her "his dad had these red shoes that he loved. He thought they were so cool and he would borrow them."

Comparing this to something from her childhood, Bibb shared that she used to play in her mom's closet and try on clothes. "My father passed away when I was little. So my mom raised me and my three sisters," she said, later adding, "If you're lucky enough to have a good parent that you really look up to them... they're your heroes. So it's cool... a gentle reminder of our kids need us."

Earlier this month, the cast attended the About My Father premiere in Chicago, and Bibb noticed that the film, with all its hilariously heartfelt moments about family, had a big emotional impact on the audience. "I think regardless — male, female — you are reminded of our love of somebody who is a father, mother, or mother figure or father figure. And the importance of family, especially coming out of COVID." 

Finally, Bibb added, "All I crave is to be with my people that I call my family, my chosen family. It's very important right now. I think that's the cool thing about the movie. It's just a reminder that, or it's nice to be vulnerable and to rely on them and embrace them. We spent enough time alone." About My Father debuts in theaters on May 26.