Tina Fey Makes the Grade in “ADMISSION”

In Focus Features' new drama comedy “Admission,” multi-award-winner Tina Fey (TV's “30 Rock,” “Date Night”) brings her smarts and humor to the role of a Princeton admissions officer, but her special mix of wit and wisdom seems to be the trademark of her illustrious career.

Based on the 2009 bestselling novel by Jean Hanff Korelitz, “Admission” revolves around straight-laced Princeton University admissions officer Portia Nathan (Fey) who lives by the book, both at work and at home. But Portia is caught off-guard when she makes a recruiting visit to an alternative high school overseen by her former college classmate, the free-wheeling John Halsey (Paul Rudd). Halsey has surmised that Jeremiah, his gifted yet very unconventional student, might well be the son that Portia secretly gave up for adoption many years ago. Soon, Portia finds herself bending the rules for Jeremiah, putting at risk the life she thought she always wanted -- but in the process finding her way to a surprising and exhilarating life and romance she never dreamed of having.

Fey reflects, “When I told friends, especially those with children, about the film, there would be an instantaneous reaction and I would get peppered with questions. There’s a sense of panic in every parent who is about to go through that process. I found the story compelling, and I wanted to take on the challenge of playing this character at the center of that process.

“Portia is a woman who is living in a judgmental and strict world, and she comes unraveled – but she also loosens up,” continues Fey. “When she takes a maternal interest in Jeremiah, she is trying to give something to him and help him realize his potential. Her story is so beautifully told in Jean’s book, and [screenwriter] Karen [Croner] did such a great job translating it into the screenplay.” Fey told Entertainment Weekly that in “Admission,” she had “to try to do acting—real acting. [My husband] Jeff kept telling me every day, 'Don't forget to do acting.'”

If Fey felt any lack of confidence playing Portia, it certainly never showed. Fey's co-star Paul Rudd says, “Tina and I had done some sketch comedy on `Saturday Night Live,' but working with her starring in a movie was amazing; she had such a handle on the part of Portia. Coming into this, you know Tina is going to be funny, but she deflects all of her jokes. She’s not schtick-y; that’s not her style. Instead, she plays into what’s funny in the situation and the character, making sure that the humor emerges naturally.”

Admission” will be shown exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas starting March 22 – the same opening day as the US. Moviegoers can catch the film at Glorietta 4, Greenbelt 3, Trinoma, Alabang Town Center and Market! Market!