Actors Jane Alexander and James Saito on the Joys of ‘Modern Love,’ Amazon’s New Romance Series

At Closer Weekly, we’re all about bringing people together. This fact proved proved itself true when we engaged in a three-way phone conversation with Jane Alexander and James Saito regarding their new Amazon anthology series, Modern Love, in which they appear in the final episode. What quickly becomes apparent is that the two of them haven’t seen each other since filming ended.

“Jane,” exclaims James, 64, once all three of us are on the line, “so lovely to hear your voice again.”

“It’s great to hear yours too,” Jane, 80, enthuses. “I was just looking at your wonderful face, because I saw our segment, which I thought was lovely.”

She’s not wrong. Not about his face, but about the episode (though we have nothing against James’ face, either). As to the overall series (which stars, among others, Tina FeyAnne Hathaway and Dev Patel), Amazon describes its episodes as consisting of unlikely friends, a love that resurfaces, a marriage at its turning point, a date that might not be a date and an unconventional new family — all of which have been inspired by the “Modern Love” column of the New York Times. The episode that Jane and James star in, “The Race Grows Sweeter Near Its Final Lap,” is nicely summed up by her opening narration: “Old love is different. In our 70s and 80s, we had been through enough of life’s ups and downs to know who we were, and we had learned to compromise. The finish line was drawing close.”

Each episode of Modern Love is about 30 minutes long, and what’s impressive is the power of Jane and James’ story, particularly when you consider that they’re only on screen for 17 minutes, the remainder being devoted to wrapping up previous storylines.

“I agree,” Jane laughs. “I think that we did a pretty darn good job. And certainly our director, also the co-writer on it, Tom Hall, really pulled it together. I enjoyed being with James and I think the chemistry just naturally worked for us.”

Adds James, “I think when you say that so much was accomplished in a short time, a lot of it has to be attributed to the script, because what Tom wrote just packed everything in. Every moment, every scene, meant something. So it was just all there on the page and then, for myself, working with Jane … I mean, she’s one of the legends of acting, so to have that was just a pleasure. For me, it was all there and I just tried to follow the dots.”

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