People Like Us: Interview with Actors
From DreamWorks Pictures comes “People Like Us,” a drama/comedy about family, inspired by true events, starring Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Olivia Wilde, Michael Hall D’Addario, Philip Baker Hall, Mark Duplass and Michelle Pfeiffer. Alex Kurtzman directs the film from a screenplay written by Kurtzman & Roberto Orci & Jody Lambert. “People Like Us” marks Kurtzman’s feature-film directorial debut. The film opens nationwide on June 29, 2012.
In the film, Chris Pine plays Sam, a twenty-something, fast-talking salesman, who finds his latest deal collapsing on the same day he learns that his father has suddenly died. In the course of fulfilling his father’s last wishes, Sam uncovers a startling secret: He has a 30-year-old sister Frankie (played by Elizabeth Banks) whom he never knew about. As their relationship develops, Sam is forced to rethink everything he thought he knew about his family—and re-examine his own life choices in the process.
Pine: Sam is a class-A bullshit artist with his work, with himself, with his girlfriend, with his life. He is Mr. Show. He has created—because of a deep pain, a deep sense of abandonment—a wonderful, shiny, bright, big show that he sells to the world while he dies a little bit more every day.
Pfeiffer: In the beginning, [my character] Lillian and her son Sam are both just shut down from each other, from themselves and from life. They have both, in very different ways, retreated from really living, feeling, experiencing and interacting.
Banks: Frankie is always leery of men. I think she’s met all kinds and she’s very protective of herself and her situation and her son. To invite someone as deeply into her heart as she does Sam is a very rare thing for Frankie.
Wilde: [My character] Hannah’s fallen madly in love with Sam, who’s so mercurial. One moment he’s all in and then the next minute he goes completely cold. Their relationship has progressed to the point where it is a serious partnership, and yet he’s not all there and she’s constantly chasing him and picking up after him, in an emotional sense.
D’Addario: Josh has a single mom. His life is kind of a struggle. He’s a rebellious kid, but on the inside he’s not so rebellious. When Josh finds his uncle, he really connects with him and has kind of a father figure in his life.
Working with Director Alex Kurtzman
Pine: I got great joy out of watching Alex direct for the first time, watching him bring to life something that was so emotionally impactful for him. But what I really want to stress is that Alex’s greatest gift is his incredibly fine-tuned sensitivity. Alex was always inclusive. He always created a true sense of wanting to make it better communally. Work became this even playing field and he had the ability to not be precious about something that was clearly very precious to him.
Pfeiffer: The whole reason I did the film was because I fell so in love with Alex when I met with him. He’s incredibly collaborative and incredibly humble and really smart. He’s a gifted director and really has great instincts about performance and how to talk to actors. I just loved working with him and I really hope I get to do it again.
Banks: Alex was a first-time director, but he was more prepared and more involved than some of the directors who’ve done it a long time. He did an amazing job with this movie. I think he’s a true auteur. He really cares about every little detail and it’s really been fun to be part of someone’s first directorial project…
Banks: As so often happens when you read good material, it doesn’t take long after finishing the last page to realize that this will be a part of your life. I liked the balance of humor and anger…so many layers of emotion that had been packed down.
Pfeiffer: They don’t make a lot of movies like this anymore and I think there’s a real appetite for it. Given the cast and the subject matter, it will appeal to a really wide range. People are always looking for something that moves them in some way, whether you’re making them laugh or you’re making them cry. This one does both.
Wilde: It is the kind of movie that actors want to make when they get in this business but don’t always get a chance to. It’s very simple and it’s very meaningful and I just hadn’t read anything like it, ever. It reminded me of great films like “Ordinary People” and I just wanted to be a part of it. And the people working on it were some of the most talented people in the business. I felt it was the kind of family story that’s never told anymore.
D’Addario: I like how much the script relates to music and I think the storyline is great.
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