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MARION COTILLARD - ALLIED

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MARION COTILLARD - ALLIED

French-born actress Marion Cotillard, also a musician and singer-songwriter was born into a family of performers and seemed destined for the spotlight.  At the young age of 16, she made the decision to become a professional actress and moved to Paris to pursue her dream.  The dream materialized, and Marion went on to star in over 40 different French films, but her most iconic role was in La Vie En Rose in which Cotillard starred as the fallen French singer Edith Piaf that catapulted her into international fame.  The President of France heralded her performance, and she went on to take home both a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award for the role.  It was the first time in years that a film with foreign dialog took home the Oscar.  She embodies her characters that she plays so intensely that you might not even recognize her on the red carpet.  This star is usually immersed in her work, and not too much with the fame that goes along with her job.  

Unfortunately, before her new film Allied was released she was pulled into the divorce drama between Hollywood power couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.  Rumors swirled that the steamy chemistry between Cotillard and Pitt was the reason the couple was splitting up.  Marion vehemently denies all these claims and has maintained that the drama was something she had nothing to do with.  Like any great artist, she wants the focus to be her work, and this movie is a beautiful story.  

Allied takes place in the middle of World War II.  Cotillard and Pitt play undercover agents posing as a happily married couple.  During all the chaos and the danger of being caught the two find themselves falling in love for real.  Legendary Director Robert Zemeckis and writer Steven Knight bring the dramatic love story to life.

STRIPLV:  What attracted you to the film Allied?

COTILLARD:  When I read the script, I wanted to see the movie, and I thought that it was such a beautiful love story, very deep and powerful. It has this spirit of old movies, and I liked that, and knowing it would be directed by a visionary like Bob Zemeckis made the project even more exciting.

STRIPLV:  What makes the film such a thriller?

COTILLARD:  It is, at the same time, very entertaining and it examines what your choices are in extreme situations like war.  Especially when your work is being a spy, and pretending that you’re someone you’re not.  In the beginning of the movie, both characters (Marianne Beauséjour and Max Vatan) are spies that meet, and they don’t know anything about each other.  They have to pretend to be this loving couple, and it turns into this very extreme situation that war creates. 

STRIPLV:  What was it like to work with director Robert Zemeckis?

COTILLARD:  He’s a really big part of my desire to be an actress.  I’ve watched all of his movies, and I like what he wanted to tell with this story.  When we first met, he said, “You know, I’m not used to telling love stories like this one.  This is new for me.”  So, it was even more exciting to see him be very honest and so committed to something he was not used to doing and deliver spot on.  We had three weeks where we sat together with Brad Pitt and Bob, with Steven Knight and Graham King.  Steven Knight, who had written this amazing script, and we had a nice period of time where we could get to know each other, get to understand what we really wanted to say throughout this movie.  I was fascinated with him (Zemeckis) on set because all of the movies he’s directed in the past.  He’s been a big part of creating and changing cinema with his films. 

STRIPLV:  How would you describe your character, Marianne Beauséjour?

COTILLARD:  She’s very complex.  She’s very mysterious, but she’s a woman in love.  So, that makes her kind of simple too.  

STRIPLV:  What was your experience reading the script for the first time?

COTILLARD:  I’d read the script a little more than four years ago and I fell in love with the story.   I fell in love with the characters and I was so happy to be apart of the project.

STRIPLV:  What was it like working with Brad Pitt to bring these characters to life?

COTILLARD:  Well, we had the chance to work for almost three weeks together before we started shooting.  It’s something that’s really amazing and that is not that common to have that much time to prepare and get to know each other.  We got to talk about the script a lot, and share our thoughts, and it was wonderful. 

STRIPLV:  How important was costume design in building the characters and the story?

COTILLARD:  Of course on any movie costumes are very important, even if you’re wearing a t-shirt and jeans.  As a kid I dreamt about movies like this, watching American movies from the 40’s and 50’s, and the glamor of that era.  Being a part of a movie like this is what I dreamt about from a young age and it was very special.

GARY ALLAN - FREE

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GARY ALLAN - FREE

By Brittany Santos

With over seven million albums sold to date and five gold albums to his credit Gary Allan is a force of nature in the country music scene.  His last Album Set You Free debuted at number one on the Billboard country chart and the Billboard 200.  And his fans?  They are a fiercely loyal crowd. In fact, recently Gary surprised one of his female fans when he learned she was seeing him perform a record three hundred times.  He invited her backstage and where he and her friends had some cake, and he gave her a custom piece of jewelry that he had made.  Gary has a store in Nashville, Tennessee and when he was walking around town sizing up what competing stores were selling he realized that the silver pieces seemed to be selling well.  He took it upon himself to learn the craft of jewelry making, molding, casting and designing his own unique pieces.

This southern California Native has country music running through his veins.  The first band that he was ever in was his father's.  He performed with him and did solo gigs on the side, and at the age of fifteen Nashville came calling, and Gary scored his very first record deal.  When his father heard about the deal, he refused to cosign it and squashed the deal for his son.  He told him "If I let you have a record contract right now you are going to do whatever they say and you'll get chewed up and spit out.  If you just develop and figure out who you are a little bit, then you'll last longer."  At first, Gary was understandably upset and promptly quit his father's band.  At age, Twenty-two Gary realized his Dad was right, and this time when he signed he was ready to take on the country music scene.  His maturity gave him what he felt was the confidence to perform.  "I didn't have to think about how to sing a song anymore.  You could just give me a song, and I could do it."

His throngs of fans are glad he developed his smoldering vocals, rebellious lyrics, and also the soul searching he helps them feel through his music.  He uses his music to get through whatever life throws at him, and it's been a lot.  Gary had a platinum record under his belt and his legions of fans loved him when he met the love of his life on an airplane ride.  Her name was Angela, and she was his flight attendant on the trip.  The pair quickly fell in love and soon they were moving into a big home in Nashville.  They each had three kids from previous relationships, and they all moved in together Brady Bunch style.  At first, it was a happy marriage.  The families blended and everything seemed wonderful.  Then Gary's wife Angela began developing these debilitating migraines.  The doctors prescribed numerous medications hoping to get her over these crippling headaches.  She became drawn, sad, depressed during this time.  And on October 25th in 2004 Gary realized how bad her depression had become.  She was having a particularly bad day, and Gary knew he should stay by her side.  Angela told him her throat was very dry and would he mind getting her a coke from the fridge.  Gary, of course, wanted to help and when he left the room, Angela crawled out of bed and got their gun from their safe and put it in her mouth.  Gary was devastated and broken.  He pulled it together for his children and eventually got back to his music. 

He has spoken in many interviews that he uses the process of writing, recording, and creating his records as a form of therapy.  We asked him what is he going through in the new album that he is writing.  He said "You know good stuff I feel like lately; I feel like songs that I've written are more positive.  Pretty much the albums I write seem to reflects wherever I'm at mentally.  If I'm going through something, it's like when my wife died every day was therapy you get to ask all the questions and turn over every emotion that you are having.  Whatever I'm going through it helps me work it out."  Gary came out about his wife's suicide and her depression on The Oprah Winfrey show hoping that by sharing his story maybe he could help someone that might be going through the same thing.  Visit his Facebook page today, and you can see that his continued therapy in the studio has touched many hearts and have helped his fans get through tough times in their own lives.  When asked how this makes him feel Gary said "Big, that's why I do it.  When I play live I love to look out into the audience you can see the people that are crying and watch the memories wash over them.  Usually, if you've been through a lot of heartaches you like my stuff, and that's because I had a lot of heartaches when I wrote my stuff."

On his latest tour, he and his band have retooled the set list.  Making a mix of things they haven't played and of course peppered with his hit songs the fans want to hear.  He told STRIPLV that when he visits our town, he has so many family, and friends out this way he doesn't have time to do much of anything.  But he did share a great story about visiting our city when he was a teenager.  "When I was like fourteen to seventeen my best friend's dad was the general manager of The Stardust Casino.  This is like the late seventies and early eighties, and we'd stay at The Stardust.  His Dad lived on the top floor and he'd go down and tell the pit bosses that we could gamble and give us coupons so we could gamble and win real money back.  Then we'd go see the late show.  It was always topless, and he always gave us the VIP High Roller table up front.  It absolutely ruined me as a kid.  I knew that I wasn't working nine to five and there wasn't anything happening before noon that I couldn't miss.  It was the stuff after midnight that I was missing out on."

With a career in music that spans over Twenty-one years, Gary Allan has toured with and met so many celebrities throughout the course of his time as a country superstar.  I couldn't help but wonder when the last time was that this country crooner got star-struck.  "You know I don't really get star-struck.  Recently I got to perform with Steven Tyler; I didn't get hang out with him or anything, but that was pretty cool.  Right when I first got a deal I was on George Straits record label, and I would avoid him because he was one of my favorites, and I was afraid that if he was an ass, I'd have to go and throw away all of his records.  And I said that to him one day after everyone had left and I said Hey George you might have noticed that I've been avoiding you. And I told him it was because I was afraid if you were an idiot I'd have to throw away all your records.  He laughed then said, Man I know what you mean, I was on Ray Prices tour and I don't think he knew I was there for like three years.  I was so upset."  (Laughter)

Country music according to Gary Allan is about Monday through Friday and pop music is about the weekends.  "It's for the everyday hard working stiff.  You are dealing with life with country music, and we like whiskey."  (Laughing)  When asked about the moment when he realized that playing music was actually something he could make money at Gary said; "It probably took about two years of me having a deal with a record label for me to say you know what, maybe I can pull this off.  It is a magical thing.  I worked an eight-hour shift and then went out at night to play music for free.  For somebody to tell me I could make money off the part I did for free was a pretty incredible thing in my life."

How should someone prepare for seeing a Gary Allan show live for the first time? Allan replied, "Grab a couple of shots of something you like, and then get ready."

The touring will continue in the New Year, and the force that is Gary Allan will keep on keeping on including all of his charitable contributions.  He organized a donate and download campaign in conjunction with The Red Cross and his monster hit "Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain)" to donate to the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund.  Allan was scheduled to perform in Atlantic City when the storm hit New Jersey.  He also continues to share the magic with a recent fundraiser in honor of Sharon Eaves a long-time friend and president of his fan club for over Twenty years.  They were able to donate over $25,000 to St. Jude's in a memorial to her.  The moral of this story is if you find the magic and create a career like Gary has it's only fitting that you spread that magic and share it with the world.  Judging from the love and loyalty of his fans, Gary is going to be able to share that magic for quite some time.  

PASSENGERS - INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS PRATT AND JENNIFER LAWRENCE

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PASSENGERS - INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS PRATT AND JENNIFER LAWRENCE

Chris Pratt has come a long way from working at a Bumba Gump Shrimp Company.  It was at that job he met Rae Don Chong.  She saw him waiting tables at the Maui restaurant, and when she saw him, she immediately cast him in her movie that she was directing.  That job landed Pratt who grew up in Washington state right in the middle of Hollywood.  The movie wasn’t successful, but it gave casting directors an introduction to this soon to be next level movie star.  

Early on, he was best known as the kinda chubby guy from the television series “Parks and Recreation.”  But then Pratt landed the opportunity to read for the Marvel franchise “Guardians of The Galaxy.”  The casting director wasn’t too keen on the idea of hiring him for the part until he heard him read for it.  Immediately he knew he’d found his Star-Lord.  His handsome good looks and comedic timing are endearing and seem to charm both men and women alike.  

Pratt’s latest film Passengers is a science fiction action adventure sure to keep audiences on the edge of their seats.  We sat down with Pratt to ask this comedic action hero about working on the film and what it was like to work on a project of this scale.

STRIPLV:  Who is traveling on the Avalon?

PRATT:  There are about 5,000 passengers on the Avalon traveling to this new planet called “Homestead Two.”  The travel in hibernation pods; essentially, exactly what it sounds like; a cocoon, which each of these passengers has kept in a state of suspended animation where they don’t age, where they don’t grow, they just stop all metabolic function.  His pod malfunctions and he wakes up, you know, 90 years early.

STRIPLV:  What are your thoughts on the Arthur?

PRATT:  It was a tricky dynamic, I think, to figure out how “human” Arthur should be because we are far into the future, at least far enough to create a fusion drive; to be able to travel at light-speed and have suspended animation.  I mean these are technologies that are available to us, so you have to assume we’ve made some pretty great leaps in artificial intelligence.  So, it was, I think Michael did a incredible job with the help of Morten, determined just how “human” he’d make this android character, and just enough so that Jim would often forget that Arthur isn’t a human.

STRIPLV:  What was it like reading the script the first time?

PRATT:  When I read the script, I couldn’t believe that I was given the opportunity to be in this movie.  Sometimes, you read a script and it just grabs hold of you and does not let go.  I was not going to let anyone else play Jim; that part was mine. The minute I read it, I wanted it and that was going to be how it was.  I’m so fortunate that it came together like it did.

STRIPLV:  Were you impressed by the set?

PRATT:  I’m a huge fan of talent and when I see the sets that the people on this crew have built.  You can’t help but be in awe.  There’s a lot of really talented artists working on this movie; hundreds and hundreds of people so far and that’s not even counting the post-production process, which itself could be another beast.  Yeah, I’ll be forever impressed by the magnitude of this type of a movie.

STRIPLV:  What can audiences expect?

PRATT:  This is the kind of movie that is going to blow you away.  I think that’s what you like in movies.  Movies can be entertaining, movies can be scary, they’re entertainment, and that’s okay, but sometimes a movie will blow you away, and I think that’s this movie.

STRIPLV:  What do you think about the lighting in the film?

PRATT:  You’re able to create a lighting scheme and design on a movie like this like you never could without LED technology.  With the amount of light and the beautiful ambient light that looks nice to the eye; you would have burnt the stage to the ground if you had to all of that with old, tungsten style light bulbs and because it’s all LED, every single shot is going to be amazing in its beauty.

STRIPLV:  How was it to work with Laurence Fishburne?

PRATT:  It was thrilling to get to work with him.  It’s another great example of working with someone that you can learn a lot from.  He’s been in the business forever, he’s got a booming voice and a strong presence, knows exactly what he wants and he’s a terrific actor and a terrific guy.  It was nice to get to work with him and also nice to get to know him.

 

JENNIFER LAWRENCE is one of the highest paid actresses in the entire world, and the second-youngest actress to have won an academy award.  

JLaw first caught the attention of the critical world when she starred as a poverty-stricken teenager in the drama “Winter’s Bone.”  Lawrence’s Oscar-winning performance in “Silver Lining Playbook” grabbed our hearts and made us tear up. Her turn as the title character in the wildly successful The Hunger Games franchise catapulted her to worldwide monster fame.  It also didn’t hurt that she had multiple turns as the character Mystique in the X-Men movie series.  

In Passengers Jennifer and her co-stars immerse themselves in this futuristic dilemma about a ship in which they wake up from suspended animation 90 years too soon. 

STRIPLV:  Tell us what do you think about the characters in Passengers?

LAWRENCE:  I found the characters who would be involved with the story intriguing because it’s such a huge decision to make a 120-year journey.  When you arrive, everyone you know is going to be dead, so you have to start a brand-new life, on a brand new planet you’ve never been to.  So, of course, there are going to be interesting characters involved in a decision like that.

STRIPLV:  Why does Aurora make the journey?

LAWRENCE:  Aurora’s very smart and very driven, and curious.  She’s also the daughter of a very famous author, which I think always keeps her wanting more and wanting to have her own name.  I think all of these combined with an adventurous spirit sent her off.

STRIPLV:  Visually the film is stunning.  What are your thoughts on the cinematic aspect of it?

LAWRENCE:  The movie’s very visually interesting because these two people are trapped, but it’s the space and the visuals are so much larger.  They’re so lost in this giant space that’s so much bigger than them.  I thought that was interesting.  The dynamics between how they feel and what their characters are going through emotionally versus this giant, gapping space that they’re stuck in.

STRIPLV:  How about the script?

LAWRENCE:  I thought it was such an interesting concept and I hadn’t seen anything like it.  I loved the world, I loved the two characters, and I loved just the sheer idea of the whole thing.  I just thought it was so creative.  I hope people will walk away from seeing it with a million different opinions, and that’s what I liked about the film, is that nobody’s telling you what to feel, it’s what would you do.  It’s a conversation starter.

STRIPLV:  How was it working with Chris?

LAWRENCE:  Chris Pratt was the hardest working person on the movie, including the crew, including everybody.  He is the hardest working person I’ve ever met in my life and has such an amazing attitude.

STRIPLV:  What was it like working with Director Morten Tyldum?

LAWRENCE:  We all love the movie so much.  We all love the script, so that once we all got on the same page, it was a beautiful experience because we all were so passionate about it.  I mean, Chris and I were always so thirsty to hear what Morten was thinking and what his vision was for each set, and his opinion on our characters.  We were all really dialed in together.

STRIPLV:  What do you think about the action in the film and how it builds?

LAWRENCE:  In the third act, it becomes really clear that there’s something wrong with the ship and the gravity starts to go out, the robots are all failing, and, Jim and I are at a race against the clock to figure out what is wrong with the ship and how we can fix it, not just to save our lives but the lives of the 5,000 people who are on the ship. 

LAURENCE FISHBURNE - INTERVIEW

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Laurence Fishburne has had a prolific career, to say the least.  His turn in the iconic film Apocalypse Now might not have happened if he’d been honest.  Fishburne told director Francis Ford Coppola that he was 18 when he was only 14 years old.  And he almost turned down the role of Ike Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It which earned him an Academy Award nomination. 

FISHBURNE:  I play a character named Chief Gus Mancuso.  He’s a guy who’s a spacer, a lifetime of traveling in space.  He is completely enamored with space, stars and new worlds.  The journey goes from Earth almost 100 years, to reach this new planet.  People are asleep for most of the journey and wake up about 80 years later, and populate this new world.  But things go wrong, as they do, and he wakes up along with our two leads, luckily he’s a crew chief, so he has access to certain things they wouldn’t have access to as passengers.  He helps them, sort of, you know, acclimate to the environment of this crazy ship that is on a course that can’t turn back.  Jim, who’s an engineer, doesn’t have all the knowledge Gus has about the workings of the ship, but together, I think the two of them are able to sort of deduce that there is something that’s a miss and it’s much larger than they imagined.  The ship is very refined, very elegant.  It’s super sophisticated, clean, modern and beautifully designed environments that we got to play in.  I’m sure that’s going to add, sort of, to the quality of isolation that I think the audience will feel and allow the warmth to come from the characters.   

STRIPLV:  What’s it like working with the cast and the director? 

FISHBURNE:  I really enjoy working with both Jennifer and Chris, and with Michael, with who I’ve worked with before many, many years ago.  They are all some of the finest actors working, period.  I think the thing that was most important to us, between Morten and myself, was the fact that, you know, he was the one that said to me first, “Gus is the adult, he is the father figure in this piece.”  That was, sort of, a really good anchor for me to have regarding finding out who the character is and how to play him.

ANNA KENDRICK - SPUNKY SINCERITY

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ANNA KENDRICK - SPUNKY SINCERITY

BY JAKE WELLINGTON

Anna Kendrick originally intended to spend her lifetime on Broadway— Successfully working in theater in her youth before making the career shift to film, at the young age of only thirteen, the petite talent was nominated for a Tony Award in ‘98 for her role as “Dinah” in the live show, “High Society” on Broadway, and her outstanding performance won her the Drama League and Theatre World Award. But Hollywood called to Kendrick when at the age of 18 she debuted in her first film, the 2003 musical, Camp, the first in a long series of movies in her future that would utilize the young actress’ singing abilities. Just a few years later, the petite, 5’ 2” talent with the girl-next-door appeal landed the supporting role in the 2008 movie, Twilight, which immediately attracted her attention as part of the international sensation that surrounded the teen vampire novels put to film known as “The Twilight Saga”, giving her the recurring role in sequels, New Moon (2009), Eclipse (2010), Breaking Dawn Part 1 and 2 (2011, 2012). Stepping away from the teen scene, Kendrick worked on the uniquely serious 2009 film, Up in the Air, in which she garnered a nod from the Academy for Best Supporting Actress with co-stars George Clooney and Netflix’s star mom of “Bates Motel”, Vera Farmiga (who also received a nomination in the same category). The more mature role for the tiny yet spunky Kendrick gave her the opportunity to show her acting abilities in her wonderful portrayal of the ice cold, young businesswoman who is hired to fire unwanted employees. Between the vamp sagas, the Portland, Maine-born sprite with a big voice was offered not just one musical to star in, but four. Almost unheard of in a time when very few big screen musicals had been made, the lighthearted yet straightforward actress born of English, Irish and Scottish heritage appeared in the 2012 enormous hit musical comedy, Pitch Perfect, starring opposite comedian Rebel Wilson, which seemed to spark the unique achievement of appearing in three more big screen musicals released within just six months of each other: the fairytale musical comedy, Into the Woods (Christmas 2014) starring opposite legendary actress Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp and Emily Blunt; The Last Five Years (Feb. 2015); and the sequel, Pitch Perfect 2 in May of the same year. And if the musical streak wasn’t unique enough already, Kendrick’s lovely voice can be heard in DreamWorks’ animated musical just released, Trolls, starring opposite pop icon, Justin Timberlake. And yes, for all the a capella fans out there, the Barden Bellas will return with Kendrick once again taking on the role of Beca, and Rebel Wilson joining her as Fat Amy, in the film musical sequel, Pitch Perfect 3, set to come out December of 2017. Between musical breaks, the singing actress took on a more serious role of a young C.P.A. working with a math savant, played by Ben Affleck in the action drama, The Accountant. Anna sat with us to talk about working on The Accountant. The tiny 31-year-old is sincere and wonderfully straightforward and open as she discussed her time working with Ben Affleck and the unique stylings of Director, Gavin O’Connor.

STRIPLV: Tell me what was intriguing about the script when they sent it to you?

KENDRICK: I think one of the things that I loved most about the script was what a puzzle it was. And it was one of those scripts that the second that you finish it you go back to the beginning and kind of re-read it. And I think that it’s such an exciting feeling when you learn so much and there’s so many twists throughout a script that you wanna go back from the beginning and go, like: “Oh, yeah, okay, so that’s why they were doing this, and that’s why he was motivated to do that.” And I think that speaks to the level of the intelligence of the script, like, something that keeps you guessing and keeps you on your toes is so exciting.

STRIPLV: Tell me a little about the character you play in the film.

KENDRICK: I play Dana, who is an accountant, and she notices some discrepancies in the books of this major corporation, and she brings that to the attention of some higher-ups. And she doesn’t realize at all, like, what exactly it is he’s uncovered, and this sort of mystery unravels, and then Ben Affleck’s character, Christian, shows up, and he kind of wants to keep her out of it for awhile, but she ends up in this mystery with him, and kind of getting more than she bargained for.

STRIPLV: Obviously the script has a lot of twists and turns in it, but what do you find special and unique about this movie? KENDRICK: I think one of the things that’s really special about it is the family element, like, it really speaks to, you know, the way that family affects us and who we’ve become because of our family. And on top of this kind of intrigue plot and all these action sequences, there’s this really compelling through-line about family and the bonds that family creates, and just how it shapes who you are and the life that you lead.

STRIPLV: Tell me, did you do any preparation to play this kind of accounting whiz, because Ben Affleck is a savant, but you can sort of match him, right?

KENDRICK: “Yeah, I definitely got the script and my first thought was: “I need to talk to my mom about this, because she is a C.P.A.” So even though it’s kind of…you know, it’s not against the rules, but it sort of would be frowned upon… I sent the script to my mom so that she could kind of talk me through everything. And I was, like, on the phone with her for a long time, scribbling notes. I just wanted to make sure that I knew what I was talking about... It wasn’t the kind of thing where I read the script and didn’t understand it. Like, you still completely get all the puzzle pieces, but I was like, if I’m gonna say some of this lingo, I should probably know what it means.

STRIPLV: That’s cool! You had your own in-house technical advisor standing by. What did you like most about the character itself, as far as like, it sounds like maybe you could bring a little bit more levity, with the seriousness on Ben’s side, that you could bring a little bit more spark to the relationship?

KENDRICK: Yeah, I think it was like one of those films where I was like: “Do I need to play this really serious? Am I gonna be allowed to have moments of levity?” And I think that I was really encouraged, because I think no matter how dramatic a film is or what the subject matter is, it’s always nice to have those moments where the audience is allowed to smile and break, and kind of acknowledge the absurdity of the situations. And I was really grateful that I was allowed to kind of flounder a little bit in some of the scenes and just like relish the humor of these two people who share this passion for math—like, just struggling to connect with one another, and doing it really poorly.

STRIPLV: Yes, tell us more about the relationship between Dana and Christian. They’re two very different people, but yet they find a common bond.

KENDRICK: Yeah, it’s really a sweet relationship, and the first few scenes that Dana and Chris have together are just that like, sweet, but painfully awkward problem of you know, the other one kind of assuming: “Oh, am I irritating you?” or: “No, no, no—I’ll go.” We had a lot of fun with those scenes. And then they really connect over working out this puzzle and this mystery together. And they both get really excited about it. So that was a really fun scene to shoot, like, just finding that common bond and getting excited over something—especially when it’s something that I could not get myself excited about at all...like, it’s numbers on a white board. But it was really fun to try to find that moment.

STRIPLV: What makes the film particularly entertaining is that there are these dualities to the characters. Everyone has like two different, distinct sides. Tell me how that applies to Dana and Chris.

KENDRICK: Well, I think Dana’s a really interesting character because, on that theme of family and how it shapes us, Chris’ father pushed him even though he was born and could’ve very easily been labeled as someone who can only ever achieve this much, his father pushed him to accomplish whatever he wanted, even though some of it is ethically questionable. He is obviously an extraordinary human. And Dana’s father told her, “Take the safe path. Don’t go to art school.” You know, “Just do what I did my whole life.” And so she’s kind of limited herself because of that. So Dana has these two sides to her where part of her wants to play it safe and not ruffle any feathers. But there’s another part of her that wants to know what is going on in her company, and a part of her that wants more and wants art to be in her life, and emotion to be in her life. And she’s kind of struggling between reaching for a connection and kind of letting herself have that knee-jerk reaction of like, ‘I’ll just shrink, and I’ll just limit myself,’ because that’s sort of how she was raised.

STRIPLV: Tell me about Gavin O’Connor. What’s he like as a director?

KENDRICK: When I met Gavin, especially having seen his film, Warrior, which is wonderful, Gavin immediately struck me as such a “guy’s guy.” And what’s fascinating about guys like that is that sometimes they are sort of… there’s a real reverence for their female characters, because there is an element of like: “I don’t really know what you might be feeling in this situation, so let’s talk about it and let’s discover it together,” because he doesn’t presume to know as much as some of the... like particularly the father/son relationships I think he feels very personally connected to. And that openness and that reverence that he has… I found myself like, oversharing with him, you know, which I think is a good sign when you meet someone, particularly a director, and you find yourself sharing like really personal things really quickly, I think that speaks to their ability to get you to open up and work with your emotions so… That was a meeting that I walked away from and was like: “That guy was good!” (chuckling) “I just told him a lot of stuff!”

STRIPLV: And how about working with Ben Affleck? This is an exciting role for him and he’s a super-smart guy. Was it fun working with him?

KENDRICK: Yeah, Ben really blew me away making this. He has such a filmmaker’s sensibility. So he’s such a great teammate, as well as being a great actor. He’s the kind of actor that makes everybody else’s life easier—which is great! And I was so impressed with the research he was doing, and there were a lot of moments and lines and nuances that are some of the best pieces in the film that he took directly from the research that he did.

STRIPLV: Why should people see this film? It sounds like it’s a really good, well-constructed thriller, I would say.

KENDRICK: Yeah, I always love a film that’s a bit of a mystery, and where you’re never sure what someone’s motivations are. It’s one of those movies that on the second viewing I had even more fun, because there are so many elements in play, and watching it for the second time, you really feel like: “Oh, I think I’m ahead of the game.” And then there are still twists that you forgot about. And it’s just nice when a movie is that layered and complicated, and keeps you guessing.

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