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Cast And Characters

There's something that feels so good about sharing your life with somebody.


How do you share your life with somebody?

The challenge was in presenting a love story when audiences can only see one of the two people involved. "There was only one way it was going to work, and it was entirely dependent on Joaquin and Scarlett. It's their performances that make the connection and the love between Theodore and Samantha something audiences can really feel," says Jonze.

"To have the camera resting on Joaquin's face and watch him listening to Samantha, and to see his love for her in his expression_to me, that was one of the most exciting aspects of the movie," the director continues. "He's not only showing how his character feels, but he's helping to embody her through his response to her."

"We never treated it as anything other than a real relationship," adds Phoenix.

Equally vital is the way in which Johansson expresses Samantha's increasing self-awareness solely through a vocal characterization that starts simply and grows to encompass a rich subtext of feeling: joy, hope, compassion, confidence, jealousy, doubt, frustration, fear.

For Johansson, "There was a tremendous sense of freedom in being able to create a personality without the limits or the expectations of anything physical. It was liberating."

Running concurrently to his romance with Samantha, the movie also looks at the aftermath of Theodore's marriage to Catherine, a successful neuroscientist, played by Rooney Mara. "Spike originally thought I might be too young to play Catherine but I really went after it," Mara recalls. "It's such a powerful story. It raises a lot of interesting questions, not just about relationships but about who we are and how we interact with each other. I loved it and I really wanted to be a part of it."

Still haunted by thoughts of her, Theodore is trying to make peace with what happened and why.

"There are flashbacks to some of the important moments between Catherine and Theodore, so you get a sense of their history and their life as a couple and how things have changed," says Mara.

Meanwhile, another woman in Theodore's life, his best friend Amy, played by Amy Adams, appears to be on a parallel track as she faces the end of her own marriage, though the circumstances differ. "The character Amy reached a point in her marriage where she was trying to fit the mold of somebody else and not being authentic, and it was causing her a lot of stress," Adams explains. "I think when you do that, it stunts your growth, emotionally and intellectually. One of the things Amy and Theodore have in common is they were both trying to do something that wasn't working.

"It's wonderful to explore a true male/female friendship like this, with no undertones or overtones," she says. "Amy wants to push Theodore past this place he's in, but at the same time she does it with kid gloves because she appreciates his vulnerability.

"Spike is interested in people and he's interested in the female point of view and what drives women emotionally, so you get characters like Amy and Catherine and Samantha," Adams adds. "He spent so much time and energy helping us understand these people and their connections with Theodore. I believe everyone will see something in these characters that reflects themselves and how they deal with relationships."

Rounding out the main cast is Olivia Wilde, who stars as a promising but mercurial blind date for Theodore in one remarkably vivid scene. On the surface, this date is the total package: gorgeous, smart, accomplished and flawlessly turned out, but on the inside it's another story. "She's got it all, and yet she's damaged," says Wilde. "She's fear-based; fears about her biological clock, fears about her own failures and where she's going. She has a similar void, like Theodore, and is desperate to fill it. With so much baggage, she makes an interesting contrast to Samantha, who has no baggage."

Wilde purposely did not meet Phoenix prior to playing the scene. "Spike wanted to keep us separate until that moment to maintain the nervous energy of a blind date, so it was kind of like jumping into the pool_which was thrilling, actually, and fun for an actor," she says.

The film's supporting cast also includes Chris Pratt as Theodore's easygoing office-mate, Paul, who invites Theodore and Samantha to join him and his own flesh-and-blood girlfriend on a double date and doesn't miss a beat when informed that Samantha is an OS; and Matt Letscher as Amy's opinionated husband, Charles.

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