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
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,
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