The Characters' Evolution
The process of making TRUE STORY was much like that of any other movie, but
all three key actors admitted that it weighed heavily on them. "I've made three
dramas that are based on real stories, playing real characters," says Jonah
Hill, "and none of them have been more heartbreaking or heavy than this. You
just feel an immense responsibility at all times to make sure that you're being
respectful to the people that this actually happened to and that were affected."
It was not easy for him to let go of all of this at the end of each day. "I
think when you're making a comedy or a drama, anything, you kind of take the
atmosphere of what you're doing home with you in some way. When I was making 21
JUMP STREET I was having fun and the set was fun, so I would go home and be in a
good mood. For this, where I was spending all day every day thinking about
something so devastating-something that really happened--it was almost
impossible to snap out of it."
It was leagues away from the playful, outrageous comedy THIS IS THE END, the
previous film in which he had appeared with James Franco. "To go from a very
broad comedy like that to this kind of movie--which is probably the polar
opposite-well, it was really interesting to get to do two movies of such
different tones with the same actor. And, you know, James and I have a tendency
to joke around with one another, but on a movie like this you just can't. You
Felicity Jones also found it hard to drop the concerns of her character at
the end of the working day. "Everybody's finding it quite hard," she said during
filming. "You just carry it with you. Because this is a true story, you can't
just pretend that it's okay, and that it's not real, like you can do with most
movies. This is more profound and a lot more complicated. So we've definitely
been needing each other, and supporting each other."
"I was talking to Jonah about this yesterday," said James Franco during the
filming of one of the prison sequences. "Because my character is so
irredeemable, and because part of his spookiness is that on the surface he
appears nice and charming, I feel a little icky being around other people
between shots. I feel like I am being extra nice and I don't know if they see
this as some sort of rub-off from the character. I shudder at being connected
too closely with him. Fortunately, Rupert and Jonah and the whole crew behind
the camera are all very, very kind. So this could have been an incredibly
miserable experience just because it is so dark. But having Jonah and Rupert and
such a terrific crew does make it a lot easier."
Jonah Hill is also quick to credit Rupert Goold with providing a sense of
support during this not-altogether-pleasant production period. "Of course," he
laughs, "Rupert is very British, which I'm not used to, and there were a lot of
times when it was me, him, and Felicity, and she's also British, so I was like
the odd American out. But Rupert is so smart, he's so interesting, he cares
about the performances and the tone of what you're doing so much. He's very
visual, but he's also very actor-centric, as many theater directors are, and of
course that's great for the actors. I just think the guy's so talented, and he
cares so much and he's so involved in every nuance of the scene. It was a joy to
be around him and work with him. I think this movie's really going to let people
here in America know who he is."
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