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On The Set
On the close-knit TRUST THE MAN set, Freundlich was appreciated for both his skill as a director and his ability to put his actors at ease. Working with wife Julianne Moore for the third time had a natural rhythm, and the two have developed a form of shorthand. "Bart has an understanding of what she needs as an actress,” observes Perell. "I was there for both of the movies they previously did together, and I think Bart has learned what she needs. I'm sure their personal relationship informs the way in which they work together as well.”

"The challenge as a director is knowing what the actor's process is and facilitating that process enough so they can give you the fantastic gift of their work,” says Freundlich.

Having also worked together before, Freundlich and Crudup had a rapport all their own. "We do chat quite a bit,” says Crudup. "We're both a bit neurotic, and so we have to have full comprehension of the scene, as articulated by one of us, before either of us can venture forth in doing it. WORLD TRAVELER was a nonstop chat session.”

With TRUST THE MAN, the two took a slightly different approach. "We both tried to do as little as we could to censor ourselves,” says Crudup. "We'd just come up with as many silly ideas in the space of a morning as we could. There was a lot of freedom in that environment, which was nice.”

The actors found that the script afforded them an amazing amount of flexibility to head in either a comedic or dramatic direction. Many scenes were shot with various tones and approaches, with the actors hitting different points along the comedic/dramatic spectrum. "We'd go into a scene and play it everywhere from character realism to just goofiness,” explains David Duchovny.

"Working on a comedy has been such a pleasure,” says Maggie Gyllenhaal. "I don't think it's where any of us—David, Julie, Billy or me—usually find ourselves. But I think good comedy comes from really believing in where you are and what the circumstances are, and committing to them.”

That the comedy of the film is couched in realism is probably why it works so well in TRUST THE MAN. The act of effectively balancing these two elements in the performances; however, was often a challenge for the actors.

"The challenging thing about making this film was balancing the very real sentiments and the romantic comedy, balancing the dire possibility of losing your family through an affair and the silliness and slapstick,” says Duchovny. "It was important for Bart and for us as actors to try to strike a tone of realism, to make these people seem like actual people going through psychological struggles that, at the same time, might be really funny and weird and silly. We were constantly balancing the realism with heightened comedic effects. It was a challenge, but that's actually what was the most fun about it.”

Gyllenhaal agrees. "Even when we were playing the heightened comedic stuff, Bart was always most interested in real human behavior,” she says.

"Also, the way that a set feels has so much to do with the director. On this set, everyone was respectful, funny, sweet, and really hardworking, and that has a lot to do with Bart.”

Despite the warm, collegial atmosphere on the set, Freundlich discovered that famous British actor Sir Donald Wolfit was right: "Dying is easy… comedy is hard.” Filming a comedy presented its own unique set of challenges compared to Freudlich's previous dramatic films. "In a drama you can sometimes coast by on a vibe,” says Freundlich. "A comedy is almost more technical. I wanted to make sure I captured all the comedic moments I needed in order to build a scene. I felt like if I missed a piece of coverage or felt like one of the actors wasn't getting the line, it could blow the whole joke—and sometimes, the whole scene is predicated on just getting that joke.”

"Our movie is very modern and very classic at<

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