PEOPLE LIKE US
Birth of the Story
When writer/director Alex Kurtzman was young, he knew that his father had
been married before and had two
other children. Separated by distance and 15 years, the other family led their
lives and Kurtzman led his. They
never met one another.
One day, Kurtzman began to think about the other family and from that initial
wave of thoughts, the idea for
"People Like Us" began to germinate: What if, when he was young, he had actually
met his half-brother or sister
and never realized it?
In an uncanny and totally serendipitous moment, Kurtzman
met his half-sister at a party that very same day. As Kurtzman
explains, "I don't know where the idea came from, but it
just sort of struck me and I had no idea how to get there.
And I didn't think much of it. That night, maybe about three
hours later, I walked into a party and a woman walked up to
me and said, 'I'm your sister.'
"It was sort of like being in a dream," continues Kurtzman.
"We got to know each other, and it was an amazing
experience. We got incredibly close and as we did, we
started to talk about the different things that we had missed,
the time that we had missed together, and I think that the overwhelming feeling
that we walked away with was
just how grateful we were to finally get to know each other."
Kurtzman admits that it was "a little bit shocking" for both of them to
finally sit down and meet. "It was an
amazing thing to me because when you're looking at someone who in some ways has
your features, whom
you've never met before, and whose genetics are very clear, it's a little bit
like looking in a mirror," says Kurtzman.
"So, when Sam says in the movie, 'She has my father's eyes, she has my father's
nose,' that was something that
I very much felt."
Kurtzman is candid about how he felt making a film on a
subject that he has a personal connection to: "In some
ways, to be honest, it wasn't really a choice for me. It
was something that kind of happened and became all consuming.
I knew that it was going to be emotionally
expensive to go down the road of trying to make this thing
"The mother and the father are nothing like my parents,
and the choices that they made in the movie are nothing
like the choices that my actual parents made," he continues.
"So, it is a complicated separating of truth from fiction, and the thing that
was most important to me, while
being true to the experience of my life, was that I wanted to make sure it was a
movie that communicated that
everybody has reasons for doing what they do."
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