PEOPLE LIKE US
The filmmakers approached casting the film very carefully
and deliberately, keeping in mind that the character-driven
story needed to involve actors who not only looked the part
but could bring a sense of relatable reality to the characters'
Producer Roberto Orci explains, "In dealing with casting, we
were trying to take our commercial instincts and yet, not
have that be the point. The point is, are you an actor? Is it a
real script? Is it a real movie? Is it something that is dealing
with something that is meaningful to you? Is it true? And so the two kind of
went togetherâ€¦there was kind of a
parallel of our process."
After reading the script, Chris Pine ("Star Trek") signed on
for the role of Sam-a very different role from his previous
parts. He recalls what drew him to the material: "As so often
happens when you read good material, it doesn't take long
after finishing the last page to realize that this will be a part
of your life. I liked the balance of humor and angerâ€¦so many
layers of emotion that had been packed down."
The filmmakers were very excited about casting Pine and
his performance blew them away. "Chris' performance
is a magic trick because his character makes every wrong
decision and yet, at every turn, with every decision he
makes, you're feeling for the guy," says director Alex Kurtzman. "And that can
only come from an actor who is
both protective of the character and also incredibly appealing on screen."
CHRIS PINE ON SAM: "Sam is a class-A bullshit artist with his work, with
himself, with his girlfriend, with his life.
He is Mr. Show. He has created-because of a deep pain, a deep sense of
abandonment-a wonderful, shiny,
bright, big show that he sells to the world while he dies a little bit more
The filmmakers were all fans of Michelle Pfeiffer ("What
Lies Beneath," "Batman Returns"), so when she responded
positively to the screenplay and the part of Lillian, Sam's
widowed mother, they were delighted and excited to work
with her. Alex Kurtzman recalls his first meeting with the
famed actress: "I knew after one minute of sitting down
with Michelle that we were going to be utterly connected
to each other and that she was going to give a performance
that was totally unselfconscious and totally true. I walked
out of the meeting thinking, I am so lucky to have this
woman playing this part. She is so amazing and every day
on set together was a gift for me."
Pfeiffer admits that the unique story was a major attraction to the project
for her. "They don't make a lot of
movies like this anymore and I think there's a real appetite for it," comments
Pfeiffer. "Given the cast and the
subject matter, it will appeal to a really wide range. People are always looking
for something that moves them in
some way, whether you're making them laugh or you're making them cry. This one
MICHELLE PFEIFFER ON LILLIAN: "In the beginning, Lillian and her son Sam are
both just shut down from each
other, from themselves and from life. They have both, in very different ways,
retreated from really living, feeling,
experiencing and interacting."
Elizabeth Banks ("The Hunger Games," "The Next Three Days") accepted the part
of Sam's long-lost half-sister
Frankie. Banks relates how she became involved with the project: "I remember
reading the screenplay and really
loving it. Then I went into Alex's [Kurtzman] office, and we read a lot of
scenes together. We talked about the
characters and the personal connection that Alex had to the story."
The filmmakers embraced Banks' comedic talents as they felt
that her natural talent would be perfect to define Frankie's
on-screen persona. Kurtzman explains, "Elizabeth is such
a natural comedienne; she's so funny, and she can make a
moment pop in 10,000 different ways, and that's what her
character Frankie needed to do. Frankie needed to be this
person who came into the room and you couldn't take your
eyes off of her. And if you asked her a direct question about
her life experience, she'd deflect it with some humor."
ELIZABETH BANKS ON FRANKIE: "Frankie is always leery of
men. I think she's met all kinds and she's very protective of
herself and her situation and her son. To invite someone as deeply into her
heart as she does Sam is a very rare
thing for Frankie."
Olivia Wilde first met Alex Kurtzman when she was making
"Cowboys & Aliens" and agreed to read the script. She
found herself drawn to the material and ready to sign on
the dotted line. She tells why: "It is the kind of movie that
actors want to make when they get in this business but
don't always get a chance to. It's very simple and it's very
meaningful and I just hadn't read anything like it, ever. It
reminded me of great films like 'Ordinary People' and I just
wanted to be a part of it. And the people working on it were
some of the most talented people in the business. I felt it
was the kind of family story that's never told anymore."
OLIVIA WILDE ON HANNAH: "Hannah's fallen madly in love with Sam, who's so
mercurial. One moment he's all
in and then the next minute he goes completely cold. Their relationship has
progressed to the point where it is
a serious partnership, and yet he's not all there and she's constantly chasing
him and picking up after him, in an
Michael Hall D'Addario makes his feature film debut in
"People Like Us." Chosen from among hundreds of hopefuls,
the Long Island, New York native has been acting since the
age of 6. A talented drummer and musician, Michael says,
"I like how much the script relates to music and I think the
storyline is great."
Producer Bobby Cohen has praise for the young actor.
"Michael's been a lot of fun," he says. "He's great in the
part. And in the times where we've asked him to step up
and go to an emotional place, he's been able to do it. He's
got the gift."
MICHAEL HALL D'ADDARIO ON JOSH: "Josh has a single mom. His life is kind of a
struggle. He's a rebellious kid,
but on the inside he's not so rebellious. When Josh finds his uncle, he really
connects with him and has kind of a
father figure in his life."
The cast is rounded out by great performances by talented actors Mark Duplass
("Humpday") and Philip Baker
Hall ("The Insider," "Bruce Almighty").
Commenting on the cast, director Alex Kurtzman says, "I was so lucky with my
actors. From the minute we
started, they were dialed into their characters and they knew instinctively
exactly who those people were. I think
the beauty of the performances that they all give is that they were putting
themselves in those parts, and you
can see it."
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