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PEOPLE LIKE US

The Cast
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' emotions.

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 together…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 anger…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 every day."

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 does both."

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 emotional sense."

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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