THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN
Finding The Perfect Cast
Years ago, Peter Hedges had met Jennifer Garner through the late director
Gary Winick when Winick was
with her on "13 Going on 30." "I knew Jennifer was a perfect fit for the role of
Cindy Green," says
Hedges. "She is
as talented as she is kind. You root for her in whatever role she plays. Plus,
she can move back and
drama and comedy so effortlessly. Her Cindy Green has so much humanity and
Producer Scott Sanders adds, "We were all so excited when Jennifer became
our Cindy Green. She's an incredible actress and a real mom, so we had a
sense she may relate well to the character."
From her first reading of the script, Garner
knew this was a film she wanted to be
involved with. She was taken not only by
the storytelling but by the characters of
Cindy and Jim Green who wish themselves
a boy at a time when they thought all bets were off on having a child. "This is
the most relatable film I have ever worked on," says Garner, "because I am a
parent, but also because I am a sister, a daughter, a child."
Garner has nothing but praise for Hedges as a director, saying, "Peter just
a great fondness for children and a gift for dealing with them. He is a true
collaborator and I trust his eyes so much."
Finding the yin to Cindy's yang was a challenge because whoever was to play
her husband Jim Green had to
a fit organically. Australian actor Joel Edgerton won the role. Says Hedges,
"Joel is a man in a manly
way but also
has a tenderness to him and he is also incredibly funny."
Producer Jim Whitaker comments, "Joel Edgerton walked
into a room, as he does, and took it over, as he does. And he
connected with Jennifer during his audition reading and they
had incredible chemistry. Within a minute, we just looked
around and went, 'Okay here's our cast. This is the guy. This
is the movie. These are the two parents you're going to root
for to become great parents.' Joel has this complex and
unusual quality in a leading man of being both incredibly
strong and incredibly vulnerable at the same time."
The idea of the film resonated with Joel Edgerton and drew
him to the project. "I love the idea that when you see this
film you may walk out of the cinema and actually say life is
good and being a good person is a great thing to strive for,"
Regarding working with Jennifer Garner and CJ Adams as a
family unit, Edgerton relates, "I never felt like I have had a
solid onscreen relationship like I have with Jennifer. And on
top of that, instinctively CJ Adams, who plays the title role of
Timothy Green, feels like he belongs to us. The chemistry of
all of us has worked perfectly for the characters we play. Jim
and Cindy Green are that couple that if you ever heard they
were having marital problems, you would be shocked."
Commenting on the positive family theme of the film,
Edgerton says, "There are so many incarnations of family
these days. There are those that have adopted children,
fostered children, same-sex couple parents and single
Edgerton enjoyed the collaborative approach Peter Hedges had with his actors.
"Peter is a writer/director who encourages things to happen. He is open to
any and all possibilities
on set. This story is so
with Peter at the helm,"
When Peter Hedges was filming "Dan in Real Life," in his
ensemble cast there was a 6-year-old boy named CJ Adams.
CJ's role was small; he only had a few lines, but he and
director Hedges forged a special friendship.
Five years later, Hedges found himself on a nationwide search for a boy to
play the title role of
in "The Odd Life of Timothy Green." Over a thousand boys auditioned, but when
casting director Bernie
had 11-year-old CJ Adams come in for Timothy Green, Hedges thought that CJ did
not have enough
to play the role. After CJ's audition, Peter Hedges and Scott Sanders looked at
each other. They just
away he was the one. "CJ had this sparkle, this vivid imagination," comments
"There is something about CJ that can be both silly and heartbreaking," says
Hedges. "This film is such
of drama and comedy that our cast had to be able to switch gears at any moment."
Jennifer Garner adds, "Timothy Green is the wisest person in this story. We
learn about ourselves
Timothy. CJ is very much like Timothy and has an incredible outlook on the
world. His heart is open."
CJ enjoyed working with Peter Hedges again and says of the
experience: "Peter is really nice and laughs a lot. He's open
to anything and he thinks of ideas that really work out well.
Working with him again is so much fun because he knows
me, I know him, and we
both understand each
other in different ways."
CJ bonded with his
onscreen parents from
the get-go too. It wasn't
unusual to see him
cuddling with Jennifer or Joel on set, or to see Joel teaching him magic tricks,
or flipping him over playfully. "Being an onscreen parent has its
too," says Joel Edgerton.
Newcomer Odeya Rush plays Timothy Green's love interest, Joni Jerome, in "The
Odd Life of Timothy
is hard to believe that just a few years ago, this 14-year-old girl was living
in Haifa, Israel, and
didn't speak a word
Because of Odeya's longing to be an actress, her family,
which includes two sets of younger twin brothers, relocated
to New Jersey, where she took English and acting lessons.
"The Odd Life of Timothy Green" is Odeya's film debut.
Joni is a couple of years older than Timothy and kind of a
loner. Like Timothy, she has a secret, and together they find
comfort and friendship in one another.
Odeya comments, "Timothy brings out the best in people.
He is a 'cup is half-full' type of person."
Says producer Scott Sanders, "Odeya is radiant and beautiful in that way that
Brooke Shields was in
After she auditioned and knocked us all off our feet, we brought her back to
read with CJ and do some
together. There was a beautiful chemistry there. We knew we had found our
leading child cast for the
Odeya found her first experience working
on a feature film less daunting with
Hedges at the helm. "You don't really
know what it is like being on a movie
set until it happens to you," comments
Odeya. "Peter Hedges directs in such a way that you are emotionally drenched in
the story. He is a
friend to you
and I just love that."
Some of the finest actors working today round out the cast
of "The Odd Life of Timothy Green":
Double Oscar -winning actress Dianne Wiest plays Bernice
Crudstaff, the uptight millionaire boss of Cindy Green who
softens at the honesty of Timothy Green's life perspective.
Rosemarie DeWitt plays Brenda Best, Cindy Green's
perfectionist sister whose Ă¼ber sense of over-productivity
has her family glowing
with an annoying pride.
Says DeWitt, "All one can hope for in a family is a place where it is safe to
yourself. 'Timothy Green' is a great reminder that the best journey is the one
you discover and find yourself."
DeWitt is married in real life to Ron Livingston, who plays Franklin
the boss at the Pencil Factory to Jim Green. Franklin takes credit for Jim's
creativity, but his bullying ways eventually
blow up in his face.
Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda
of "In the Heights" fame plays Reggie
Marks, a childhood friend of Cindy Green.
As an eccentric botanist, Reggie tries
to help Cindy find out the mystery of
In his first film speaking part, Lin-Manuel Miranda says, "I would often say
to Jennifer Garner on set, 'Are you wearing your comedy or tragedy pants
today?' as the film so gracefully bounces between the two tones. It's a
dramedy: it has some amazing, joyous moments and also some amazing,
Continues Miranda, "We make mistakes growing up, and we
make mistakes raising our children. What's fun about this
movie is you see the learning curve of parenting happening."
Rapper Common plays Coach Cal, who coaches the
Stanleyville Erasers soccer team that Timothy Green is part
Says Common, "This is an inspirational story that brings a
family together. It is really about love more than anything
else. Kids teach us about being honest and being free."
With a resume of more than 100 films to his credit, M.
Emmet Walsh plays Uncle Bub, who recognizes Timothy's
gifts right away. The two bond immediately with laughter,
even in Uncle Bub's last moments.
Lois Smith plays Aunt Mel, Uncle Bub's wife, who is like a
mother to Cindy Green. Says Smith, "Every character in this
film is part of that awkward and miraculous thing we call
David Morse plays Big Jim, father to Jim Green. Jim is always
looking for approval from Big Jim, and through Timothy's
gifts they are finally able to find some common ground.
James Rebhorn plays father to Franklin Crudstaff. As one of
the owners of the pencil factory, he is oblivious to the dayto-
day operations that it takes to run a business and is not
the best communicator.
Oscar -nominated Shohreh Aghdashloo plays an adoption
agency employee who listens to Cindy and Jim Green's
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