I’ve always admired directors. They told us in theater school that theater was an actor’s medium, but film–that’s a directors domain. As actors, we’re there to serve a purpose to the story, to the director–to do a job. Screened recently at the Tribeca Film Festival, and set for a June 20th limited USA release, I’m really eager to see this film. Starring Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis, James Franco, Olivia Wilde, Kim Basinger, Adrien Brody, and Maria Bello with Crash cast member Moran Atias, this ensemble cast intrigues me. Known for this screenwriting Oscar wins for Crash and Million Dollar Baby, I’ve admired Haggis as a writer/director. He does solid work.
Haggis’ new film, Third Person, tells the story of three couples in three different cities, all interlocking. It seems simple enough, but viewing the trailer, it also seems complex, but in the best sense of the word. The trailer itself has a film festival feel to it. I don’t know why, but I’ve always loved trailers; they are an art form in themselves. What’s even more interesting to me is the fact that Mila Kunis and James Franco can count this collaboration as their fourth film together–and they frequently play a couple. Also interesting is the fact that I haven’t really Kim Basinger in a while. I think the last was The Door in the Floor and 8 Mile.
Judging from the trailer, the film looks like it’s going to be reminiscent of Crash, but that’s not always a bad thing. I’m interested in seeing how the film is structured and plays out.
Everyone once in a while, as an actor, I see a film where I wish with all my heart that I could have been a part of it; Not because of the perceived fame and fortune of the other actors, not because of the flashy special effects, and not because of the pop culture phenomenon that could come along it. Plain and simple, most of the time when something like that happens, it’s because of the script. Destin Cretton, writer and director of the new film Short Term 12, drew from first hand experience to writer and direct a film that tells the story of a group of supervisors and the foster children they watch over at a short-term living-facility. Headlined by Tony-winner, John Gallagher Jr. (Spring Awakening, HBO’s The Newsroom) and Brie Larson (Showtime’s United States of Tara, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World,) these fellow twenty-something actors better get ready for awards season early. Not to be overshadowed, are the actors who play the troubled teens they care for. Performances by Keith Stanfield, Kaitlyn Dever, Alex Calloway and Kevin Hernandez, practically steal the movie. At its core, however, it is a true ensemble piece. They work together to solve the problems at hand. It is both heartbreaking and hilarious at the same time. But that’s what good stories are. Just like life. When a story comes along that incorporates both humor and torment, verisimilitude is at work. As humans, we need to see this film, we need to hear its message. We need to surround each other with love and understanding. Short Term 12 opens in theaters on August 23rd.
*Screening provided by the SAG Foundation, presented at the NYIT Auditorium on July 17th.