Chris Pine Interview For ‘People Like Us’
Marking the directorial debut of screenwriter Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek, Fringe, Transformers), ‘People Like Us’ is a drama/comedy about family, inspired by true events. The film is lead by Chris Pine as Sam, a twenty-something, fast-talking salesman, whose latest deal collapses on the day he learns that his father has suddenly died. Against his wishes, Sam is called home, where he must put his father’s estate in order and reconnect with his estranged family. In the course of fulfilling his father’s last wishes, Sam uncovers a startling secret that turns his entire world upside down: He has a 30-year-old sister Frankie whom he never knew about (Elizabeth Banks). As their relationship develops, Sam is forced to rethink everything he thought he knew about this family–and re-examine his own life choices in the process. ’People Like Us’ also stars Olivia Wilde, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mark Duplass and Jon Favreau. The film opens in US cinemas June 29th. Expect a UK release date for ‘People Like Us’ soon.
Family is a big thread in the narrative….?
Chris Pine: Yeah. The humanity of the film, which is kind of a vague and large term, but it’s about family. We all have family, whether they’re disbanded or unified. Whether they’re loving or not. Whether they’re emotionally abusive in a passive-aggressive way, or they’re loving. Whatever it happens to be, we all come from a shell, a little nest. This just happens to be one of the more dysfunctional nests of all time (laughs). I liked it, I liked the humour in it, I liked the anger in it, I liked the deep layers of emotion that had been packed down and packed down and packed down.
‘People Like Us’ says a lot about choices….
Chris Pine: Undeniably we all make bad choices, every single one of us. A lot of those choices affect other people and a lot of those choices hurt other people. It’s that final choice of whether or not you’re gonna hold on to it, whether or not you’re gonna move forward with anger and resentment and trying to diminish the other person by saying, “You screwed up! It’s your fault.” Which it very well could be true. But whether it’s more important to do that, or whether it’s more important to accept the person for exactly who that person is, and move forward with love and openness.
With this emotive material, the humour adds some levity to the story?
Chris Pine: Any story with great pathos, I always think needs to come with a real nice sense of levity and humour. Finding things in the material with Alex to….this piece, it’s no walk in the park, it’s some heavy material. But anytime we could find some humour in it, some laughter….we couldn’t just hit people over the head with it. So I loved finding those little moments of humour.
Can you tell us a little about your charater Sam?
Chris Pine: Sam’s a guy who’s life is going nowhere. He comes back to LA to bury his father and to hopefully collect some cash, which he does. He soon finds out that some of it belongs to none other than his half-sister, who’s a recovering alcoholic, and she has a child. Amidst that (laughs), reconciliation, revelation and all sorts of good things happen. Sam, he’s Mr. Show. Which he’s created because, I think, of a deep pain, and a deep sense of abandonment. He’s created this wonderful, bright, shiny, big shell that he sells to the world. Sam is the most fallible character, but I like that because we all are. His journey in ‘People Like Us,’ in a nutshell, is that he pretty much goes from being a selfish pr***, who’s emotionally incapable of connecting to another human being, in an authentic way, towards someone who finds family. He finds the other, he learns how to empathize, he learns how to give of himself completely to someone else
How did you find working with Alex Kurtzman on such a personal piece?
Chris Pine: Alex’s greatest gift is his incredibly fine tuned sensitivity. With a piece that is central to who he is, to allow to give that to other people and say, “What do you think? And can you bring something of your own life to it?” Without being affronted by whatever might come at him in terms of changing this or cutting that down or, “I don’t think that’s right emotionally speaking.” Or, “I don’t think that beat plays.” Alex was always inclusive. He created a true sense of wanting to make it better.
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