Joel Edgerton Interview For ‘The Odd Life of Timothy Green’
Academy Award–nominated director/writer Peter Hedges (Dan in Real Life, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?) brings enchantment to the screen with ‘The Odd Life of Timothy Green,’ an inspiring, magical story about a happily married couple, Cindy and Jim Green (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton), who can’t wait to start a family but can only dream about what their child would be like. When young Timothy (CJ Adams) shows up on their doorstep one stormy night, Cindy and Jim – and their small town of Stanleyville – learn that sometimes the unexpected can bring some of life’s greatest gifts. ‘The Odd Life of Timothy Green’ stars Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, Dianne Wiest, CJ Adams, Rosemarie DeWitt, Ron Livingston, M. Emmet Walsh, Odeya Rush, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Lois Smith and Common. The film arrives in US cinemas from August 15th. Expect a confirmed UK release date soon.
What specific qualities in Jim really interested you about playing him?
Joel Edgerton: I kind of liked that he was a little bit bumbling and that he wasn’t incredibly assertive. I like to think of myself as a relatively assertive person, but there are instances in my life where I know what it feels like to want to take more action and not have the strength to do it. But I loved that he was an uncomplicated, well meaning guy. He’s creative, yet simple, and there’s certainly not a mean bone in his body. There was something just really gentle and nice about him. He’s a straight up guy.
With Timothy entering Jim and Cindy’s life, Jim becoming a parent for the first time, how do you think that changes him?
Joel Edgerton: I have this theory that the moment you become a parent, suddenly you’re no longer number 1. Now the thing about a guy like Jim is he’s so considerate of other people that he doesn’t put himself well out in front. But all of a sudden Timothy is in their lives and they have to readjust, he has to….as I imagine first time parents do, he has to make it up as he goes along. But through his relationship with Timothy, he sort of gets a chance to reconnect with his own father, because it starts to make him think like, “My father didn’t do X, Y, and Z well, so how am I going to re-correct that through my child?” That seems well meaning, but the film is suggesting that maybe it’s not the right thing to do to a child, to put the pressure of your problems when you were a kid, to try to use them to fix those things. To let your child be their own animal, and get out of their to a degree.
Parenting and family is a big part in this film, what particular themes and ideas presented in ‘The Odd Life of Timothy Green’ really resonated with you?
Joel Edgerton: I think it would really be to not put too much pressure on your child to be anything in particular. And in the case of Jim in the movie, he really wants Timothy to be that winning kid, that sport star. And maybe that’s not what he’s meant to be. One of the themes that really resonated with me….’The Odd Life of Timothy Green’ is like a stew of good information about family. For example, Cindy is using Timothy to compete with her sister, so their both kind of using Timothy as a pawn in their own kind of purposes. But the big resonate theme for me is about time, you know? That children are there for a finite period of time, that in fact, even more importantly, we all have each other in our lives for a short period of time. To really kind of use that time is one of the big messages. And also, that children stand to teach us as much as we think we’re there to teach them.
With the lessons learned and lessons imparted in this film, what particular lessons that your own parents taught you really stand out?
Joel Edgerton: From my mother, I learned this sense to love and appreciate people, to respect people. One of the big lessons I learnt from my father was to follow my dreams. It was like he literally wanted me to go wherever I wanted to go and do whatever I wanted to do, within reason (laughs). I mean, with my life. He wasn’t at all like, “You should be a lawyer, you should be a doctor, you should be this, you should be that.” He was like, “You should do whatever you want to do.” And he knew exactly what I wanted to do. Your world will fit in around that, and money, if you need money, that will come as a by product of you following the thing that you’re really passionate about. And I love that, I loved that he was just like, “Go, run, do it, gallop away, do what you need to do.”
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