THE WAY, WAY BACK's Sam Rockwell, Liam James, & Cast Interviews

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If you’re tired of mass destruction and superhero action, THE WAY, WAY BACK may be a welcome relief from the summer onslaught. THE WAY, WAY BACK’s  Sam Rockwell, Liam James, Toni Collette, Allison Janney,  and AnnaSophia Robb talk about the film which is generating a lot of word of mouth, in this Q&A session with the stars.

First-time directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash make the jump from writing and acting to the director’s chair. The pair won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Alexander Payne’s The Descendants starring George Clooney.  In this original story written by the duo, a 14-year-old escapes summer boredom and his mother’s overbearing boyfriend (Steve Carell) by hanging out at a water park with an unlikely friend in the owner (Sam Rockwell).

Jim Rash and Nat Faxon started out the New York City press conference praising their cast.

Jim Rash: Just thinking about these people…we were looking for actors that we admired both as wonderful talents but also [as] good people. With Trent we wanted to go against type, and Steve came to mind because of this innate ability he has that elevated Trent, past just being something demonizing, [instead] making him this true, real human tragic male character. Steve jumped into that. Sam came to mind…who just understands what Bill Murray was to us in Meatballs? And Sam said it on phone the before we had said anything. So we knew right away that we had sort of – we were all on the same page.

Nat Faxon: I think all of these incredible people who surround us understand and appreciate ensemble-type films, and that’s certainly…Jim and I come from The Groundlings and a lot of the things we do are performing with other people, writing shows with other people, in that collaborative spirit – and I think this movie is – the sum of its parts – it takes a certain type of person to understand that and jump in, and we’re so incredibly fortunate came on this ride with us.

Q: The archetype of playtime as the redemptive factor in Duncan’s coming of age…he actually breaks away from miserable home life through play, the carnival…

NF: There are a couple of things that go into this. For me, in the design of what Liam’s character is going through…there are two male roles in his life; you have Trent, who – his idea is to cast [Duncan] out, to fend for yourself and go forth and make something of yourself, get out. Then you have Sam’s character, Owen, saying the same message but in a much more nurturing way. Come into the fold, put on the shirt, you’re official. In other words, join this sort of playground, which is pretty much how Owen operates in his mind. He is at his best for 3 months out of the year, in the sense that he’s kind while this park is open. It’s an at-play opportunity, in the sense that it becomes Duncan’s Oz. So because of this place that nurtures all types of people, in order for them to celebrate who they are, which I guess is playful and fun, it is about pushing him to go dance and control this thing, but said in such a way that he’s official, making him part of the wonderful experience of these people who just come to this place. This is very unique, so I guess in that way Owen offering something completely different, in the way of a celebration. In a cinematic way, [we are] certainly trying to – we had long conversations with our DP, John Bailey, about how we could make the house feel suffocating and isolating and closed-in, whether that be shooting from a lower angle so you could see the ceiling and feel that claustrophobia that Duncan is feeling at the time, and [contrasting] that visually with what we wanted for the water park: to feel like Oz, that openness. [We were] shooting it with a Steadicam to create movement, excitement, doing a ton of walk-and-talk moments with Sam. These all were part of trying to make it feel colorful and bright and open and fun and playful.
The Way Way Back movie directors Jim Rash and Nat Faxon
Q: I wanted to ask Liam and Sam [about] the relationship at the heart of the movie – how you guys worked together and if you were puling pranks on each other the way Duncan was pranked-upon in the movie?

Liam James: We had a lot of fun together. As soon as I arrived at where we were going to be shooting, I think a couple of days before we started, Sam and Nat and Jim we all sat down together… I was doing this new thing, something I’d never done before, this huge part, and they really made me feel comfortable that I could do anything I needed to do for the movie. The thing that made me the most comfortable was how funny they were, the jokes they were telling. Wherever I was around them between scenes, I would go to them and just listen and laugh and have a great time. Personally, between me and Sam, one thing that he showed me was, he’s really into boxing and was showing me some moves. That’s one way we kept loose between scenes.

NF: Some cage-fighting, he survived.

JR: Kid’s gotta learn.

Sam Rockwell: I think it was pretty immediate chemistry with me and Liam. We had an immediate kind of understanding of the relationship. It was just so easy, we were just sort of on the same page, all of us. It wasn’t a lot of dialogue. We read it a couple of times, but we all knew what it needed to be. It was kind of instinctive, and these guys would guide me, but it was very free-feeling on this movie.

Q: For the actresses, I wanted to know how you got into the head and the heart of the character, and whether there was anything in your personal lives or youths that you drew on for these particular women…?

Toni Colette: For me, I start with this wonderful material, it’s always in the script. When it’s so clear and so rich and so complex and enjoyable, I’m not one of those people who draws on previous experiences or anything that blatant. Everyone was so receptive to the material, so open, and it was such a wonderful atmosphere to work within. That open kind of vice allowed something really relaxed and natural and special to evolve.
Allison Janney in The Way Way Back movie
Alison Janney: Parties – I can relate to Betty’s fun side because – gentlemen – you’ve seen how I throw down at a party. I like to dance, I like to have a great time. So that part I was excited about, when I first read Betty, but I was also very hooked by the fact that she’s in a lot of pain, self-medicating with alcohol and chatter to cover up what’s underneath, and that’s what fascinated me about her. She wasn’t just a one-dimensional, silly character, she’s actually very complicated, and it was very exhausting to play her and incredibly rewarding – it’s brilliant, she’s a brilliant character. A little Betty goes a long way.

AnnaSophia Robb: I definitely agree with Toni, I was all sort of the page. I remember, my first meeting with Matt and Jim, how we clicked. The chemistry felt so natural and comfortable. Being on set and being in that environment that the characters are in just really got me into the headspace. Being able to spend time with Liam and getting to know each other for the first time…I felt sort of adopted by Allison in a way… Being able to hang out on set was a real privilege for me. I drew everything from the script. It’s nice to see your girl-next-door character be multi-faceted and not just one-dimensional. She’s going through things herself.

Q: Summer is often a time of transition, change. Can you guys talk about your most pathetic and maybe your most turbulent summer of change?

SR: I had summers with adults, because I was in the theater as a kid, so I around bohemian sort of people who were a little maybe crazy and stuff. So I had some unconventional summers for sure.

AR: I had an unconventional summer… I started acting when I was 9, and I think last summer, when we shot this, was probably my most transitional. I had just graduated high school. I was 18, it was my first movie, by myself, so to be able to spend time with an amazing cast and just be with them was so much fun for me. It was kinda scary and a little bit lonely at times, but I’m so excited to see the final product and it reminds me of that time.

AJ: I did a little of theater work in Ohio. I grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and with the players I would do backstage crew work, so I got a big eyeful of some colorful people. The Ames Brothers and Kitty Carlisle and the Smothers brothers. I was working backstage…I guess I must have been 14, 15, 16, somewhere in there. It was an unbelievable world open to my eyes, professional theater. A lot of stories that I couldn’t tell you, very funny ones.

TC: Australia is one big beach, we stick to the perimeter. It’s all very oceanic and salty, just feelings of freedom…summer is my favorite, favorite time of year. I absolutely come to life and love it. There’s one holiday that I had, it wasn’t planned at all. I had a fight with my parents on Boxing Day, and they went to visit my auntie Betty, in the city, and I rang a friend because she was going on a road trip with some girlfriends that she’d met at university. She said, one of them pulled out, there’s a spare seat in the car, I’m coming to get you. And I literally just grabbed a shitload of clothing, shoved it in a duffle bag, grabbed a guitar, ran out, got in the car, didn’t know where I was going. We just drove up the coast. I slept on beaches, got kicked off beaches by rangers. Joined drum circles, ended up at a folk festival and had the time of my bloody life.

JR: One of my summers is in there, the first scene happened to me on the way to our summer vacation. But that’s not really transformative. I had two particular summers – for some reason, I have these moments in my life… That was my stepfather at the time, and for some reason my dad decided [to be involved] in my development as well and he sent me on Outward Bound for like three week. It’s one of those things – as a teen, at first you’re like, ugh, this sucks, and then you sort of really embrace it, and then you come back and you’re telling your high school friends, you don’t get it. I’ve changed! You don’t understand what happened, guys. I was in the woods and things happened.

Q: Did you do the ropes course?

JR: Yeah, we would do backpacking and rock climbing and we’d do a three-day solo [trip]; you have an orange and a bagel and that’s it, and a tarp and four pieces of string. That’s it. And there was a huge thunderstorm, and three days by yourself, you realize, is a lot of time by yourself.

SR: Especially for someone like you, Jim, who lives inside your head.

JR: I was not very entertaining. I remember I tried to write a really short story there, I think I still have it. It was so terrible, you know. That was a summer I remember.

NF: I spent my summers on Nantucket Island, and I have so many fond memories of it really. It was a lot of horrible summer jobs there. There’s something very special that we’re certainly inspired by and that with this movie we tried to instill, in the sense of going to a certain place year after year. So much happens in the time that you’re not there, and you’re gone 9 months or 10 months, at school or jobs or whatever it may be, and then you come back to this place, and you literally open your summer house – people open their summer houses – and nothing has changed, it’s all very much the same. There’s something very comforting and familiar about that. I have a lot of fond memories of growing up like that.

Q: Jim, I know you made a reference to Meatballs before. When you and Nat got together, did you think, let’s make a movie kind of like Meatballs meets Adventureland? Sam, I was wondering if you thought of Bill Murray when thinking of how to play your part.

SR: Bill Murray – it’s pretty evident, I think, in the script – I think it’s kind of an homage, a little bit. But I think there are a lot of prototypes for Owen. Walter Matthau, a little Richard Pryor…there are a bunch of good prototypes for that.

JR: The adult who talks to kids as if they’re adults, which is always fun. The inspiration is – I don’t know if we sat down and set up Meatballs and that kind of thing, but we did set up – we started with a love for water parks and our training from the Groundlings, which is so character-based. The water parks seemed to offer [a place] where an eclectic group of people might be. And then the first scene of the movie, in the car, the one-to-ten conversation happened to me on the way to our summer vacation in Michigan. We launched with that sort of verbatim, autobiographical first scene. Then we merged those two thoughts. The water park became the perfect Oz in this story of this kid.

Q: Do you see this movie as your revenge?

JR: It’s cathartic, I don’t know if it’s revenge. Because we obviously –

NF: Every movie’s revenge.

JR: Take that, Mom’s second husband! In your face! But we elevated the role of Trent to be what we needed, what’s dramatic about the movie. I would not say that my stepfather was that same person, because at the same time, I understand – I didn’t then, at 14, I wasn’t going to process it this way, because [then] you’re probably coming from a place of anger and what-the-fuck - but the truth is that I understood what his message was to me. Through [Owen], weirdly, what Duncan does that summer is what Trent was alluding to. Duncan reluctantly gets on his bike and leaves the house and stumbles upon this Oz. Trent said, get out, make something. There are so many things at the beach to take advantage of. That’s what I was told. We went to Michigan every year, Lake Charleroi, and he was saying to me, I noticed that last year you hung around the lake house. Why don't you get out? There are so many great people to meet, and explore, and take advantage of things. So regardless of the tact that wasn’t there, it’s still harsh, you realize the powerful connections we have with people in our lives on a daily basis. They may not be in our lives for very long – maybe for a second, maybe for a summer, for a period when they’re married to your mother, but they’re in your life for a reason and they gave you something that you might not understand then but you understand now. So it’s really, to me, cathartic, because I understand why our paths crossed briefly.

DP: I wanted to know about your winter funny stories…Toni, you play a passive character, and Liam, you play a shy character. So how do you play that kind of thing and have a connection with drifting away from us?

TC: There’s so much going on. You have much more of an explosive experience, I think, because you’re out there reveling in this new world, but from my point of view, I thought, the audience is going to find her so frustrating, so passive, so inactive. But then what I loved about it is there’s so much going on. She knows the truth. She’s lying to herself. She’s trying to provide something for her son with the wrong person. There’s a lot of wheels turning without being so much being expressed, for a very long time. But I’d like to do a silent movie! I think there’s so much you can express without words, so I kind of enjoyed that.

LJ: For me, I think - one thing I noticed when I saw the film at Sundance, and again after that, when I saw it in my home town of Vancouver… We shot the film out of [sequence], sort of. So…everybody was talking this transformation, and I was [just] really happy to see how it all came together, because I’d just had to trust Nat and Jim to say that I was doing it right, and people were quite pleased and I was pleased with what happens with Duncan over the summer. You feel quite – I didn’t feel frustrated with Duncan, but it’s almost painful to watch how awkward he is.

Q: This is a question for Allison. That first scene of yours basically tells you everything you need to know about Betty, and I’m wondering – was it a daunting scene for you, or was it fun? How did you approach that?

AJ: I’m thrilled when I get to do a scene like that. It’s like being in a pinball machine, and I get to be in control of it, and I love doing that in my acting – I’m not so good at it in real life. I relish getting to take over a scene like that and be the one spinning it all over the place. I can’t get enough of that; I love it. It was fun when we got to go all the way through it; when I had to break it up it became a little harder to do the coverage on it to keep the same energy… By the end of the day I was exhausted, I had to get in a hot bath.

NF: That scene was the day, so in a way, the day was Allison. She was really in control of the pace.

Q: Jim and Nat, this is your first opportunity to direct a film. What was that experience like – and for the actors, what were they like as directors?

NF: Be careful. Be very careful.

JR: It was stressful for sure, but a wonderful sort of stress. A whole new chapter for us. We’ve been writing parts for a long time, so we just tried to approach it from a similar place as far as our work relationship and how we would direct together. But it really was – we knew that we knew this story very well. We’d lived with it for 8 years. We just sort of had to trust that…as directors, and then pull from anything, as actors, that we’d appreciated [about] directors we had worked with. That was the artillery we’d go in with and feel confident about. All we knew is that things are going to happen, learn by doing. Every director that we spoke with and sat down with, either their first or second or third time, was, no matter advice they’d give us, it’s all going to be a whole new game when we get out there. But it was a wonderfully complicated, stressful, awesome experience.

NF: I would echo those sentiments. I think – you always dream of pursuing something that you love doing, and to be able to do this and to work with this caliber of talent, it really was a dream come true. Oftentimes on the set you’re stressed out because you’re asked so many questions, and you have so many decisions to make, and yet you’re trying to remind yourself, I’m so lucky to be doing this and to be working with these people, to be surrounded by these actors and this incredible crew all working together to create something and to really fulfill a dream of ours. There’s something really special about that, so I think we’re so lucky to be doing what we love to do. We just tried to create a set that was loose and fun and enjoyable, and really reflected that. Whether we accomplished that, we’ll see. I don’t know. What do you guys think?
[laughter]
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SR: I love working with actor-directors, and these guys are no exception. They really – it’s just a great, loose set. They wrote such a great script, it was kind of a no-brainer. It was just so easy, and also Maya Rudolph would come in, and they knew her…I felt like she was almost like therapy for you guys, stress relief, right? You guys could do bits, it felt like it would relieve your stress a little in addition to being amazing in the film. They knew each other from the Groundlings. These guys were so great, and because they’re so funny, they would throw me adlibs, and I tried to – would assimilate them. The Princess Collection thing I think Jim threw me at the last minute. I just started laughing befor ei said it. They’d throw you zingers and you’d throw them in.

Q: This is for Nat and Jim. By the end of the first act, I was dying, waiting for a Rockwell VS. Carell backyard barbeque confrontation. I wanted something, I could taste it. It was going to be McMurphy vs. Nurse Ratched. The only question in my mind – is it going to come in the second act, or are they going to wait for the big pay-off in the third? I really don’t understand why you didn’t do that!

SR: We did do that – I confront him at the waterpark – but it’s probably good you’re left wanting more. I think we just get a taste of that and that’s all you need, that little moment there. I think it’s good you want more of that, you know what I mean?

NF: I think we’re always trying to use restraint in what we do, both in our writing and our directing, and I think certainly…working with Alexander on The Descendents, it’s something we admired about his work – being able to say more, or show more by [saying less]. Less is more.

JR: I think there’s something so subtle in Sam’s action there in terms of just stepping in front of Steve. Yes…I think it’s almost expected that they would have a big blow-up and a throw-down, and I think we were searching for – how could we do that in a way that was almost…that showed more. I think by doing something as small as a simple physical move, we were achieving the same thing.

SR: I was going to muddy that with an adlib, and they pulled me back, I think it would have diluted the moment.
TC: But also, you’re wanting that because you care about Duncan, and I think Owen does it in a gentlemanly, minimalist fashion. Duncan’s the one who gets to push him and actually show his anger, and that’s who you want it to come from.

AR: I think it feels real, also.

SR: That’s true, that’s the real catharsis.

Q: That’s in interesting that we’ve been talking a bit about adlibbing, because I’d love to know, from the actors – they say that adlibbing is sort of screenwriting in a way, because you’re making alternations to the script in some sense. Did anything in this movie spark your interest in screenwriting in the future? If so, what’s the most important thing you learned? And also, to Nat and Jim, if you could briefly talk about the movie you’re working on with Kristen Wiig.

SR: I couldn’t write a screenplay…this script was so good – I think good adlibbing is more like garnish on a good meal. I think it’s like before and after the take, quite often, if you have a good script…I wouldn’t think of this as an adlib movie at all, even though there were some funny adlibs - but usually from these guys, which is more writing, you know.

NF: These actors know how to improvise from a place of character and story, bringing their own personality into what they are doing. I think there’s a distinction between that and improvising in a tangential way that deviates so much from what’s actually happening in the scene that it makes it more obvious, in a way. I think that when you’re working with these incredible people that they know how to do it and bring it to life in a very natural and organic way so it doesn’t feel completely disconnected from what’s happening in the scene.
JR: We’re working on an action comedy from Kristen Wiig, who we came through the Groundlings program with as well, and were subsequently Groundlings together. Again, we love working with friends, obviously she’s talented and we love to surround ourselves with that as we go forward. It’s an action comedy, it’s staying true to our love of ensembles, but it’ll probably be a little grittier and darker in tone. It’s – we’re in the writing phase of it, at this point.

Q: Liam, your character, dancing with Duncan is how he came alive. How much of the dancing was you?

LJ: That wasn’t me.

JR: No, it was. He was probably terrified when we said, now you need to dance.

LJ: So terrified. I got there that morning and read what we were going to be doing that day, and was like – okay, here we go.

SR: They were like, you need a choreographer, and we were like, no.

LJ: Where’s the choreographer, guys? And they were like, get up there.

SR: It was just better and more real that we were tossed into it, why would we prepare for this scene?

LJ: One of the moves I did was the leafblower…I think that says a little about how much they show you.

SR: I like that you’re attributing a style to what you were doing…

LJ: It’s a move I learned when I was twelve years old, someone showed it to me one time so I thought I’d do it.

SR: To me it was more like a zombie thing you were doing.

LJ: Thank you.

SR: No, you’re welcome. It was a complimented! No, he was fantastic.

LJ: The dancers were amazing who were there, I was really intrigued to talk to them and get to know them – I even asked a couple things, when I was nervous…that’s kind of how it worked.

Q: Sam, I was wondering whether it was adlibbed when your character talked about the young kid’s eyes?

SR: No, that was in the script.

Q: The balance of comedy and drama was executed really well in this movie, so I was wondering how you went about that. And for the actors specifically, how did you go about playing the humor of everyday struggles?

JR: The balance I’ll start with that, for the writing side of it. Nat and I have always been drawn to the balance between comedy and drama, and finding the comedy in very dramatic-seeming moments. Obviously it’s what, that way in The Descendants. To us, I think it’s just about honest and finding the comedy in true life moments, and really thinking about our day-to-day lives. We can go from something that’s so fun to something that can become tragic in our day-to-day reality. It’s just being honest.

AJ: When they were directing me with River Alexander, the kid who plays my son, they said – it was just such a great piece of direction - they said we were an old married couple. And it was really fun to play with him, and some of the things that Betty says to her son, on the page seem pretty harsh and I wanted to make sure that was balanced with the enormous amount of love that I had for him. I wanted that to be there so that my telling him things or saying mean things came from a place of love, so it comes out wrong and funny in an awful sort of way. That was my challenge and they were wonderfully directing me to do that. Their relationship was so much fun.
AnnaSophia Robb and Liam James in THE WAY WAY BACK movie
Q: Very quick question for Nat and Jim…the wonderful finale of the break-through, coming down the water tunnel. It’s felt and doesn’t need any explanation, but I would love to know, if you could put into words what that meant, in terms of a rite of passage…

JR: Symbolically, you’re saying? I think the physical act of this movement is a birth of this new chapter for Duncan. The strength is what helps to give Pam the last piece that she needs, which starts when she sees that picture of him as employee of the month, and as she had just been speaking to the idea of sometimes we do things because we’re scared. And here was a kid who showed no fear in going down this tube and experiencing, moving into what will be the next phase for him, after finding out that his dad is seemingly going to be disconnected from him. I thin it’s an image of birth, if you want.

Q: You mentioned living with the story for eight years – did you keep revisiting the script during that time? How’d you know when the writing process as done?

NF: We knew that it was done when I had to put a stop to it, because Jim’s character Lewis just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger. It was sort of like, we’re doing revising now, Jim. We don’t need any more of Lewis.

JR: It’s like a great puzzle. As soon as the last five pieces – which were all the puzzle pieces that said Lewis on the back – as soon as you put those five pieces in, you’re like – oh, now I see the puzzle. The five best pieces were Lewis! Are you understanding what I’m saying when I’m saying that Lewis [laughter] was the reason we understood what the puzzle looked like. Lewis! [laughter].

NF: The script did continue to evolve certainly over the eight years, many things changed. The core – the script stayed true to what it was in the beginning. We probably pulled back on some of the broader moments that we’d originally thought of in the water park, as the family stuff took more prominence in the script, just trying to make sure that those two worlds belonged in the same movie, in tone. Again, playing with restraints – you’re always trying to pull back as much as you can – less is more, now I can say it. Even more, on set, writing and these guys coming up with really funny additions, brainstorming and adding to those – it’s always an evolution, really, you’re always constantly tweaking until you’re shooting.

Q: For AnnaSophia, could you tell us your favorite amusement park and your favorite ride and why you like them?

AR: I had never been to a real waterpark until this film, so of the waterpark rides that we shot on, I’d say the big black slide that goes shooting down. I got a little drop in my stomach, I got a big wedgie also, that happened. But it was funny.

SR: I never heard a man’s voice go as high as Jim’s when we went down that slide.

JR: I was terrified of that. We went down it – we’d pretty much wrapped and they opened up the park at night for us, to have some night-sliding. And so – it’s terrifying in the day, then add the fact that you’re going to go down this very steep incline at night. And it’s pitch-black…I mean pitch-black. I don’t even want to talk about the visuals that went through my head about what could happen. I sat at the time for a good amount of time before I would go down. There was a bar that you can hold on to, almost like a slalom, if you want to go faster – there’s no reason I want to go faster! I will just let my body naturally fall down.

SR: Jim also shares a character trait with his character, Lewis, of being a germaphobe. So those things always played into Jim’s wanting to go on the slides.

JR: I had a really hard time in a lot of the waterpark!

SR: Where’s this water been?!

LJ: Me, I liked a lot of them. Devil’s Peak, I remember…I’ve been to waterarks before once or twice in my home town, but when we got to WaterWays, the waterpark managers were quite insistent on being there, and I had such a great time with the actual guys there. They were taking us on the special benefits rides, having no lines, and we could just all go down. The whole waterpark for me was such a great experience, I think I did it the most out of everybody. Sometimes after work I would go throw my bathing suit on and I’d be down all the slides.

JR: Why weren’t you working on the next day’s work, this is the first time I’m hearing about this. Why didn’t you go home and work on your dancing!

LJ: And my singing.
Toni Collette and Steve Carell in THE WAY WAY BACK movie
Q: Steve Carell wasn’t able to be here, but can you guys talk a little bit about working with him?

AJ: Two favorite memories of working with Steve: It was my first time working with him…I adore him. He’s just – I love to watch him laugh when they called Cut on a Betty scene, because I would literally just slump and fall out of my chair. I’d just go from Betty to zero and he couldn’t wait, that was his favorite part of my performance, so he would make me laugh. And there was one night when we were preparing for a scene – should I tell this story? I don’t know. It was a late-night shoot, and the title of the scene was The Adults Stumble into the Dunes. So, being a method actress…Steve and Toni and sat up in one the houses, the actors’ holding room, and we had some champagne, some beach punch…we sat around and told stories and laughed with each other and then we had to go, they called us to the set. We literally ran and stumbled into the dunes. It was really fun. And we nailed that scene!

TC: Steve, he’s just such a pleasure in every way. He’s so open and lovely to work with, a brilliant actor. And such a gentleman, a truly nice person. It was wonderful to get to work with him again.

JR: Briefly, I think for Nat and I, I think we really appreciated Steve’s desire to really talk about Trent with us. We’d spent a couple of times going through the process of the next scene, and what his headspace was, because he was playing against type…it just reaffirmed that it was a great choice to go against type and watch this guy walk us through his process of wanting to talk out loud about Trent and his headspace…I think we just really – it was such a wonderful moment to have with him and see his process…that was an honor.

LJ: For me, the scenes I had with Steve, especially the ones where we’re really butting heads, even the scene where he throws the luggage at me, he was really throwing the luggage at me! Between scenes it wasn’t like that a at all. He wasn’t trying to make me feel bad about myself. [laughter]. I remember one time I had to have this big smile on my face for one scene, he was off-camera and he did this funny laugh that Steve Carell does and it just cracked me up and I think it was a genuine smile that I had and I really thank him for that.

AR: I remember the night that Allison was talking about, because Liam and I were downstairs, filming out first awkward scene, and I remember in-between scenes I could hear laughter. I ran upstairs, I felt like I was 8 years old. Liam and I would run upstairs and just listen to all of them tell their stories and laugh. It was a really special time just to be able to hear all these wonderful people an actors that I admire so much just bond and share stories.

NF: I don’t have any great things to say so I shouldn’t say anything! I certainly share all the same sentiments that Jim did in terms of really admiring Steve’s approach to the character, and overall the bravery to play a character who really doesn't have this huge arc in the movie. He’s a tragic male character who doesn’t evolve, start at point A and end at point B, learn his lesson and [become] a changed man. This is a guy who says he wants things but his actions don’t reflect that. Kudos to him for having the courage  to play a guy like that. You almost sympathize with people like that, you hope they figure it out but they may never. I just have such respect for him for jumping into that role.

SR: I didn’t really get a chance to work with Steve and Toni, had that brief scene, but I’ve been a fan of them for such a long time. I just think he’s so great in the movie, and without him…he and I both kind of red herrings for the movie, because I usually play the creepy guy and he the nice guy, so we switched it. It’s a great red herring, for the audience, I think. It’s just great to hang out with these people, that’s what so great about these press junkets is you get to see them again and you get to talk to them. I got to have a nice conversation with Steve last night. It’s fun to meet these people who you admire.

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