This summer we will be privileged with the release of the upcoming Mike Mills film “Beginners” starring Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer. The story is an autobiographical account of Mills’ own relationship with his father who came out of the closet in his 70s almost immediately after the death of his wife to whom he’d been married for almost his entire adult life. Soon after the admission, his father experiences a transformational awakening of true love, passion, and joy — the likes of which he had never known. Soon thereafter he is diagnosed with terminal cancer and McGregor’s character finds himself caring for and being in awe of a man he now realizes he never really knew at all until now. The film is currently screening at the 54th Annual San Francisco International Film Festival (which runs until May 5), and McGregor and Mills sat down with The Playlist for a discussion about the emotional roller coaster ride the cast and crew experienced through the course of filming. Here’s an excerpt:
… “When Hal died (when Christopher died), Ewan really lost it in a really beautiful way. We shot the movie chronologically and that was one of the last things they shot,” he recalled. “And I remember me and Kasper [Tuxen, Director of Photography] standing over the camera and he was bawling; I was bawling. And I’m looking at the monitor and the camera and I see a teardrop hit the camera and I’m like, ‘Oh no! Water! Electricity! Bad!’ But no that’s Kasper’s tears hitting the camera. And that would happen a few times. I would turn around and be like, ‘Great! Great shot!’ and I’d turn around and the crew is crying.”
… “To me, sadness and humor aren’t disrelated and humor is the best tool I’ve had against the sadness in my life,” he said. “I really think I inherited that from my parents. The darker it got sometimes for my dad, and this is something that Christopher nailed, the more pinched you get as a human, the more he would make a joke to crack it back open again. My dad did make jokes with the doctors when things were really grave. Sadness is a super important thing not to be ashamed about but to include in our lives,” he continued. “One of the bigger problems with sadness or depression is there’s so much shame around it. If you have it you’re a failure. You are felt as being very unattractive. One thing I love about Ewan is it’s so hard to get a straight male actor of a certain stature who is willing to be that emotionally open and available and show real vulnerability.”
You can read this wonderful interview in its entirety over at The Playlist. “Beginners” opens in Los Angeles and New York June 3rd and will be back in San Francisco June 10th.
Source: The Playlist