Check out our red carpet interviews with Ian McEwan and Fionn Whitehead!
The Children Act isan incredibly emotional ride. The movie, adapted by Ian McEwan from, his 2014 novel, is about Fiona Maye (Emma Thompson), a High Court judge who is responsible for ruling over morally grey cases. Such cases garner a lot of media attention, which adds to the pressure of her already busy work schedule. Consumed by her work, Fiona’s marriage to her husband, Jack Maye (Stanley Tucci) has taken a back seat for a while now. With the media on her back about every ruling she makes and her husband’s sudden notice that he wants to have an affair, it seems everything is working against Fiona. Then, a life-changing case comes across her desk; one of a 17-year-old boy, Adam Henry (Fionn Whitehead) with leukemia who needs a blood transfusion, whose parents refuse because he is a Jehovah’s witness. In deciding whether or not she should force the boy to take the transfusion, she makes an unorthodox visit to his hospital bedside, which ends up changing their lives forever.
On Tuesday, September 11, A24 and DirectTV invited us to a red carpet and premiere of The Children Act. The movie, directed by Richard Eyre, was brilliantly made and incredibly emotional. Emma Thompson and Fionn Whitehead’s performances were both witty and intense, with both being able to deliver deeply emotional scenes. Every scene with these two is very personal and emotional. Emma Thompson’s character deals with cases regarding children in some way. At the beginning of the film, Fiona has to decide whether to separate conjoined twins by intentionally killing one of them to save the other or to not do anything and have them both die. Part of Fiona’s character is that, although not explicitly said, she wanted children, but was never able to have any. She cares deeply about children and wants to help them. With her unorthodox visit to the hospital of Adam causes her to build a connection with him. Their talk and singing a song together impacted them both. Adam was filled with a yearning to live and to experience life. Fiona wanted to care for him but kept pushing her feelings and him away to maintain her professionalism. Their interaction with each other makes a profound impact on their respective lives, creating a very gripping and mature story that will take you for an emotional ride.
Check out our quick interview with writer and novelist Ian McEwan and actor Fionn Whitehead!
The Knockturnal: What was it like writing this movie?
Ian McEwan: It was great fun, the director and I are old friends, we made our first movie together in 1978 for television and we have been life-long friends. It’s great for a writer because he is a theater director, so they have a lot more respect for writers than some directors do. Emma was always our first choice, and that was great, and we did our first big read-through in her kitchen. So it was always a very intimate kind of process. So it was great.
The Knockturnal: What were some challenges writing the movie and making the film?
Ian McEwan: Well, there are the standard ones, the novel is the great form of the interior life and projecting that outwards is always the interesting task. So we’re lucky to have an actor who can, even in her silences, give you the small print of the mental life.
The Knockturnal: What do you have coming up next?
Ian McEwan: Well, I just finished a novel. My other movie On Chesil Beach is just coming out in various territories now and this will be going to other places too. It’s been quite a busy year, three movies out of three books of mine. We had Benedict Cumberbatch do The Child in Time which I think was here, so it’s been a good year.
The Knockturnal: What was it like working on this movie?
Fionn Whitehead: It was incredible. It was very intense, it was a very draining shoot, but it was amazing. It’s such an interesting story and an incredible script, I’m so happy to be a part of it.
The Knockturnal: You mentioned that the shots were very intense, were there any moments that stuck out to you?
Fionn Whitehead: To be honest, every scene that I am in is really high intensity. I can’t think of a scene that isn’t sort of up there emotionally, in terms of what’s at stake, so that was it really. Every scene was very intense.
The Knockturnal: And what do you have coming up next?
Fionn Whitehead: I did a film last year called Roads with Sebastian Schipper directing alongside Stéphane Bak, so that will be coming out at some point.