The cast of The Hollars gathered Thursday night at Cinepolis for the New York premiere of the film. A party followed at Hotel Americano.
Directed by John Krasinski and written by Jim Strouse, The Hollars stars protagonist John Krasinski, Margo Martindale, Anna Kendrick, Richard Jenkins, Sharlto Copley, Randall Park, Ashley Dyke, Josh Groban and Charlie Day. The film focuses on a family from a small town who struggle with new phases of their life. From fatherhood to bankruptcy to divorce and illness, this film depicts an authentic family who aren’t perfect and are scared. This film marks Krasinski’s second time directing a feature film. It is remarkable how such a film with an all-star cast was made on such a small budget, but the performances and script speak for themselves. Check out our red carpet interviews below!
How has the family dynamic changed now that you have two kids?
The one thing is you can’t pass one off or you can’t say I’m going to take a break, you take the baby. Now there’s two so if you pass one off you’re just getting the other one which is really fun.
How has it been moving to New York now?
We absolutely love it. I’m from the east coast, I think I always knew that I’d come back at some point. Emily’s from London obviously so we’re closer to her family and again I think movie had a lot to do with that. We realized even more so that we need to be close to family and it’s been amazing.
What else did you learn about yourself during filming?
Well I learned a lot, as an actor watching these two Margo Martindale and Richard Jenkins especially – Anna Kendrick’s phenomenal, Sharlto’s phenomenal, Charlie’s phenomenal, Mary Elizabeth’s phenomenal. Everybody is, but I think that the younger actors were watching the more experienced actors and saying there’s no way we’re gonna be able to do this.
What was it like to direct a film with yourself as the lead?
You know it’s funny, this one was not only easier to direct, but it was almost necessary for me to act and direct because it’s a very intimate movie. I think the truth is we can all say we’ve seen a lot of family movies and a lot of them don’t really do it for you. I don’t love a lot of them because they feel manipulative. This one feels so real and the key to that was making sure that the family felt real and organic, so for me, getting to be in the scene as an actor I hardly ever called cut, we would just do takes over and over and just talk to each other. We were sort of in this safe little bubble. It was almost like we were doing a play.
The film does an impressive job of using its visuals to capture and evoke the feeling of a small American town, what was the process like collaborating with your cinematographer and crew to create this visual language for the film?
That’s actually a great question. The effect of this crew is enormous. To be honest I got a crew that I definitely didn’t deserve. I got a crew that I definitely couldn’t afford, but a whole lot of people read the script and loved it and wanted to be a part of it and I’ll always be incredibly grateful, but the truth is no one can ever believe what or budget was once they see the movie because our DP and our production designer made it look like it was a much bigger movie.
When you go back to Boston how does everyone feel about the Hollywood thing?
Everybody’s really nice about it. This movie’s really emotional and a lot of people cry and I say you don’t have to worry I cried every day. I think my nickname was baby johns when I was 12, but it might have been 20. All my cousins used to call me baby John so I feel like when I go home I’m just baby John again, so nobody treats me any different which I love.
How excited are you to play Jack Ryan?
13 hours was a huge transformational moment for me, both physically and also in my career and this amazing woman Amy Powell from Paramount saw an early screening of 13 hours and said I think that’s our Jack, so she came to me and the guy who’s running Jack and he just pitched to me that this 10 episode format, this longer story-telling is actually going to be better for Jack Ryan.
Would you love to direct another project?
My first project was very different than this, it was a much more heart outside movie and this is was my first linear movie and it was really really special to me, but I think the next one will be even different.
In the film Ron is given some very goofy and funny moments, while being shown really struggling with his separation from his daughter, what was it like to portray these different elements in a way that made Ron feel like a three dimensional person?
It was an interesting challenge because he’s the guy that pushes the envelope the most on the level of crazy stuff that he’d do – relatively for me he’s quite a normal character, in relation to stuff that I do, but the script allowed a lot of things to be grounded in reality, so the idea for example that you would go to an ex-wife’s if you were missing her and your kids, you might drive your car past the house –most people could relate to that idea. Then with this character in the movie we just pushed it a little more, somebody who stopped the car outside the house be a little more weird and then with Ron if he’s looking with binoculars to try and kind of see the guy in the house that was the sort of edge we gave him where it was like ok I can feel why he would do this, but it’s a heightened little bit of reality. He goes that extra mile so you have that balance of an authentic situation and emotion with a little bit of comedic flare added to it.
Throughout the film, you and Richard Jenkins have some father-son squabbles that occasionally get physical, what was it like to play those scenes together and did you ever worry about accidentally hurting Jenkins?
I did worry about it until we did the first take and he just sort of went for me and I was like oh ok so that’s how it’s going to be then. I thought be gentle, he’s an old guy be gentle, but was not needed he was quite fine.
While many in America may know you primarily from action heavy films like District 9 or Elysium, not many have gotten a chance to see your comedic skills. Was the concept of doing a role like Ron something you’d always planned to do or one that took you by surprise?
I’d been looking for it and been hoping that I could find a movie that was a little more straight dramatic comedy like this, so I’d been open to it. Finally doing a movie that my mom can watch which I’m quite excited about. She’s always like do you die in this one? Who do you kill? I’m like Ma in this one I actually come off pretty well relatively speaking.
How would you say playing the Sally in The Hollars compares to the Emmy winning roles you’ve portrayed recently in darker dramas like The Americans and Justified?
Well Sally’s a little more normal. Sally is who she is and so is “Mags” Bennett , but Claudia is not who she is.
One of the film’s highlights is how authentically maternal your scenes with John feel throughout the movie. Did you and John do anything to prepare or was that chemistry present from the get-go?
Chemistry from the get. We met each other in 2000 doing a commercial and it was instant chemistry then.
Throughout the film your character attempts to shield her family from her fears of dying, what was it like to portray someone afraid of this terrifying illness but concealing it from them and by extension the audience?
Just trying to stay positive with a smile on and to not go to that place keeping that out of your mind, until you have to.
What was it like working with John as a director?
Seamless going from John as director to john as an actor back to director, he was the same person.
The film hits theaters this Friday!