Jason Bateman was able to bring a new level to his character in The Gift because writer and director Joel Edgerton also acts in the film.
The 47-year-old actor stars as Simon in the movie, which also marks Australian actor Joel’s directorial debut. The narrative tells the story of a married couple who find themselves thrown into chaos when Gordo, a mysterious figure from Simon’s past, re-enters his life.
The Gift is a complicated thriller, but Jason and his co-star Rebecca Hall were able to ask any questions about the plot of Joel as they shot scenes – meaning they were able to really get to the bottom of their characters’ actions.
“That’s what was really efficient and fun about working with Joel who’s the writer as well as the director and the star,” Jason told CinemaBlend.com. “When you’re trying to come up with that combination for the audience, as far as what the right level of mislead should be, because we know certain information that they don’t, and by having the director there to talk about, and to be able to accurately interpret what the writer is going for there, made for that process to be really efficient.”
Rebecca’s character Robyn struggles to cope when she discovers she doesn’t know everything about husband Simon following Gordo’s reappearance.
The British actress also found it helpful being able to tap into Joel’s writer’s side while shooting the film.
“I think as an actor you want to play the truth of each moment, moment to moment, as written,” she added. “But also when there’s a sort of secondary layer of truth, as it were, I think you want to have that plotted out so that in hindsight it all adds up, and that’s more fun.”
Joel has starred in films including Zero Dark Thirty, The Odd Life of Timothy Green and The Great Gatsby. The Gift allowed him to explore his writing and directing skills as well, and he is thrilled to have succeeded in his intention of subverting the traditional thriller genre with his tale.
“In the writing process there was a definite concerted effort to allow the typical genre of the well-meaning couple besieged by the bad guy to not just stay as such. There was a chance for us to keep the idea that not everything is what it seems,” he said.
“That was the reason I wrote the screenplay – the intention to strive to find a character that I could play who would be overbearing and misunderstood and a bit creepy. And it was later as I was writing it that I thought I could see this as the first project to direct.”
– Cover Media