Interview: Jane Seymour on Waiting For Forever
|INTERVIEWS - FILM|
The actress and producer talks her latest behind-the-cameras project, as well as Radiohead and the legacy of Christopher Reeve...
Waiting For Forever is the latest outing from director James Keach and producer and wife Jane Seymour, well-known as the first 'Bond girl' of the Roger Moore era in Live And Let Die, as well as fantasy offerings such as Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger and comedies including the 2006 hit Wedding Crashers.
Rachel Bilson (Jumper, The O.C.) and Tom Sturridge (Pirate Radio and the pending On The Road) lead an impressive cast in an unusual love story. Sturridge plays Will, a quirky street performer with a free spirit and a heart of pure gold. The object of Will's lifelong affection is Emma (Bilson), the beautiful young actress whom he has never stopped loving since they were childhood sweethearts. But when they reunite, and Will gets swept up in Emma's complicated past, it's pretty obvious that this unconventional romantic journey may not lead to a happy ending.
We had a chat with Jane just before last week's royal wedding...
You've described Waiting For Forever as 'the perfect love story'. What is it that makes it a perfect love story?
It's a very unusual love story. It's definitely a movie you've never seen before. It's about a young man who in his past, when he was ten years old, lost both his parents in a train crash. His best friend was another ten year-old and now, of course, he's parted from her in very tragic circumstances and is forced to go and live with some random uncle somewhere far away. So now we pick him up as a young man, and he's different. He wears a little bowler hat, he juggles, he wears pyjamas...we realise that he never really grew up. And basically what the little girl said to him when his parents died was that 'they will always be with you' - in other words his parents will always be with him - '...and you will always be loved'. And he's taken it very literally. He has almost the mentality of a very young boy now, and he's spent his life following her around. She's now an adult, and she's an actress. He doesn't dare go up to her and say that he's there, but he just wants to make sure she's okay, so in a kind of way he's following her, which could be construed as being a bad thing, but actually it's very innocent and he genuinely loves her. Ultimately the movie is about whether or not he dares to tell her that he loves her.
What do you think of the talk that has gone on about 'stalking', in regards to the film?
You know what I think? I don’t think you can compare this movie to anything else, and stalking is really very far away from what the movie is. When you see it you understand that - there are so many different levels and layers to it. I think what's so brilliant about Tom Sturridge's performance is...it was so hard to find the right guy. You had to find a guy who could exude the kind of innocence where you knew that there was not one element of anything frightening or dangerous or weird or strange about him.
It seems like a very American movie, with themes of distance and non-conformity, so how did a British actor end up in the main role?
James Keach, the director, really saw every young man on the planet! Anyone who was remotely right was tested, but it just was astounding when Tom came on screen; and we had no idea he was English. He was just perfect - in the test he was quirky, and he was American...and 'different'. You just totally believed that he was this innocent but different kind of kid. I just came back from having dinner with him after seeing him in a play in London, and he truly is an amazing young actor. I think he's going to go very far.
Did you have actors in mind for the supporting cast, which is very strong, or were they also found via auditions?
I think we kind of won the jackpot with the supporting actors. Every one of them in their own way is just a huge talent. Blythe Danner and Richard Jenkins just blew me away in the movie. And Scott Mechlowicz is extraordinary. When you have a movie like this and you make it for the budget we made it for and you end up with the cast that we got, all of whom really worked so well together...it's very hard to compete with three hundred million dollar action movies about superheroes [laughs] when you're making something that's unique and that's not a genre movie.
But we showed it in film festivals and it kept winning all kinds of audience awards. Everyone who went to see it loved it. People don't watch it once, they watch it over and over again. I personally was in a little movie a million years ago called Somewhere In Time, and ours was panned...[laughs]
Really? It became so popular later.
It's now probably considered one of people's favourite love stories of all time, and I wouldn't compare it to this, but...it's interesting - when you have a story that really captures you and makes you laugh and cry, and somehow there's a sense of hope and it's not cheesy...that's pretty unique.
From Somewhere In Time onwards you seemed to become a public advocate of romance, with books like your 'Guide To Romantic Living' and various advertising...how so you feel about being seen as an authority on the subject?
Oh, I'm certainly not an authority on the subject. But if you ask me what kind of movies I prefer, I like movies about the human condition. Those are the kinds of movies I really like to see. And of course I love to see great comedies too. A movie like Waiting For Forever fits everything for me, because it's about different types of characters and the interweaving of these different people's situations...it makes me laugh, it makes me cry. I've seen it now about fifty or sixty times and it still gets me every time. When I read the script for the first time I turned to James (Keach) and said 'We've got to make this movie'. What's unique about Waiting For Forever is that it gets to every age group. We have young fourteen, fifteen year-olds and they love the movie, our twenty year-olds love it and we love it, and people who are older than us love it, so it's pretty unique to have a film that crosses all those boundaries.
What's it like to really get out and push for a movie you believe in as much as this?
We've been involved with other movies before - I was involved with Walk The Line, which was one of our movies and won lots of awards. I was also involved with Blind Dating, where we discovered a great new young actor that no-one knew called Chris Pine! So we discovered Chris Pine and we've just discovered Tom Sturridge, who just now has done the movie of Jack Kerouac's On The Road...so he's about to become huge.
I really enjoy being behind the camera as well, but obviously I'm still starring in movies too. We have about six movies ready to go right now of all different types. It's something that we work on on a daily basis together, finding the funding and the right cast together...and these are kind of like our 'babies', you know [laughs]. It's also exciting when people catch up with your work; people are now discovering Blind Dating because of Chris Pine's success, and I think the same is going to happen here with Tom Sturridge.
One of our US editors is a great fan of Radiohead, and was interested to know how involved you were when they recorded 'OK Computer' at your house...?
Tragically not at all! They just asked if they could come and record, and they did. But the good news was that I got to watch Radiohead perform in Santa Barbara and we got to go back and meet with them afterwards, and they told us all kinds of crazy stories about what it's like to record there. The Cure also recorded two albums there, as did S-Club 7; Robbie Williams rehearsed there too; Johnny Cash was there, John Barry was there...it was a house that had extraordinary music associated with it.
It has a magic to it. I was there just last week filming for Entertainment Tonight, as I'm doing a whole 'royal correspondent' thing for American television at the moment, and even though we don't own the house any more, we were able to take the cameras around to show the house. It exudes a very magical feeling, and if you're a musician or an artist, it just captures your imagination.
Having read about your charity work, I was wondering what the later events of Christopher Reeve's life had on it?
Well, after his accident, when I was able to speak to him, I said that I wanted to do whatever I could to help him, and he just said to me 'Jane, the people to help are the people I left behind in the hospital and in the rehab'. Their families had deserted them in some cases, insurance companies had deserted them and currently there's no cure for spinal injuries, and so I got very involved with the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.
Now there's a wonderful young kid who I've met called Jesse Billauer, who had a surfing accident and started an organisation called Life Rolls On, and I'm very supportive of him too. In fact we've just honoured him with the Open Heart Award, for really turning his life around and being of service to other people by encouraging and helping young people who've had spinal injuries.
But Chris Reeve was a very special man in my life. He epitomises what I and my mum would call an 'open heart'; he took a challenge, and instead of feeling sorry for himself, turned it around to be an opportunity to go out there and do everything he could to help other people in the same circumstances.
Many thanks to Jane Seymour, and to Calvin, Nicky, Luke and Gabe for helping out. Waiting For Forever is released today.
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