Interview: The Cast & Crew Of The Gift

The Gift Quotes Poster Final
Joel Edgerton, Writer/Director: The Gift started for me with a simple premise: what would happen if a high school bully ran into his victim fifteen or so years later? What would or could be the effects? How might the past come to bear on the present? How could the past, unaccounted and unresolved, rupture a present situation? I was interested in the aftermath of that kind of hurt; is it a good or badthing to go and rummage around in the past, and that’s really the starting point for the story.”
Jason Blum, Producer: “There is a married couple, and things seem to be going along fine until Joel’s character, ‘Gordo,’ comes into their life. It turns out Gordo and Jason Bateman’s character, ‘Simon,’ went to school together a long time ago. Gordo seems relatively friendly, although a little odd … and as we move through the course of the story, it turns out none of what you think at the beginning is true.”
Rebecca Yeldham, Producer: “It starts as a story that seems very simple, without malice, but then dread and discomfort creep in incrementally, making theaudience increasingly nervous about what’s going to transpire.”
Rebacca Hall, ‘Robyn’: “There’s no easy way out. There’s no easy sort of good guys, bad guys or victims. Everyone presents versions of themselves, that vary todegrees, that shift according to who they’re talking to or what they want to put across.The thing I find really interesting about Robyn is that she knows her husband has a secret, and she goes on a mission to find out what it is.”
Jason Bateman, ‘Simon’: “Things really bend and go sideways in a very realistic way, and you wind up questioning who is the villain and who is the victim, whether certain characters deserved what they got or not.”
RY: “Joel is such a strong writer and storyteller. I loved the script; I felt compelled to get involved with the project.”
Blum: “It’s not a straight horror movie, like what you’re used to. It’s a veryoriginal script, very tight. I loved it; I thought it read like a novel.”
JE: “A nice couple opens the door a little bit to a stranger, whothen wreaks havoc on their life. That’s how we start, but that’s definitely not where we end.”
Eduard Grau, Cinematographer: “It’s a very well-written script, all the characters kind of change and all the characters affect each other in a weird way that we all find kind of common and personal.”
RY: “The story is so gripping. You think you’re entering a world that’s very normal and familiar, and then piece by piece, the tension ratchets up – even on the page, you’re on the edge of your seat. Joel put together a team of artists, creative keys who could deliver the kind of sophisticated, elegant thriller we wanted to make, Something that had scale and sweep and a real classicism to it.”
EG: “He wanted to do a movie that captures that classic feel of a psychological thriller, while still being contemporary.”
Blum: “Being home alone at night and hearing weird things scares me, your house is where you feel safest, so when you’re threatened in thatenvironment, it’s really scary.”
Kandice Billingsley, Location Manager: “We looked at all kinds of different houses to tell the story. We looked at traditional houses, Craftsman, Tudor style and ultimately Joel settled on the Midcentury Modern.”
RY: “The location we ultimately found for the movie, was not in any way reminiscent of what Joel originally scripted. At first, he had a very traditional house in mind, but when we found that incredible, glass-walled house, it lent so much to the story in terms of vulnerability, in terms of ratcheting up the dread and suspense, because Simon and Robyn are essentially living in a fishbowl. It just became another gift that location gave to the story, so that was fantastic.”
JE: “I had a chance to meet Edu a couple of years ago. Knowing I was looking for a classical and elegant look for the film, I was excited to collaborate with him on this project. He brought a sophistication and aspirational quality to the suburban life of the film.”
EG: “Even though it was challenging, the house was a very specialpart. It is a character itself in the movie, so it was important that it had a personality. We liked that long corridor and all the windows. For my department, we suffered in some ways because of the decision, but we made it work – we used a lot of double images.”
Richard Sherman, Production Designer: “Mid-century houses have built-in backgrounds because of all the glass, and here you’re looking out onto pretty trees, mountains, city views … and that’s all free.”
KB: “The streets are narrow, and you have to get production trucks up there and trailers. It’s a logistical puzzle, like fitting an elephant into a ring box.”
Bateman: “I really enjoyed shooting in that house, it’s a great looking house, and it’s fifteen minutes from where I live. I had zero complaints.
Blum: “One of the things that’s interesting about bullying is everyone’s version of the events of bullying are often very different.”
RY: “Things do stick, they have a ripple effect.”
JE: “On the one hand, it could be just one of those things that you did when you’re a kid, but whether it’s that or a wilful, deceptive act, it can snowball and have a massively damaging effect on another person’s life.”
EG: “I feel like almost everyone has been bullied in school, as bad as it is, it’s human nature of the kids we all were at one time.”
Bateman: “That stuff informs the way you behave as an adult, all those marks and scars are established early on. It never truly leaves you.”
JE: “So when I wrote this, I was interested in the question ofwhere are those people that bullied us in the past? Or the ones that we bullied? I wanted to hold a mirror up through this story, about taking responsibility for our past and our actions but with a real sense of mystery and intrigue.”
Blum: “I don’t know if it’s possible, I think it’s something with which we all struggle.”
EG: “It’s not always possible, but we should try. The past affects how we live now and you can’t refuse it. It helps us to be who we are, but you can’t get stuck in it, either.”
Bateman: “Forgive, but don’t forget, I think everybody’s kind of like that, unless you’re blissfully ignorant and you have the ability to forget. It doesn’t mean you need to carry resentment, but it’s helpful to redraw boundaries and expectations with people.”
Alilison Tolman, ‘Lucy’: “I think it’s possible to forgive and forget anything, if you put your mind to it.”
RH: “We’re all changeable beings, it has to be possible. I think we’re in real trouble if you can’t get over bad things that happen to you.”