Woody Harrelson wasn’t able to make it to The Hollywood Reporter‘s chat at the Sundance Film Festival with Suncoast writer-director Laura Chinn and the actor’s co-stars Laura Linney and Ariel Martin. However, Chinn and Linney shed light on what Harrelson brought to his role.
In Suncoast, which is partially based on Chinn’s own life, Harrelson’s character Paul is an activist who protests in favor of real-life person Terri Schiavo’s right to live while being in a vegetative state. He strikes a friendship with Doris (Nico Parker), a high schooler whose comatose brother is being held in the same facility as Schiavo.
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Speaking on the dynamic between the characters of Paul and Doris, Linney, who plays Doris’ mother Kristine, said, “The thing that’s also interesting is when you have conviction on opposite sides of an issue. The conviction is the same and the conviction can, if allowed, can connect people. But the viewpoint’s wildly different but it’s always so interesting to me how the convictions is very similar.”
The bond between Harrelson and Parker onscreen translated offscreen as well. Chinn noted that Harrelson and Parker shared a natural chemistry onscreen, in part thanks to Harrelson having starred alongside Parker’s mother Thandiwe Newton in Solo.
“Woody and Nico were just darling together. That was the real, how safe he made her feel,” said Chinn. “He’s worked with her mother before so it was very… they felt like family. Listening to them and him guiding her and giving her tips — they were very, very, very sweet. That was my takeaway, I was just very grateful that her being so young and so new to all this, that he was there for her.”
Watch the full interview in the video above.
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