Yesterday, on August 19, Examiner.com was on the scene at the New York premiere of Focus Features "Closed Circuit" at the Tribeca Grand Hotel. Notables in attendance included Andrew Karpen, Director John Crowley, James Schamus and the film's stars Julia Stiles, Eric Bana, and Rebecca Hall.
Film Synopsis: Following a mysterious explosion in a busy London market, the police swoop in, a suspect is detained, and the country prepares for one of the most high-profile trials in British history. Two exceptional lawyers (Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall), with a romantic past step into a dangerous web of secrets and lies, and when evidence points to a possible British Secret Service cover up, it’s not just their reputations but their lives that are at stake
Eric Bana plays a lawyer in the film.
Tell me about your character and what you loved about playing him.
Eric Bana: He was a wonderful character on the page. It was very well-written and he's someone who presents to the world as being brilliant and confident which he is in his job - he's a fantastic barrister, but behind the curtain we have someone who is basically going through a midlife crisis and his life is a mess. He's not with the woman he loves, he's divorced. This is a very interesting character to play, challenging, but with Rebecca Hall to bounce off and John Crowley's direction, it was a hell of a lot of fun.
Speaking about John Crowley, can you tell me about working with him and what you admire about him as a filmmaker?
Eric Bana: I loved his approach in pre-production. He gave us a lot of time in rehearsal and I was out on London a couple of months before we started shooting, doing research and spending time together. Him having a theatrical background in theater was great. His approach was fantastic, but at the same time, very loose on set. You never felt like you were being micro-managed. He really let Rebecca and I do our thing and he was wonderful to work with.
Rebecca Hall plays Eric Bana's colleague and secret lover.
Tell me a little bit about your character.
Rebecca Hall: I play a character called Claudia Simmons-Howe who is a very intelligent and very strong willed defense barrister who's representing in closed sessions so in a secret court, essentially. A Turkish man has been accused of a terrorist attack.
What did you love about playing her?
Rebecca Hall: I loved that she had a incredibly strong moral compass and had an absolute sense of what is right and wrong and like a lot of people who have an absolute sense of that, they start to find the grey areas and get compromised and that is an interesting journey to play.
Can you speak about collaborating with Eric on the film?
He's very very funny and incredibly smart and quick witted and brilliant at what he does so he made my job very easy. He often made me laugh to the point that it was impossible to finish the scene.
Was it fun to shoot on location in your home country of London?
I loved it! I could walk home. Are you kidding me? It was one of the best things that ever happened to me.
Julia Stiles plays a journalist in the film.
What attracted you to the project?
Julia Stiles: I just thought it was a really sophisticated political thriller and I liked the idea of playing a journalist whose hands are tied because she's got conspiracy theories and more than just theories, but she doesn't have enough to prove the government's involvement in order to print a story and she also has a conscious. She's concerned about Eric Bana's safety. And I also thought the movie was really relevant in terms of government surveillance.
Can you speak about collaborating with Eric Bana?
Julia Stiles: He's great. He's such a sweet man and he has a very calming presence on set.
What was it like working with Director John Crowley?
Julia Stiles: He's great. He comes from a theater background and I think it reflects in his work, particularly with actors. He has such an interest in and respect for actors and can manage to say just the right thing to shift a scene. And he's so eloquent and he's so articulate in that terribly British way.
And can you tell me the highlight of shooting on location in London?
Julia Stiles: It's fantastic. I'm so enchanted by that city. Any excuse to go to London is good for me.
Do you have any favorite places to go to in London?
Julia Stiles: Yeah, I did a play there in the West End a few years ago and I would always love to go to J Sheekey after the show, usually if the producers were paying and then I really love Borough Market, which appears in this film.
"Closed Circuit" hits theaters August 28.