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Exclusive: Jason Ritter, Nate Parker, Maggie Grace Talk 'About Alex'

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Director Jesse Zwick's latest film titled "About Alex" hit theaters in limited release on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014 and Examiner.com had the opportunity to interview some of the cast about their latest project. Boasting a star studded cast which includes Aubrey Plaza, Max Greenfield, Max Minghella, Jason Ritter, Nate Parker and Maggie Grace the film is about a diverse group of college friends who have lost touch and the main character Alex (Jason Ritter) brings the old crew back together.

The movie addresses friendship through a tenured relationship and underlines the effects of social media in the modern world. "About Alex" adequately displays how time can slip by and you subtilely forget the things that matter most in life. For anyone looking for a great film that displays the importance of maintaining relationships and the sometimes odd things we do to bring the people we love together, "About Alex" is great commentary on the existing social paradigm we face today. Read our exclusive interviews with the cast and crew below:

Jason Ritter (Alex)

What was it that initially interested you about the character you're playing?

When I read the script I felt like all of the characters were really clearly drawn out. And there's this thing that for a while they're not really talking about the fact that my character tried to commit suicide and they're sort of dancing around it. I found it interesting that here's this guy who is in some ways the center of attention but does not want to be, he would much rather blend in and listen to everyone talking. He also knows that there's a lot of focus on him. And I thought that was interesting. Reading the script, I was excited to hear what Alex had to say and then I was sort of pleasantly surprised to find that for a lot of the movie, he was sort of silently in the background, but he's there, you feel his presence ... I was intrigued by his silence.

Speak about working with this great cast and ensemble.

It was fantastic, you know it always depends on the people. If you get even one bad apple it ruins for everyone else, but we really lucked out on this one, everyone was really into making the best movie that they could make and really into hanging out afterwards so yeah we had a great time. It was a lot of fun.

Without saying to much, what was your favorite scene?

It was a scene where it starts off as a simple "let's play a game" and it just evolves into everything coming out in the open.

Do you have any summer plans or upcoming projects?

I did a couple episodes of the HBO show "Girls." I'm excited about that coming about whenever it comes out. I'm also doing a voice on "Gravity Falls" on Disney XD and the second season just started airing. So I have been watching those. And there are all of these mysteries and little codes in there.

Nate Parker (Ben)

What was it that initially interested you about the character you're playing?

I like the idea that here's a character that saw himself as a patriarch. He's the most advanced in his relationship and thought he could bring something to the table to help his friend. He felt bad about the fact that he wasn't there for him and the once he gets to this place he realizes that it's own relationship that is put in front of him like a mirror that he has to deal with. That's the multi-dimensional spin on the movie.

Talk about working with this great cast and ensemble.

It was great, we had people that were known for their comedy, we had people that were known for their dearth. None of us had ever worked with each other before, so to come to the table with a script that we all really enjoyed with a director that although it was his first time directing, he had instincts of someone that was seasoned. We had a good time, we were really able to enjoy the process. Our cellphones didn't work. We were in the middle of nowhere. The whole thing happened in one building, so it was great.

Speaking on the social commentary undertone of the film, how was that for you?

We are the generation that was around when there were no cellphones and now with twitter you update every five seconds. I think it was a interesting dynamic that we are the only generation that's directly tied to both and the context to deal with both, so it was fun.

Without saying to much, what was your favorite scene ?

The scene that I had the most fun would be the scene that we were drinking and dancing, people were smoking and having a good time. It just felt very honest and real, it was one of those scenes that you kind of forget the fact that your actually filming a movie, because there's real music and you're dancing and you're genuinely having fun.

Do you have any summer plans or upcoming projects?

Yes! Actually about to direct a film called "The Birth Of A Nation" which is bio flick on Nat Tuner who lead the most successful slave revolt in American history. So I'm very excited about that, I also have a film called "Beyond the Lights" coming out November 14 with Gina Prince-Bythewood who did "Love & Basketball" so I'm excited about that too.

Maggie Grace (Siri)

What was it that initially interested you about the character you're playing?

Well with a name like Siri, this has to be the last generation that can get away with that name, right? It was nice to play an introvert for a change, she's a really thoughtful, quiet person. I loved the nuanced way that Jesse had written the Siri and Ben relationship which is really the core of their arc, there were lovely exciting young actors involved and a young first time director that I really loved meeting with and had really great energy and I thought I could I really trusted him and knew that I was in great hands.

Let's talk about working with this great cast.

So much fun! It was a small movie, we didn't have any trailers or dressing rooms so spending crazy hours piled up in a room together really helped with bonding, and being in a kind of abandoned ski lodge situation allowed us to get to know each other really fast. I think that camaraderie lends itself to the movie.

Also talk about the social media undertone of the film?

On one hand it's really exciting now and on another it going to be amazing how in five to ten years how much that dates it. Even as we watch Gordon Gekko lifting the subway sandwich sized cell phone to his ear in "Wall Street." I think social media is changing so fast and the way that we integrate it with our lives is really changing too and I think that's the point the movie makes. We may feel connected, but are really increasingly disconnected depending on how we use that technology. We're still wired the same way, we're still evolutionarily people that need human touch and face time. We have to check with in our friends and their vulnerabilities and show up for them as well. I love Instagram! I use it like crazy. You have to really be careful not to have faux intimacy invade your life.

Without saying too much, what was your favorite scene ?

There's a dance party where everyone was super high. That was fun. Luckily it was like four in the morning and many takes later, so we seemed really high regardless ... we were not smoking ... but we got that affect because we were all a little goofy because it was early in the morning.

Do you have any summer plans or upcoming projects?

Just got back 2 weeks ago for shooting "Taken 3" all over the world. So that was really exciting!

Adam Saunders (Producer)

Talk about working with this great cast and ensemble.

It was a great script ... and then we had great casting directors ... and the actors responded to it and Jesse was great with them in the room. We just had really great team.

Do you have any summer plans or upcoming projects?

We have a movie coming up called "When We First Met" which is directed by Jamie Travis, who did a movie called "For A Good Time Call," ... we're really excited about that and that's coming up in the winter.

What was he deciding factor to get involved with this project?

The project started with me, they sent me the script and I loved it and said I have to produce this ... begged them to let me option it ... I felt like it was a really timely script and something that would reach an audience as it's nothing that I really had read before that addresses the social media element.

Jessie Zwick (Director)

Lets talk about working with this great cast and ensemble, how was that for you?

This was a story that had been with me for a while and it's about a group of friends that are very dear to my heart. It's a story that I hope is a little bit timeless and it's about college friendships and the ways in which we try to make things last and the difficulties of doing so.

Also with the social media aspect of the film, what made you realize this is an important detail to put into the film?

It's something that I think affects all our lives to an increasing extent and my goal wasn't to really say that it's bad or good or something to be railed against in any way. It's something that affect all of our relationships, it's hard to make a movie set in the modern era that doesn't involve it because it's just so pervasive.

Speaking about the casting.

I just wanted seven people and I was lucky. I managed to attach one or two great actors and that made it that much more appealing for others to join, it was kind of like a domino effect and I don't know how it happened but I'm very happy with that.

The cast and crew including Aubrey Plaza, Jane Levy, Jason Ritter, Maggie Grace, Max Greenfield, Max Minghella, Nate Parker, Rey Lucas, director Jesse Zwick, producers Adam Saunders, Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz celebrated their LA premiere in style at the Hollywood ArcLight Theater on Aug. 6, 2014.

They were joined by additional celebrity guests Dane DeHaan, Anna Wood, Mae Whitman, Rose McGowan, Bar Paly, Spencer Grammer, Melanie Lynskey, Clea DuVall, Nasim Pedrad, Cristin Milioti, Liz Goldwyn, Scottie Thompson, Hallie Meyers-Shyer, Julie Mond, Neon Hitch, Arden Myrin, Nev Schulman, D.J. Cotrona, director Nick Jarecki, Claudia Levy, Aasha Davis, Joey King, Max Burkholder, Domiziano Arcangeli, Laura James and Nico Tortorella, to name a few. The evening was sponsored by Ploom. Following the screening, guests headed over to Wood & Vine for canapés, Purity Vodka cocktails, and a Ploom sampling bar.

Darius Stone contributed reporting.

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