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Sleepwalking in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Sleepwalking

Nick Stahl • Charlize Theron • AnnaSophia Robb • Dennis Hopper
DIRECTOR: William Maher

Nick Stahl and AnnaSophia Robb THE CONCEPT:
Forced out of her home after her boyfriend is arrested, Joleen (Theron) needs a place to stay with her 11-year old daughter, Tara (Robb), and turns to her younger brother James (Stahl) for help. When Joleen hits the road with another man, Tara is put in a foster home, and James makes a fateful decision to take off with Tara, the pair assuming new identities as father and daughter, where they eventually end up at his abusive father’s (Hopper) farm.

U.S. RELEASE: March 14 2008, Limited • Rated: R


Charlize Theron and Nick Stahl “When I read material, I either tap into something or I don’t. Usually, you can tell the next morning when you wake up, if you’re still thinking about it, that’s usually a good sign – especially if something scares you or stays with you. I felt it was beautifully written, and wasn’t a watered-down version of a dysfunctional family. I thought it was pretty real as far as being authentic. Towards the end of the day you have to be responsible for your own life. I like that it had that message. I didn’t want these people to wallow in self pity, I wanted them to stand up and wake up at some point, and realize that they are the driver of the bus.”

AnnaSophia Robb“When I first read the script I didn’t understand the story because I couldn’t relate to it. As soon as I met with Charlize and Bill [Maher], they explained how it’s about second chances, and taking control of your life. It’s a real story about wounded people. This happens in our world, I think we told it really well. On set I never had any mental breakdowns. Actually, the darker it went, the more I loved it, because I knew that Charlize, Nick and Dennis would be there to help me come back out of it.”

“AnnaSophia and I got along really well right away. I felt somewhat protective of her, and that worked for the story. I think in a big way the reason was that I was acting when I was her age. She’s a little more put together than I was at that age, a little more confident, which is a tribute to her family, she’s a really talented kid. She enjoys being a kid, which is one thing I struggled with when I was her age. I wanted to be an adult really fast.”

Dennis Hopper“When you look at the farm in the movie, it becomes like a whole character on its own, it has such an ominous feel to it, and to think that one man is trying to run it by himself is really ridiculous. I’m sure he thought he was doing the right thing. I’m sure he was [beaten] as a kid. I didn’t see him as an evil man. I think that probably things were much different when his wife was alive, when she died he lost it with the children, and he hasn’t seen them in at least ten years.”

THERON on being a hands-on producer on the movie:
“I think that something happened around 10 years ago, with people throwing their names on credits for vanity. There’s no way I could take credit if I didn’t feel I did the job. It’s hard to call it a job, it’s just the idea of taking a story and, somehow, servicing it on all levels, to try and tell it the best way you possibly can.”

“Nick and I met and it worked really well. As Tara and James’ relationship grew throughout the film, Nick and my relationship grew. We became really close and always joked around. I feel so comfortable with Nick. He’s like my uncle. It’s so nice to do one of these serious films, because it can feel mentally dangerous sometimes, but I never felt that on the set. Nick was so good about encouraging me and making me feel comfortable and always laughing and hanging out with me all the time. I loved working with him.”

“What a great actress AnnaSophia is. Both Nick and she carry the movie, and they both do an incredible job. Charlize gets it started and I sort of get it ended! The violent scenes were really tough; it was just a matter of choreographing them like a good dance so nobody gets hurt. We were probably overprotective of Anna, but she was wonderful and it all went really smoothly.”

Nick Stahl, AnnaSophia Robb and Charlize Theron

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Film Review, #694, April 2008 cover

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