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Nobel Son in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Nobel Son

Alan Rickman • Bryan Greenberg • Shawn Hatosy • Mary Steenburgen • Bill Pullman • Eliza Dushku • Danny Devito
DIRECTOR: Randall Miller

Bryan Greenberg and Eliza Dushku THE CONCEPT:
Barkey Michaelson (Greenberg) is struggling to finish his PhD thesis when his father, Eli Michaelson (Rickman) wins the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. But Eliís past indiscretions begin to collide with the present. When Barkley is kidnapped on the eve of his father accepting the prize, Eli refuses to pay the ransom, which starts a game of intrigue and deception that proves that paybackís a bitch.

U.S. RELEASE: December 5 2008, Nationwide
• Rated: R


There have been many times that I have sat in a darkened theatre and thought, ĎI wish I could do a movie like thatí: dark, twisted, edgy, not always PC with a hot girl, witty dialogue, in-your-face visuals, music pumping from end to end, bold and brash, unforgiving. So thatís exactly what I did with Nobel Son

Alan RickmanďI loved the whole script. What I really like about Jody [producer/writer] and Randyís scripts is that they donít have easy labels. It doesnít fit into a genre particularly, you canít get a rubber stamp out. Itís got a bit of this, and a bit of that. Itís uniquely itself. And so I liked it very much.Ē

MILLER on casting Rickman:
[After we sent him the script] there was a message on our phone machine from Alan. In his commanding, regal tone he said, ĎThank you for being real writers.í It was an amazing moment, but brief, because he then went on to say that unfortunately he was unavailable the dates we needed him. So I immediately rearranged our entire shooting schedule at the 11th hour and we made it work.Ē

BILL PULLMAN (Max Mariner):
Bill PullmanďI didnít know Randy, he came out of the blue in the way that you take for granted at a certain point. But when I met him I was very intrigued by how he and Jody were doing it all out of their house in Pasadena, and then I got intrigued by the fact that the story was set in Pasadena and that a lot of it is about his life. For me this movie about these people who are out of their depth, doing things out of desperation, is a side of L.A. that feels like a desert town. L.A. is supposed to be a big city, but there are times where it feels like itís all a charade and weíre still a desert town not far away from Las Vegas. So thatís when I got hooked.Ē

Bryan GreenbergďI went in and auditioned for Barkley and I totally sucked, but I knew I sucked, and I was in the middle of [the scene] and I convinced them, ĎYouíve got to let me come back in and Iíll do it right. Give me enough time to prep for it,í because it was a rush situation. I just loved the script and I really wanted to do something different like this and I got it the second time around.Ē

Eliza DushkuďI auditioned my heart out, I really wanted it. I read it and I loved it. My characterís name, City Hall, was nice to add onto my resume. Iíd never read a character like her, and from the opening scene sheís so bizarre and twisted and then as the story unfolds, there was just a lot going on and a lot to work with. It was super intriguing and once I started working with Randy and Jody and realized how open they were filling her up with these little nuances and things, it was awesome.Ē

RICKMAN on playing the pompous and egotistical Eli:
ďWhatís your problem with him? (he laughs) No, it was fun because thereís no area of judgment to be made. He makes no judgments on himself; everything is possible as long as it suits him. It was a big old playground to jump into.Ē

ďAlanís a very deliberate person. His sense of control is strong. I think he wants to be stable. He gets engaged in a movie like this the same way I do, where you want to say letís all share what we can, and he had some great ideas.Ē

ďAlanís just a great committed actor. Iíve been fortunate enough to have been working the last ten years and you donít come across actors like that too often who are committed and really stick by their choices, who actually make choices and donít rely on charm and charisma. They actually read the script and have passion and care about their craft. The guy came in with fake teeth, he had teeth made in London, he wanted his teeth to be more shark like, because he thought his character was more like a predator. I was like, wow, I have too much to learn.Ē

ďIíve had a crush on Bill Pullman since I was six. Heís just so cute. I told him the first day of shooting, itís kind of a Kurt Russell thing! Heís sexy and heís such a lovely guy.Ē

ďShe had this huge respect for me and sheís the kind of person that will say, ĎI had the biggest crush on Bill Pullman.í And that makes me feel very awkward because what do you do with that? But it was exactly what our scene together was about, her being very demonstrative in ways that I canít compute.Ē

RICKMAN on the perception that he plays snobby roles:
ďI actually donít play a lot of them as it happens. Itís just some of the [roles] get more publicity. But the majority of the work that Iíve done is perfectly ordinary people. For every Nobel Son, thereís a couple of Sense and Sensibility, Truly, Madly, Deeply and Perfume. I donít judge the characters; I just get on and play them. I hope my characters live through three dimensions. I resist the labeling because I think itís too easy to do that to characters and stories. Wrap them up. I like it when stories are left open. Thatís what I like about Jo Rowling as a storyteller, itís full of possibilities.Ē

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Feature © 2008 Visual Imagination.
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