‘Room’s’ Brie Larson says ‘It’s not gonna look pretty,’ but it will be real

26 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Building a new but still-devastating ‘Room’.

If you saw “Room,” a horrifying drama about a woman (Ma) and her young son (Jack) locked in a shed by a predator for years before planning a daunting escape, you may be wondering — isn’t the kid who played Jack completely traumatized by starring in this movie?! Her 2010 novel about Ma and Jack, a mother and son trapped in hellish circumstances and struggling to persevere, is a harrowing yet hopeful story, one that earned reams of critical praise and awards attention upon its release.

It stars Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay, and opens locally Friday, at Dallas’ Landmark Magnolia and Plano’s Angelika Film Center. “Writing about such a good mother makes me hyper-aware of all the moments when I’m not a good mother,” says the 45-year-old Irish-Canadian mother of two over coffee at Hotel ZaZa. “I often felt like a [expletive] mother for writing this book. The result is one of the more satisfying book-to-film adaptations in recent memory, deftly streamlining the narrative while taking care to preserve the Ma-Jack relationship and the profound emotional wallop Donoghue’s story about the power of motherly love delivers. Brie Larson, who stars as Ma, recently took questions in Washington after a screening of “Room” and said everyone is worried about Tremblay’s well-being.

Being confronted with an audience’s immediate, visceral reaction — at a recent screening, a woman to my right was openly sobbing by the film’s conclusion — has been a fascinating experience for Donoghue. “When you go to a play, it’s different every night because the actors are initially responding to the audience,” says Donoghue, who has also written for the stage. “I would have thought that films … the audience may be different, but the film is the same, but I have to say, the audience responds so differently each time. “Some audiences really get all the laughs, some make themselves laugh quite a lot, and others are big criers. … I have to say, making people cry is a fabulous sensation — the sheer power of it.” But, apart from the story’s sensational tendencies, it’s the act of motherhood — parenting in general, really — that Donoghue feels Room most directly addresses, and, moreover, most deeply resonates with its audience. “I think our generation is very focused on exactly how well do we parent,” she says. “In a way, I don’t think our parents sat around thinking, ‘Am I a good enough parent?’ Our generation is maybe hyper-focused on this, especially, of course, [because] a lot of us are working long hours and then we’re seeing less of our kids. “I think a story like Room is probably really intriguing to our generation, because it’s about how could you parent well under bad circumstances, but what about if you gave it all you had, rather than doing it part-time, like most people?” Larson recalls rehearsal for one upsetting scene where Ma devises a plan to have Jack pretend to be dead so her captor, Old Nick, will have to take him out of the shed. And I’m weeping, [director Lenny Abrahamson] is weeping, because we’re realizing the ridiculous thing that we’re about to do and how moving this whole sequence is,” Larson recalled. “And Jacob was laughing. This continued when he was stuffed in the back of the truck by Old Nick, wrapped in the rug. “All the stuff in the back of the truck, we watched that and we’re all going ‘Oh no!’ That was two days of stunt work.

For an eight-year-old, that’s a dream come true,” Larson explained. “He was like, ‘I’m Tom Cruise now!’” “I know people do worry about Jacob,” she continued. “But he loved every second of it. We laughed a lot, we had a great time the whole time, and he really loved it.” “Room” is already considered a favorite for award show season, with prognosticators betting that Larson is a lock for an Oscar nomination. (Tremblay is also getting some whispers as a potential best supporting actor nominee, though you never know with child stars.) So what did he think of the final product?

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