Face it, the studio system feels as broken as the auto industry of late. Audiences are desperate to get a healthy dose of something that is satisfying and entertaining. Introducing the first cinematic salvo from NextGen talent who may provide a cure: the action drama Chronicle. Join the film’s director Josh Trank and his charismatic cast, Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan and Dane DeHaan, in this new Video Personalities Interview as they reveal their thoughts as to why audiences are in for a true shock of the new.
Imagine it. A film that isn’t a sequel or reboot, or worse, a formulaic project featuring an ensemble cast playing the umpteenth variation of themselves from past hits. That Chronicle even exists is enough to give film bloggers hope that the search of new cinematic visions has not been completely abandoned by studio executives.
The beauty of Chronicle is how its filmmakers have taken a turned inside out several Hollywood formulas to create a narrative that actually mirrors our current state of mind. Director Josh Trank and screenwriter Max Landis harness the POV film (or “found footage” experience), as well as the superhero origins myth, to create a genre mash-up that delivers the necessary popcorn thrills, sure. But it is also a poignant coming-of-age saga with surprising nuance thanks to its fresh cast led by Australian-born Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan (Friday Night Lights, The Wire) and, particularly, Dane DeHaan (HBO’s In Treatment).
The chance to capture “raw emotion” is what inspired Trank and his young cast to put a premium on the realism of the themes contained by Landis’ script. It is more than just being an “angry young man’s comic book” movie or even a variation of Stephen King’s Carrie for 21st century boys. Add the bonus of this generation’s propensity for self-documentation and the end result is often breathtakingly absorbing.
Should the film click with audiences during this competitive Super Bowl weekend would be a stroke of programming genius. Yet the bigger accomplishment would be how and why this group of newcomers banded together to take a challenging venture and made it soar.
JORGE CARREON: Sure these boys can fly, but it is striking to see how pure emotion take center stage in these characters’ turn from ordinary to extraordinary. Were you concerned that you might alienate certain demographics by depicting such a close male friendship.
JOSH TRANK: I think most studio films that focus on the relationships of young guys in a genre setting, the tendency is to play off of archetypes, to not really see those characters grow outside of those archetypes. For me growing up, like most of my friendships with other guys, guys pour their hearts out to each other, especially when you’re a teenager and full of so much raw emotion.
CARREON: Has our social networking made it harder to be a young person today?
ALEX RUSSELL: I guess in many ways it’s easier and in many ways it’s harder. We have so many different ways of communicating with each other that aren’t person to person. That is another avenue for bullying, for instance, that we’re all so connected. That makes things more difficul. For a character like Andrew, if you have more technology, to be in your own little shell, it’s easier to fall away from reality as well.”
CARREON: What did it feel like to finally act out your “special powers?”
MICHAEL B. JORDAN: The first time that we actually filmed using “the power,” there was just thissense of invincibility. You realize, ‘I have an advantage over everybody else. I’m almost superior.’ You start thinking these thoughts that can change you for the good or for the worse. You seea that effect on the three boys, but it affected all of us differently.
CARREON: You were all given such a free hand in creating Chronicle. Did that take some of the pressure off worrying about the film being a commericial success during production?
DANE DeHAAN: There is probably more of a carefree, “This is really awesome” kind of attitude that goes along with it. Not that there isn’t pressure for the movie to perform. But, we’re all around the same age and we were all on this big movie set in Capetown, South Africa, making and starring in this movie. That leaves a lot of room to have a lot of fun, I think.
TRANK: Wee were always there briefing everybody on how exactly we were going to do a scene. Everybody was on board. It was a challenge. We were under pressure and but I never felt like I was losing control. Every day was very exciting I think for everybody. It was just about commanding that excitement and feel like we’re doing something new.
Chronicle is now playing citywide. Check out Fandango, MovieTickets and NCM for tickets and theater information on all Personalities movies.
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