At this year’s annual Tribeca Film Festival in New York, I was granted the opportunity to cover the red carpet of the new film Run and Jump. The story tells the tale of an Irish housewife Venetia, who must deal with the aftermath of her husband suffering a rare and debilitating stroke which leaves him mentally and vitally changed. A research grant from an American doctor, Ted, allows the family to get by as the Doctor studies this peculiar case. Venetia and Ted begin to tentatively bond as their lives grow and change simultaneously.
While there, I got to speak to two of the main cast as well as the director of the film, Steph Green, whose previous short film New Boy won Best Narrative Short at TFF in 2008 and went on to be nominated for an Academy Award.
I first spoke to Maxine Peake who played the lead character Venetia.
What drew you to the project?
Maxine Peake: The script-like anything, like always that’s the first thing you do you read it and think ‘yup, this is a great story, I want to apart of this.’ And then, meeting Steph [the director] and just going ‘yeah, she’s pretty cool and she’s going places.’
Is this the first time the cast is seeing the film?
Maxine Peake: I was actually sent a DVD of it two weeks ago and actually had it for a week before watching it because I was too nervous.
Tell us about your character.
Maxine Peake: Her name is Venetia whose husband has had a stroke and it’s a quite unusual stroke for a man of his age and Will’s character Ted [Will Forte] comes in to observe him. I play a mom and a wife, and she’s just trying to keep it all together with grief. It’s sort of a bird’s eye view on this woman going through a trauma and how humans deal with that. It’s about relationships and it’s about love and needs.
Why should audiences see this film?
Maxine Peake: Because I think there’s something for everybody. Because it’s such a universal story, it’s such a human story and it’s sentimental and it’s got humor and I don’t believe it leads the audience by the nose about where it should be going and what they should be feeling about the film and it leaves a lot of questions which I think are the best type of films.
What is your part in the movie?
Will Forte: I am an actor in the movie. I play Doctor Ted Fielding. I come to study the father of this family who has had a stroke and I come to study him in his home.
Obviously people know you from a more comedic based background, so what drew you to a more dramatic work?
Will Forte: Steph [Green] the director had somehow thought of me for this role and sent me the script and I loved the script, it’s such a beautiful, subtle story that I couldn’t believe she wanted me to be a part of it so I thought I’d give it a go.
I’ve always been curious about this, is there an easier genre to do, comedy or drama?
Will Forte: They’re so different. I would say that obviously I’m more comfortable with comedy because I’ve been doing it for a while, but I don’t think they’re ever easy. You can always blow it. As long as you’ve been doing it, you can always blow it.
What inspired you to tell this particular story?
Steph Green: It was just a very unique script. It was a first time screenwriter and her father had suffered a brain injury, so in her household there was an old and a new dad and I think this script is very beautiful to me about how a family would really cope with this change. So there was a great truth to the script. And then I loved this American character coming in, of course, because I’m an American who’s lived in Ireland back and forth for ten years. So I thought I could do that truthfully in a cliché, fish out of water sort of way. I loved that it was five under the same roof and all of the different dynamics of the household. There was just a lot of things about the script that felt right.
We have a lot of female readers over at The Young Folks, so I was wondering how it feels to be a successful female director in a very male dominated field. Especially this year where there are so many wonderful female directors attending.
Steph Green: I think I experienced what a lot of young women experience which is I became an assistant and I was a good assistant and I took care of that person for many years. Though there’s nothing wrong with that, you need to decide that now it’s time to do your work and time to pursue the things that you really want to do. It’s really about continuing to focus forwards on the bravery of going forwards.
Why should people see this movie?
Steph Green: They should come and see an amazing talent that they may not seen before in this country- Maxine Peake. They should come to see Will [Forte] in a new form, and they should come to see something truthful about human nature.