Helen Hunt, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone, Laurence Fishburne, Elijah Wood, and Lindsay Lohan talk about making this important film
With the Democrats recent taking of the both the House and Senate, the U.S. engaged a difficult conflict in the Middle East, Emilio Estevez's passion project Bobby couldn't be more timely. This film, which chronicles the intertwining lives of the people present at Los Angeles' Ambassador Hotel in the hours leading up to Robert F. Kennedy's assassination, is an ensemble piece of the highest order.
On hand for a recent press junket were Estevez, Helen Hunt, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone, Laurence Fishburne, Elijah Wood and Lindsay Lohan.
What do you hope audiences will take out of the theater after they've seen this film?
Emilio Estevez: I believe that the death of Bobby Kennedy was in many ways the death of decency in America. The death of manners and formality, the death of poetry, and the death of a dream. I believe that I am unapologetically optimistic, an unapologetically earnest... I believe we've come so far away from that, and I believe the movie is a reminder of who we were.
What's it like for you and Demi to work together after all these years?
Demi Moore: Well, I was still living in Idaho... we had been speaking he called me and said, "I'm gonna send you something." He didn't even say anything specifically about a role it was just "read this." We continued to talk and there was almost money there, and just feel like I haven't been as inside it as he has but I've been living with this borrowed passion until it became part of my own.
What was the challenge of capturing the time?
Emilio Estevez: You always sweat that out. You want to get it right because if you don't you marginalize it. You look at 1968 and it was truly the year that shook that world. It was incumbent on us to get it right. I leaned on everyone. My production designer, our costumer, our DP. These are all brilliant individuals who brought the best of themselves to a very limited budget.
What do you think so far of governor Schwarzenegger?
Lindsay Lohan: I'm gonna plead the 5th.
Laurence Fishburne: I'm voting.
Elijah Wood: Same.
Sharon Stone: I'm voting.
Helen Hunt: I already voted with my absentee ballot.
Sharon, you're very politically oriented do you separate that with your characters?
Sharon Stone: Politics should be a human interest story.
On such a big low budget film how much support did you get?
Emilio Estevez: When we needed more extras, when we needed more hair and makeup the producers stepped up. They allowed us to broaden the scope of the film. The Czechoslovakian character that Svetlana Metkina plays (Lenka Janacek) was not in the original script. She was sort of an invention. However it made sense that Bobby's reach, he was an international figure, was across the pond at that time. She doesn't get her 5 minutes at the end of the day but she's certainly passionate about it. I think this film shows the European aspect of this in how important Bobby was overseas.
How do you think this film touches on today?
Sharon Stone: I think we've come to a time where character comes from standing through a difficult time. And so often now people just turn their back and walk away when someone fails or changes. That really good relationships... are the relationships that are built on acceptance and learning. You accept and learn when people fail.
Demi Moore: It's not always about getting it right. Sometimes it's a matter of getting it wrong so we have the ability to overcome. I think sometimes those are the better opportunities. When it all works well we actually give less thought to it. We put less energy into it. Sometimes when it doesn't we really have an enormous opportunity for growth, and I think in the film part of the connection that all of the characters share is that, wherever their lives are at... underneath, everyone of our characters... is a soul.
Emilio Estevez: The life and the breath of the female characters, in this film, I can't take sole credit for that. This is the voice of my mother. It is present in all three of the performances in this film.
What about the roles of women in this film?
Helen Hunt: One thing I noticed watching it was my character is very... you can't describe her in a sentence or two. I feel like my work was sort of improved by the scene that Demi and Sharon had. The things Demi says about a woman not being valued, that somehow effected my performance, even though I was nowhere near them at the time. I think good writing is good writing and then when something bigger kind of comes through the writing, that's exciting. I feel like that happened with Emilio in this movie.
How did this film change over time from your first work in progress cut?
Emilio Estevez: When you work with Harvey Weinstein it's always a work in progress. That's the agreement going in. The first cut of this film was 3 hours and 10 minutes. I don't think any of you would have sat through it. It was extraordinary; it was also daunting. We'd been in the cutting room through January 16th, we just left the cutting room. The original instinct was to use songs like "White Rabbit" and then some feedback came back to us where they said, "This is a little obvious."
What has been the Kennedy's reaction to the film?
Emilio Estevez: Carrie Kennedy is the only member of Bobby's family that I know has seen some of the footage because I showed it to her. She was very moved. Of course, could not and would not watch the ending of the film. Ethel and Carrie have issued a statement that they support the film. They are encouraged by this idea that a new generation is going to hear the words of Bobby Kennedy.
Elijah, was it Emilio or was it Bobby Kennedy that made you want to do this film?
Elijah Wood: It was a little bit of both. Initially, it was Bobby's words and Bobby's influence that made me want to be a part of it, but it was ultimately meeting Emilio, sitting down and talking with him for two hours about the movie that he wanted to make and his passion for it. He'd already been on a couple of year journey to get this thing to the screen that really made me want to be a part of it.
Lindsay Lohan: It was also nice for me to have an opportunity to put a message and awareness of what's going on through my character. I brought my sister to the set, she didn't know who Bobby Kennedy was, and she learned so much from being there.
Laurence, could you talk about being involved in this movie?
Laurence Fishburne: Well, Emilio called me in 2001, post 9/11, I was doing the Matrix thing. He called me and said he was working on the piece and he mentioned Charles... as being his Godfather. A man who went to school with Martin. So I was like, "Yeah." I finished doing a picture in Mexico and I'd come home to a phone call from Martin. He said, "Emilio's doing this picture, can you come?" I got the script the next day, read it, fell in love with the whole idea of what happens between Edward (Fishburne) and Jose (Freddy Rodriguez). I said I would. Then I got on the motorcycle and road out to work and played the scene the next day.
It was simply a matter of getting out of the way and allowing the character to come to the forefront. We tried to create a little hostility with the Jacob Vargas character, we tried playing the Dozens kind of thing, just to kind of heat it up. It was really in the text. The real beauty is I didn't know anything about the other people, who were shot in the pantry that day. Jose's character being based on a busboy who was holding Mr. Kennedy's hand and had a rosary in his hand saying, "Go on Mr. Kennedy, you can make it."
Bobby opens in theaters in New York and Los Angeles on November 17. It goes wider November 23. It is being release by MGM and the Weinstein Company.