What do co-stars Jennifer Aniston, Will Forte and John Hawkes all have in common? Each of them signed on to Daniel Schechter’s new film, Life of Crime, because the script, story and the people involved were undeniably enticing. Now, they’re just hoping audiences share the same level of enthusiasm for this period caper flick.
SheKnows got to sit down with the stars of Life of Crime, a new film by up-and-coming writer/director, Daniel Schechter (Supporting Characters). The film is an adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s 1978 novel, The Switch, which itself drew inspiration from O. Henry’s 1907 short story, The Ransom of Red Chief.
Considering the actor’s SNL roots, we asked Will Forte what drew him to this low-budget dark comedy about a pair of kidnappers who steal a corrupt millionaire’s wife for ransom money, only to find out that her husband has no intention of paying them.
“You want to do stuff that you really are going to be proud of and I’ve really — this will sound weird after you think back on some of the things that I have done in my career — but I’m really proud of everything that I have done,” explained Forte. “I was really excited to get to be a part of this, because all the actors, I respect so much. And the director has become a good friend of mine. He’s such a talented guy and also very fun to work with. He’s got this enthusiasm and I feel like you can feel that in the movie.”
Actor John Hawkes (Deadwood, Winter’s Bone) shared similar enthusiasm for the project, explaining that the film met his top three criteria.
“For me it’s always the same: It begins with trying to find a really good, well-written script. A really well-written role that I feel I can contribute to the story well with, and then really great people to tell the story, ” said Hawkes. “This had those three things in spades.”
Hawkes, who is an incredibly nuanced performer, plays one of the criminals who kidnap Aniston. We wondered how he was able to create such a multi-layered character who both frightens the audience and also gets them to secretly root for him.
“I liked Lewis a lot because there are layers to him,” said Hawkes. “For me, the process is always to try to ferret out what is the real truth of the human being I’m playing and then to try and cover that up in a lot of layers and just let little pieces of the truth peek through. I don’t want to play the ending.”
On top of working to develop the character’s layers, Hawkes admits that shooting the film on location afforded him more time to discuss scenes with the writer/director.
“If you’re shooting a film in Los Angeles, everyone goes to their homes each night and then comes back to the set,” said Hawkes. “This one, we’re all pretty much staying at the same hotel, so I took the opportunity — and Dan Schechter, the writer and director, was keen to do it — which was to just have dinner and talk about the next day’s work.”
The cast all seems to agree that working with Schechter was a big boon for the project. Even Aniston sang the young director’s praises.
“This was a no-brainer for me,” explained Aniston. “I love all of Elmore Leonard’s (films) — Get Shorty and Out of Sight and all those great movies. Then, when I met Dan Schechter, who wasn’t even alive in the ’70s and somehow captured a tone in this movie that I thought was just fantastic, he got me excited.”
The experience also afforded Aniston an opportunity to stretch herself as an actor.
“This was the first time I really was trying to play someone who was basically experiencing a situation that has actually never happened — I mean, to be kidnapped,” explained Aniston. “How do you find the truth in that?”
But she went on to share credit for her performance with her co-stars.
“You have so much to play off of when you’re working with actors like these guys. It’s a lot different than, say, doing a comedy for me,” said Aniston. “Comedy is just so much about who can make each other laugh. But this is really trying to share a human being’s experience. I really wanted to honor her journey.”
As talented a performer as Aniston is, one thing is for sure: She can’t release a movie without the internet going crazy for her supposed fitness secrets.
Sitting down with the always-gorgeous actress, it’s no wonder scores of readers want to know how they, too, can stay in such great shape. We couldn’t resist asking if there was any truth to just how many fitness secrets the media claims she has.
“I don’t have any secrets!” exclaimed Aniston. “There’s no fitness secrets. That’s just someone else getting a plug about something.”