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Monday, September 19, 2016

IFP Film Week: Rebecca Hall On Portraying the Complex, Eccentric, and Tragic CHRISTINE

In less than one month audiences nationwide will be able to immerse themselves in the big screen dramatization of a Florida news anchor's startling true life story that culminated in her taking her own life in the middle of a live broadcast. But, as its star Rebecca Hall is quick note, CHRISTINE (previewed last week on the site) isn't about her jaw-dropping death. "It's a film that shows how you can celebrate a life without glorifying its ending."

Hall discussed working on the film with director Antonio Campos as part of the IFP Film Week conversation series in Brooklyn this past weekend, moderated by Scott Macaulay of Filmmaker Magazine. It was an engrossing dialogue that highlighted the film's depiction of 1970s feminism in the workplace and depression, while also examining Hall and Campos's artistic process to create the character of Christine Chubbuck with very little information about her to go by.

Rebecca Hall on getting into character:

"I only had about 15 minutes of video of Christine to get an understanding of her." While the actual video of Chubbuck's death remains MIA now, Hall said she watched footage of Chubbuck doing one of her typical human interest interviews, which she described as "very dull." She credits screenwriter Craig Shilowich, who interviewed some of Chubbuck's coworkers and friends, as helping her round out the character.

On what compelled her to take the role:

Hall had never heard of Chubbuck's story before, but upon reading Shilowich's script, she asked herself, "Why am I so disturbed by this? I knew that it felt important. It made me think about what it must have been like to be this person. It's so rare that as an actress that you get such a feminine film. A woman who is unlikable."

On the role feminism plays in Chubbuck's story in the film:

"She isn't sexually viable and she doesn't get saved by a man." Hall said.

On understanding Chubbuck's character:

"Christine is a unique and eccentric individual. She was constantly performing for those around her and checking in with those watching to see if what she was doing was ok," Hall said.

On the effect Chubbuck's story had on the film's talent:

"For better or worse, the act was a public tragedy," Hall said. Campos added, "By the end [of the film], you just feel devastated." Hall also said that Shilowich, who combated his past depression by throwing himself into his work, was fascinated by how it was Chubuck's work that served as a catalyst.

CHRISTINE hits theaters October 14.

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