Interview with Naomi Watts at the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Sunlight Jr.
The new movie of American indie director Laurie Collyer premiered last night at Tribeca Film Fest 2013. Sunlight Jr. tells the love story between Melissa Winters (Naomi Watts) – a cashier in the local convenience store, and her boyfriend Richie (Matt Dillon) – a former television repairman living month-to-month on his government disability cheques and spending most of them in the local tavern. The two of them are poor but very much in love, living in a seedy motel in sunny Florida. However, when they find that Melissa is pregnant, her abusive boyfriend starts sniffing around, her job is threatened and the couple faces eviction. Their happy life starts crashing down… The film also stars Norman Reedus, best known for AMC’s TV series Walking Dead and Tess Harper.
Naomi, in Sunlight Jr you’re playing Melissa, a poor girl living in Florida. How important is money in your life and how important do you think it is for happiness?
You can see that there are some very happy people, particularly outside the western world, that can maintain a sense of happiness without money, so hopefully they’re not to be confused. But what I like in this character is that – yes, times were tough, but she still manages to have a sense of sweetness to her and they’re both survivors. It just felt very real to me, particularly in current times. It’s not the American dream that they’re living, but it’s one that is very well known to a lot of people in this country.
So do you believe in the American dream yourself?
Well, I’m here (laughing). It’s too simplistic to answer that question like that – I have dreams and I’m inspired by a lot of things that go on in this country.
What was it like to work with Matt Dillon?
He’s great – he’s a terrific actor, someone I grew up watching, so I was very familiar with his work. He’s a very disciplined professional, very committed yet able to have fun as well, making a lot of jokes…
You said he’s a very disciplined actor did he give you any kind of tips?
This was a very low budget film and I didn’t have a dialect coach all the time, she was there just for some of it, so I would always ask him “does it sound right?” because I’ve never done a southern accent before. I was a little nervous about it and it took a lot of work but I like to do different things.
What was most challenging about the shoot?
The ending. Endings are always hard.
Also present at the premiere were Norman Reedus, Matt Dillon and special guest Jodie Foster.
Photo: Ken Arcara