Venice 2022, Hugh Jackman in the name of his son

After the acclaimed ‘The Father’, Florian Zeller debuts in competition in Venice with ‘The Son’, a drama that follows a family struggling to get back together after breaking up

(Adnkronos / – “In The Father the scene was the story, to bring the viewer to a specific place, the character’s brain, it was a very subjective experience. Here the question is much more linear, direct, it was necessary to go straight to the subject, face it, tell the story from the various points of view, that of the father, the mother, the people who surround this teenager: try to get inside his head but become I realize that it is impossible to do so “. After the acclaimed ‘The Father’, Florian Zeller makes his debut in competition in Venice with ‘The Son’, another film based on one of his plays, a drama that follows a family struggling to get back together after breaking up.

‘The Son’ centers on Peter (Hugh Jackman), whose hectic life with his newborn son and new partner Beth (Vanessa Kirby) is turned upside down when ex-wife Kate (Laura Dern) reappears with son Nicholas (Zen McGrath), now a teenager.

The young man has been missing from school for months and is tormented, distant and angry. Peter struggles to take care of Nicholas as he wished his father (Anthony Hopkins) had looked after him, as he juggles between work, Beth’s new son and offering him his dream location in Washington . However, in trying to make up for the mistakes of the past, he loses sight of how to hold on to Nicholas in the present.

“After seeing The Father and reading the script for The Son I really wanted this role, I had a feeling of fire reading the script and at the same time the feeling that this part was right for me at this moment in my life,” says Hugh. Jackman, who did not take much to convince the director.

“I was very touched by Hugh’s humility and honesty: we met on Zoom and after eight minutes I offered him the part because I felt he had a very strong connection to the story, that he wanted to explore the role in depth. . From that moment on it was a very intense experience ”, reveals Zeller, who adds on the genesis of the film:“ I have wanted to make it for several years. I was so determined to tell this story that I couldn’t tell any other one, nor from a different point of view. It is partly inspired by emotions that I know personally. I wanted to share them with the public because I know that many people are confronted with mental disorders and that the shame and stigma associated with these problems can hinder necessary and sometimes vital conversations. “

One thing that needs to be talked about, adds Hugh Jackman, who explains: “Love isn’t always enough to save someone. All the characters in this film love a lot but feel incapable, but realizing it is important because it is a path that leads to vulnerability, to the possibility of understanding the position of others. As parents they have always taught us to be strong, independent, able to deal with anything related to our films and instead I have learned to share my vulnerabilities with my boys, aged 17 and 22 ”.

Purchased for Italy by 01 distribution, which will soon bring it to Italian cinemas, The Son “represents what I always try to find in cinema”, says Vanessa Kirby, who explains: “The best cinema is the one that asks us questions that rarely they find an answer, Florian Zeller’s films try to explore the maze of questions that sometimes we believe are only ours and instead we realize that they are questions that unite us ”.

Why is Nicholas so sick? What triggered this evil of living? Could the parents’ divorce a couple of years earlier be the reason? “The son talks about the divorce, he wants to blame someone, which is quite common when it comes to mental health. I didn’t want to explain the origin of all this, because there is not necessarily a specific origin, capturing that mystery was the challenge of the film “, says the director, thanked by Laura Dern” for the way this story is been made. We came out of the pandemic, we know that it has triggered crises related to mental health, one of the most important parts of the journey is that when we feel alone, helpless, we can turn to people who have already had to face these things “.