eco-terrorist's deep-rooted personal troubles are at the heart of Jesse
Eisenberg's latest film, "Night Moves," but don't go digging for any
clues to the origins of his torment.
Eisenberg said they simply
aren't in the script, nor do they need to be, since his tightly wound
character has little insight into his own psychology anyway.
Social Network" star plays the taciturn Josh, an environmental activist
whose pent-up emotions are intrinsically tied into a plot to blow up a
"He's a dark character, I guess, in that he's somebody who
doesn't feel comfortable expressing himself to anybody else," Eisenberg
said during a stop at the Toronto International Film Festival last
"He buries all of his rage and sadness and anger and
pain about the world. I think this is probably somebody who comes from a
suburban town on the East Coast and became increasingly frustrated with
suburban sprawl, environmental degradation from corporate interests and
then becomes radicalized. And then, over the course of the movie,
increasingly very violent."
Dakota Fanning co-stars as
partner-in-crime Dena, a fierce young activist who bankrolls the
operation. Peter Sarsgaard's Harmon rounds out the rebellious trio.
she admitted to being far from possessing Dena's militant streak,
Fanning said she can understand what it's like to be young and indignant
while feeling invincible.
"She thinks that she's going to do
something big and bold and speak out against her peer group who she
feels is entitled and self-centred and selfish and doesn't see the
bigger picture," Fanning said of her character during the same round of
"I can relate to that and get why she feels that way.
But I can also see another side. But it's difficult when you are playing
a character. It's really important not to judge them."
Oregon-set drama screened last September in Toronto on the heels of
winning the grand prize at the Deauville American Film Festival in
Director Kelly Reichardt said she'd been keen to return to
Oregon after shooting her acclaimed period drama "Meek's Cutoff" there,
and sought locations through a combination of scouting and camping she
Much of the action takes place on an organic
farm where Josh works, and Reichardt said she was fascinated with
exploring the nuts-and-bolts of farming.
That's in addition to
justice issues surrounding environmental radicals and the explosive
relationships that can emerge between people.
"We were interested
in people as individuals versus people in a group dynamic and how that
shifts," said Reichardt, who splits her time between Oregon and New
York, where she teaches at Bard College.
"How people are when they're by themselves, a character like Josh ... versus how is he when he interacts in a group."
said Josh "thinks of himself as a soldier in a war," but has little
capacity for introspection, calling him "an enigma to himself." He
admitted to having a propensity to deeply analyse his characters, no
matter what's on the page.
"My dad's PhD is in social psychology.
My degree is anthropology. I always think of things in terms of, like,
people's individual psychology having some kind of effect in a mass way.
For example, within a group or within a society," said the
Oscar-nominated actor, who also writes and stages plays in New York.
know — somebody becomes president because they have a need for power
and somebody becomes a criminal because they are rebelling against a
father who never gave them attention. Everybody's dealing with their own
personal things. It becomes very dangerous when you inflict that kind
of personal vendetta against people that have nothing to do with it."
Moves" opens Friday in Vancouver and in Toronto at TIFF Bell Lightbox,
then will continue to other cities through August and September.
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