Harrison Ford, Brendan Fraser Go to Extraordinary Measures
- Wednesday, January 20, 2010
"Ultimately, Dr. Stonehill is a composite of people who played different parts in the Crowleys' story. But for me, he's also a composite of things I've observed in my research. He represents aspects of a scientist and also aspects of an iconoclast," Ford explains. "And his relationship with John Crowley was an interesting one for me as an actor. Their relationship is sometimes contentious, not at all smooth, but there are also moments of co-joined purpose. It's a compelling dynamic."
Learning from the Crowleys
For Brendan Fraser, a father of three boys ages 7, 5 and 3, having the opportunity to portray a brave father like John Crowley was a "privilege."
"I felt a gravitational pull to the material, so there was an element of acting that wasn't really necessary," Fraser says. "The kids I worked with in the movie—Meredith Droeger as Megan and Diego Valazquez as Patrick—were wonderful. And I can't say enough about the real Megan and Patrick either. Early on when I couldn't get release date information from the studio for whatever reason, I got an e-mail from Megan that said ‘Dear Movie Dad: Guess what? There is a website out, and the movie is opening on January 22, 2010. Love, Megan the Awesome.' It was so funny that I found out when the movie was opening from 12-year-old Megan Crowley."
To get to know his new onscreen kids, Fraser, along with his onscreen wife Russell, remembers a fun-filled day at a local bowling alley.
"I've worked with a lot of kids before in movies and have observed others working with them. And I notice there's a method that goes on where the adult actors are trying to get the kids to interact with them in a real way," Fraser says. "It's like the adult is trying to get the kid to fall in love with them, but it's usually the other way around. So our rehearsal with the kids consisted of being left at a bowling alley with the kids and a stack of singles. Keri and I got to play ‘Mom and Dad' to these kids, and we had a blast."
Aside from all the fun, Fraser wanted to make sure he gave John Crowley his all acting-wise.
"John Crowley is very much alive and exists. He's not an abstraction," Fraser says. "I wanted to know what drives him, how he seeks to have his family survive and succeed. I didn't want to be mocking or sentimental or insincere. John is easily one of the most principled individuals I've ever met. There's no way to measure the satisfaction and honor I felt to have the opportunity to embody the spirit of a man like this. To give you an idea of what kind of guy he is, for all the achievements he's had, he's the first one to see that Aileen is the one who deserves all the medals."
No Politics, Just Hope
Considering how volatile the issue of health care is in the political sphere these days, it probably would've been tempting for everyone involved with Extraordinary Measures to use the screenplay as a personal sounding board for their beliefs on the subject.
But Ford says it was important to him that the film didn't have an agenda—political or otherwise. "We were all against creating a polemic bully pulpit, to proclaim our point of view about these things," Ford shares. "More than anything, I think we wanted to present the reality of the situation—and let the audience decide for themselves. I think that's why we didn't take an easy swipe at the pharmaceutical industry. I think we portrayed it the way it really is. We wanted to concentrate on the kids, the relationships, the hope and not get into that level of detail with the rest of it."
Opening in theaters on Friday, January 22, 2010, Extraordinary Measures is rated PG for thematic material, language and a mild suggestive moment between the married Crowleys. Click here for more information.
Photos courtesy of CBS Films.
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