Saturday, September 13, 2014

Simon Pegg and the Search for Happiness


Finally! Hector lands in theaters September 19th. I've been waiting for this one so Justin Chang's review in Variety - he calls it a 'ghastly feel-good travelogue' isn't making me happy. 

To quote the critic:
Trite, flat-footed, culturally insensitive, and sagging under the weight of more than 25 credited producers, Peter Chelsom’s film will need every ounce of charm and cachet it can wring from star Simon Pegg to achieve box office traction.
OUCH, OUCH, OUCH! 

I so hope he's wrong!

On a brighter note, Parade, that bastion of cinematic criticism Parade (Ha!) is doing some sort of Twitter chat with star Simon Pegg on September 16th and in preparation for that they sat down and had an old-fashioned chat with the actor. I believe in the olden days this is what's called an interview? Am I the only one who finds Twitter chats with their 140 character restraints and disjointed comments and responses a drag? Anyway, here's a sample, complete with not-ready-for Twitter answers from Pegg. 

What is the one main thing you hope people will take away from this movie?
“When I showed it to my friends…they, without fail, have come to me the next day and said, ‘I’m still thinking about it.’ And for me, that’s the most important thing that any film can do, is slightly alter your perspective or leave you reevaluating things you thought you understood. Too often these days, you’ll go see a film and it will thrill you for 90 minutes and then the next day, you won’t remember what you did the day before.

“And I’m not saying there isn’t a place for frivolous entertainment because there is, and I’ve been in films that are just pure entertainment. But the truly really valuable thing that any art can do is make you think, and I think this film kind of has that. It leaves people thinking, ‘Well, what makes me happy, and how can I be happy?’ And, you know, ‘Why am I not happy?’”



Did you reflect on that personally while you were filming?
“The filming process was actually really interesting because there’s a parallel journey there…which is our journey in making the film. We really did go to all those places in the movie and had a sort of adventure of our own. And for me it was a real experience and I learned a lot and I mostly confirmed what I suspected, which is one of the messages of the film: You can’t just expect to be happy all the time; you need to know what happiness isn’t as much as you need to know what it is…Seeing people living in abject poverty and having the incredibly difficult lives, but nevertheless still smiling and still finding joy in everything—you know, that was incredible because you got the sense that when they smiled, they smiled because they were genuinely happy…And yet in affluent areas around the world I’ve been in, you see people looking far less happy. Maybe because life’s all a bit one note, you know. Maybe you need a bit of hardship to enjoy the times when things are easy.” 

Do you think our definition of happiness changes as we get older?
“The whole idea of getting married and having children when you’re 20 is now sort of a little bit archaic, so we’ve all been having fun instead of settling down, and we have sort of this 20-year extension to our childhood, where people are starting to do that in their early 40s or late 30s. And what that’s meant is, there’s this big void we have to fill, and the only thing we can fill it with is childish things… like video games and films about things we liked when we were kids.

“There’s a huge industry that’s been developed, trying to sell people happiness. People are wondering what the hell they’re doing with their lives, and what they’re supposed to do, and what they’re here for. And to paper over those cracks, we’re constantly told to eat this and buy this and watch this and wear this…and none of it really is a route to happiness. It’s a route to something equivalent to being drunk. It’s a temporary fix, a temporary euphoria.”


“Something that I’ve discovered—I’m going to sound like a really evangelical parent now—but since I’ve had a kid, I kind of realized what makes me happy because I totally understand why I’m on this earth. It’s like, oh, I get it. I’m here to do that. I don’t have to scrabble around for it anymore. You know, to make this little thing, and look after it, and make sure she grows up so she can do the same. It’s very simplistic but for me that’s been the key.”

Read the rest of the story here. And watch the trailer here. I'm planning on seeing Hector and the Search for Happiness anyway. You?


Hector and the Search for Happiness based on the book by Francois Lelord stars Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Toni Gillette, Jean Reno, Stellan Skarsgard and Christopher Plummer.
Peter Chelsom directed and co-wrote the screenplay with Tinker Lindsay and Maria Von Helland. The film comes out in the US on September 19th, while a 9 minute longer version has been playing in the U.K. since it opened last month on August 15th. I wonder what they're seeing that those of us in the USA aren't??

6 comments:

  1. As usual, I'm conflicted about this film. I've no doubt that I will go see it and maybe even like it, but "Trite...culturally insensitive" were EXACTLY my fears about this. The trailer totally lacks a French sensibility, and that's what made the book so charming. It's a fable for adults a la The Little Prince.

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    1. Have you written a review for Lelord's The Search for Happiness? I'd love to hear what you thought of the book in more detail AND hear what you have to say about the film in that context. Are you game? Let's link up:)

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    2. hiya! I wouldn't mind doing something like that, but I never wrote a full book review of Hector, and I generally don't go see movies on a timely basis. So if you would be willing to have me do it, say, six months from now, I'd be happy to. But your blog is always so up to the minute with films stuff that my timeline might not work out for you. I'd also be happy to do it in the future for another movie whose book antecedent I've already read and reviewed.

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    3. That sounds like a plan! Maybe post for the DVD/BluRay release? Did you know the rights to one of your favorite books, Where'd You Go Bernadette? were bought a year or so back? The same writers who gave us the adaptations for The Fault in Our Stars and The Spectacular Now are signed on to script it. BUT they're a bit busy right now, writing the screenplay for John Green's Paper Towns. The old when it rains, it pours, right? I know you've written a terrific review for Semple's book so that could be a good one for you to do at some point.

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    4. I think I probably read right here on your blog about the Bernadette film, so that might be a good one to shoot for.

      Keep in touch if any other book/film pairings come to mind!

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