Three ordinary teenagers suddenly become powerful after a night in the woods upon close encounter with an unidentified underground phenomenon in “Chronicle.”
“Chronicle” is as real as it gets introducing the audience to Andrew (Dane Dehaan), Matt (Alex Russell) and Steve (Michael B. Jordan) – recognizable teens, each with a distinctive personality and each facing relatable challenges that come with being in high school, forming new friendships, and exploring new facets of their ever-changing lives. They’re imperfect, awkward, and a little reckless.
Their discovery leads them to acquire powerful telekinetic abilities; in graphic novel parlance, they have superpowers. They’re now capable of, well, almost anything. They can move objects just by thinking about them, crush cars through force of will. They learn to fly…the ultimate wish fulfillment. Then things get dark.
One of these teens could be you or could be amongst those close to us or our acquaintances. James DeHaan unleashes a powerful creeping performance as one of the lead stars in “Chronicle” and explains further his character, Andrew.
Q: Can you tell us about your character?
A: Andrew is a poor kid who comes from a rough family background. His mom is really sick and his dad is on disability from being a firefighter so for him, things are really tough. But his circumstances extend to other areas of his life as well. He is, by all means, a loser in school and not just a kid who goes under the radar, but the kind of kid that people really go out of their way to make fun of and bully. In that way he's a victim.
Q: Do you think he struggles with the responsibility of the power?
A: Yes, but it’s not a case of “How responsible am I going to be with this power?” I think he just really enjoys having power, messing around and finally having friends. It does, in the end, overtake him.
Q: Is it more fun to play a character that is conflicted?
A: It's always fun to play a complicated character, definitely. It's not always fun to go to dark places, but it's always fun to play a character who has such an extreme arc, who goes through so much. I don't think I've ever played a character like him.
Q: How was the dynamic with the other actors?
A: It's good. I always try to form some sort of relationship with the people I work with that mimics the relationship I have with them in the movie. I think we did a pretty good job of that. Michael, Alex and I have all become pretty close and friendly; we all have our inside jokes and we can poke fun at each other. We can hang out and have a good time. Doing that in our personal lives away from work has definitely had a positive influence on the movie.
Q: It's a strange mix of a big action movie with the sensibilities of a character piece.
A: Yes, I think the movie does an incredibly good job of taking the concept, somebody getting superpowers, and dealing with that in a very realistic way. If a group of teens in real life actually got superpowers they would mess around with it, see how much fun they could have with it and eventually it would probably all spin out of control because they've been given way too much power. I think the reality of it is what truly drew me in.
Q: What's it been like working with your director, Josh Trank, in his first film?
A: It was my first time working with a first time director. There is definitely an excitement and energy that goes along with that. I think that one of the cool things about the project is that we're all around the same age in real life. All of us are still beginning our careers in many ways. Even though all of the actors have done other movies and TV shows we still have a youthful, “go get 'em,” attitude. Josh matches that. In many ways he's much more of a peer than any other director. He's going through it for the first time, like us. There's definitely an excitement to that.
Q: There’s a really interesting shooting style to the film, with the characters filming all of the scenes – how has that been to work with?
A: It's great. It's another reason why the film is so inventive. It's found a way to do this kind of handheld stuff but used the reality of the circumstances to make it less dizzying and less gritty. It's really interesting how every camera movement in the movie is really motivated and grounded in reality, as much as the plot and the characters and all the other elements.
Intense till the end, “Chronicle” opens February 2 in theaters (108) nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.