HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY caught up with Susan Sarandon, 70, Naomi Watts, 48, and Elle Fanning, 19, at a special screening of 3 Generations in New York City, April 30. The powerhouse trio stars in the comedy-drama that could very well be the first feature film to depict gender transformation.
“I remember Naomi coming back [from filming] and she would be like, ‘Oh my god. We just did that scene and I had no idea that was going to come out [of Elle],'” Susan recalled from the emotional times on set.
“Elle blew us all away,” Naomi admitted before she recalled one of her most memorable scenes with Elle. “We were filming a scene in the forest and it was this moment where she felt like things just weren’t going to work out,” Naomi explained. “Her mom and dad are fighting over all kinds of things and she wasn’t going to be able to get the testosterone; It was suddenly becoming all about them and not him [Ray] and he just starts screaming and runs out onto the terrace, in the forest; Your voice just bellowed into the mountains,” Naomi said while she looked at Elle in awe. “I was just like [gasp!]. It was very very alarming and intense.” WOW!
Susan chimed in when she gushed, “Elle had the grown up part [in the film].” She went on to explain how Elle had “grounded” the entire experience. “She would go from this funny kid to this amazing force when the need be.” Amazing!
The film [originally titled, About Ray] was supposed to hit theaters in 2015, after it received rave reviews at the Toronto Film Festival that same year. However, the Weinstein Company pushed back its debut [for unknown reasons] just days before its intended release date.
Elle, who was just 16-years-old when she filmed 3 Generations, told us that she’s more than ready for the world to see the film! “I’m just so happy that it’s finally coming out and getting to be seen, because it’s an important story,” she gushed. “What a better time than right now [to tell this story].” Naomi agreed when she said that it’s “perfect timing.”
Elle plays a teen, Ray, who is transitioning from female to male. Ray lives with his single mother, Maggie [Naomi] and his lesbian grandmother, Dolly [Susan] in New York City. The film is about a “family in transition,” where Ray’s loved ones, including his estranged father, Craig [Tate Donovan, 53] try to support him. Ray’s attempt to pursue his true identity is an emotional rollercoaster.
The cast is a female triple threat of actresses — Susan, Naomi and Elle — so how could it possibly come under fire, right? Well, it already has. Many people have criticized the casting of Elle as Ray since she is cisgender. However, the cast and the film’s director, Gaby Dellal, 56, believe that the film will create positive dialogue around the topics of gender equality and acceptance.
“I think if it gives people a chance to empathize and identify with someone that they haven’t had an opportunity to empathize or identity with, then that’s a huge step forward,” Susan admitted about what she wants people to gain from 3 Generations. “Once you can imagine a situation that you’re not used to being in, then you can be more tolerant and you can be more understanding. I don’t think that films that have the answer are necessarily always entertaining. [It’s] films that pose a question and get people conversing and having a dialogue [that] are really positive.”
3 Generations hits theaters in New York and Los Angeles on May 5 with an extended release on May 12.
HollywoodLifers, do you plan on seeing 3 Generations?