Outside on Doheny Drive, marathon runners continue to huff and puff through the rain which fluctuates between drizzles and torrents. The boulevards of L.A. tend to be desolate gauntlets during storms like this one, but factoring in the city’s annual marathon and subsequent street closures, you can imagine the nightmarish drive one must endure to commute across town.
Luckily for me, today’s road conditions didn’t delay my meeting with the cast of Trust, a domestic drama directed by Friends alum David Schwimmer and starring Owen, Catherine Keener, Viola Davis, and newcomer Liana Liberato.
The film focuses on the Cameron family, particularly Annie (Liberato), a 14-year-old girl who starts an online relationship with a 16-year-old boy named Charlie. Their chats and texts grow more intense as does with Annie’s feelings for this unseen friend. Finally, when Annie decides to meet Charlie in person, she discovers that he isn’t who he claims to be and quickly becomes the vulnerable prey for an online predator who affects not only Annie’s life but the rest of her family as well.
"I think it's hugely topical and it's a subject everyone should be thinking about and looking at," says Owen. "The way our children use the internet, relate on the internet...the whole thing has moved so quickly. My kids know more about how to use their computers than I do, and the things that they can do on their computers are way beyond what i can do."
The subject matter is close to Schwimmer's heart; he's on the Board of Directors of the Rape Foundation in Santa Monica, supporting their work and participating in fundraisers for the organization. After hearing one father's story about his dealing with his daughter's involvement with an internet predator, the director was affected by the emotional account: "I realized then that I had found an unusual path into dramatizing this delicate and difficult subject matter in a way that everyone can relate to."
For the young Liberato playing such an emotionally intense role was a challenge she welcomed with open arms. "It was really tough material," she says, "but I personally believe that the director sets the atmosphere for the whole cast and crew, and we kind of feed off that. Any time the camera wasn't rolling we were having a good time and laughing. We were all one big family on set. There was really no big tension."
Playing the mother of Annie, Catherine Keener learned a few things about today's ever-evolving, status-updating generation. "I realized that kids aren't stranger phobic as much, or at all anymore," she observes. "They talk to them all the time now, and my kid is now my tech support at 11 [years old]...It's frightening."
For more on the film, check out Change.org.
Trust opens in theaters tomorrow, April 1.
- Hiko Mitsuzuka