Celebrity Interview: Kim Basinger and Anders Morgenthaler Talk On The Journey Making The 11th Hour

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Kim Basinger is a chameleon; in addition to an established talent, an Oscar Winner, she is spontaneous, and still after her Hollywood journey has an honest quality that allows her to throw back her head and laugh with abandon.

Sitting with Kim and Anders Morgenthaler, director of the faith thriller, The 11th Hour, in The London Hotel, in West Hollywood, she of course, is very comfortable and welcoming.

Today we are talking about her tour de force performance as Maria, the barren wife, driven by faith that she will have a child. She is impressive, a bit psycho, disheveled and committed. Her passion is stunning and her execution flawless.

An Oscar winner for her role as the sultry, sensuous Lynn Bracken in the 1950's crime drama L.A. Confidential, her off screen life has been the fodder for Hollywood gossip machine. She is soft spoken, at times, and allows herself to be fully present in the interview.

She is authentic and genuine. A strong jaw line truly sets off her beauty. She is setting on the sofa wearing black; a silk blouse and A-line skirt. When she speaks, depending on the moment, her southern accent moves freely from light to very pronounced.

However, when she remembers a moment that causes her to laugh, she does with a fullness that fills the room. Her accent becomes very strong and it's like an Ah ha! moment. She's genuine, fun, gifted, and warm.

Below is a transcript of our interview.

Janet Walker: Tell me your first reaction when you got the script?

Kim Basinger: I was totally drawn to it. Totally drawn to it. And then I immediately sort of connected with it and then I got to know Anders and I got my hands on Princess, he sent me Princess and Echo and I knew he was really a gifted director. But then I really started doing my homework about all of his talents and all of his ways, children books, the animation, the comic strips and all these eclectic talents.

And I was drawn to him and I knew this material needed something, I kept watching Princess because it had such brilliant beautiful childlike imagery and we needed to get up under this piece.

I knew and I had no idea what this journey was going to be but I do believe this: I believe this film was meant to be made. I think there is energy all the time looking for matching energy, I do. And I think the he and I, being thousands of miles apart, were just two of the lucky ones that found each other. This is a rare experience, it really is. It's rare.

Anders Morgenthaler: The movie is written for Kim. I wrote the movie with her in the back of my head. Being a Scandinavian director, not having access to Hollywood just right away. I wrote it with her in mind. And then with super chance, and this is what the energy that Kim is talking about, I gave it to some freak in Cannes, and this freak turned out to be  . .  

KB: Turned out to be a friend . .

AM: No, I just talked to Oren, he wasn't even a friend. He was Kim's manager and Oren said you can send me the script. This man turns up with a big hat and gives this script to her and Oren's like 'yea sure' and he gives it to Kim and immediately two weeks after we gave it to Kim Oren called and said 'she's on.' It was fantastic for me to be writing this for Kim and then. . .

KB: It's a rare one how this got made.

A Faith Thriller

JW: I saw many elements and I'm not sure that you had in mind and yet you may have, especially as the character seems to be driven innately by this still small voice, in the beginning a child's voice, an unborn child's that really there is no chance of having and she is driven by this character even until the very end of the film and that's obviously not a psychological thriller, to me, but that's almost a faith based thriller.

KB: Yes. Very much. Very much so.

AM: It is a faith thriller.

KB: Her convictions were so strong. That the truth wins anyway. It always does. It will draw that one. The truth wants to be found out. So if you are chosen to do that on some level, with the truth, you'll find it. You won't know your journey. I'm taking the audience on a journey and just like she is on a journey.

She goes down the Rabbit Hole and she gets into these dark places, and she is made into grape juice, and in these dire, horrible, deep, and you think she's not going to make it out and death, she would welcome death if she doesn't reach this because that's how strong it is when the truth's looking for you.

And all of a sudden she's went down in this dark hole and she looks up and she sees through the tunnel and there is a tiny light and that's that voice, the voice that is so strong and finally she reaches the truth at the end of the movie. 

JW: Yes. It was amazing.

Shooting the Heavy Scenes

JW: Tell me a little bit about the shoot. As much as you want. There is trauma after trauma on this particular character, the miscarriage scene in the beginning, the PTS involved with that, the husband leaving . .

AM: You can keep adding on to that.

KB: (Laughing). . . You can keep going on to the end of the movie, okay.

KB: Funny thing we were just talking we had did an interview with someone on the radio the funny thing about this type of movie, not this type, this movie, it was done for nothing. We were closer, we were more like a family than I've ever been involved in, we were joined at the hip . . . what were we talking about?

AM: We laughed.

KB: We laughed it was so hard to do the scenes, we would be laughing between the scenes. It was so tough to do it. We had to break it up between scenes. I would be laughing with Jordan, with him, with Sturla, the DP, they were in my aura and in my space.

AM: We had to be super creative to solve things. It made up incredibly free and we had to throw away normal and standard.

KB: What do don't have you make.

AM: Kim is carrying this movie. She is like the bone of the movie. If you watch it with your emotions you'll get a great experience. If you watch with irrationality that it will fall apart for you.

Working with Jordan Prentice

JW: Let's talk about working with Jordan Prentice.

KB: Yes. I think Jordan, and I've worked with many actors in my lifetime and I think he is a lovely actor and he's willing to go places, I've seldom seen. And I think He's a marvelous improvisational actor and not many actors would love to do or can do it.

AM: Yes. He's really strong improvisation wise and he used a lot of himself and poured himself. He was really courageous.

KB: Really strong, He was marvelous, so courageous.

JW: There was so much meat for everyone in the film – He was a junkie, so much meat for everyone.

Challenges and Memorable Moments

JW: So what challenged you most about making the film?

KB: I think the whole thing was a challenge. All of it was a challenge but I like that. I won't do anything I don't fear, I won't do anything I can gain much tremendously and I'm very open to the unknown. I like that so much.

AM: Can I say, what I see from the outside that you were really good at. Coming from a traditional American system and showing up at this camping set what was the biggest challenge and did so courageously was to just jump into it and go with it In the middle of Hamburg, with one stick camera, and a trailer. I think Kim has shown a tremendous courage and she trusted me. And gaining that trust is the only way you can do art.

JW: So if you had a memorable moment in the process what would it be?

AM: Last day! No. (laughter)

KB: For me it would be when you called your meetings in the morning and I would be in there doing my makeup and I would hear you rant and ramble (breaks up in laughter).

AM: Oh yes, I forgot that.

KB: You would use some really colorful language, I'll tell you that much.

AM: Every morning I started with a speech to the team. And it was really colorful language. One was a really, really strong word, somebody was that strong word every day.

KB: There are so many examples I can give you – Anders would be saying to Sturla or me, 'More dreamy, More dreamy.' I was saying to Sturla, let's give him more dreamy. Just the way they shot it in and out of focus. I thought more dreamier.

AM: Dreamy was a state of mind, when Kim was acting, she had to get in the dreamy state of being in a bubble and the camera had to catch that and the focus couldn't break that moment but go in and out of the state of dreaminess means that the focus helps the performance so the whole thing comes together that is the dreamy state.

JW: It was really a wonderful film

JW: Thanks so much.

AM: Thank you for coming and for watching it.

KB: Thank you. It was a pleasure meeting you.

JW: It was my pleasure.

The 11th Hour, a faith based thriller, captures from the opening scenes. Riveting, attention grabbing a nail biter to the very end.

With twists and turns, stunning heartbreak, performances that are captivating, layered plots, and suspenseful to the last scenes, The 11th Hour is a must see!

The 11th Hour opens June 12, 2015. 

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