I recently interviewed the cast of Tomorrowland. The movie is going to be in theaters on May 22. Tomorrowland movie is based on a shared destiny of former boy-genius Frank (Clooney), jaded by disillusionment, and Casey (Britt Robertson), a bright, optimistic teen bursting with scientific curiosity. They embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space known only as “Tomorrowland.” What they must do there changes the world—and them— forever.
We interviewed George Clooney (“Frank Walker”), Britt Robertson (“Casey Newton”), Tim McGraw (“Ed Newton”), Raffey Cassidy (“Athena”), Brad Bird (Director / Producer / Writer), Damon Lindelof (Producer / Writer) and Jeff Jensen (Story By).
Interview With Tomorrowland Cast
1. Question: My understanding is that this film really originates from a series of discussions you had with the people at Disney. What were those discussion? How did this film come about and how did television critic from Entertainment Weekly, Mr. Jeff Jensen, became involved in the film?
Damon Lindelof: I was having a meeting with Sean Bailey, who is the president of production at Disney and we were talking about the Marvel movies, of which we’re both fans. He said they had a number of fantasy princess movies in the pipeline at Disney, but wondered what else a Disney movie should be. I said to him, “I don’t know what it’s about, but I would see a movie called Tomorrowland.” And that was the beginning of this whole adventure. I’ve always been really interested in the future and I kind of feel like all the movies that I’ve been exposed to over the course of the last 20-30 years have shown me a future that I don’t really want to be living in. it’s cool to watch, but teenagers trying to kill other teenagers, or robots eradicating mankind, or you know, apocalyptic wastelands, albeit populated by Charlize Theron, are all great.
2. Question: Jeff what was your response when Damon called and said he wanted you to join this project?
Jeff Jensen: It was definitely a little crazy and humbling too. It was a lot of fun to work with someone whose storytelling you really admire, and to get in a room with them. The idea that he pitched to me was just really engaging. We groove on the same stuff, but the whole idea of a movie that kind of riffed on and looked at the different ways that we looked at the future then and now, to research the history of futurism and science fiction, and let that inform a story, that was super-fun, and to really build out the story. But also thought I knew a lot about how movies are made and TV shows are made. And this was a real learning experience in how much I didn’t know.
3. Question: Tim, it’s a different role for you, compared to some of the other dads that you’ve played. I’m thinking specifically of Friday Night Lights. You’re much more nurturing and supportive here, which is great. You, yourself, have three daughters. It must have felt oddly comfortable to play this part.
Tim McGraw: That was much more true to life. I was thinking of the scene where we were shooting in the car, Britt and I had a long conversation in the car. We were talking about life and talking about guys. It was pretty reminiscent of some of the conversations that I’ve had with my daughters. In fact, I had to be upset in that scene and I had just been upset with my daughter.
4. Question: Britt and Raffey: The dynamics between the two of you in the film are definitely not what you’d expect. The person who looks younger might not be. How would you two describe the relationship between the two characters?
Britt Robertson: Raffey played Mom a lot, especially with George and I, you know? She was constantly just trying to keep us focused and funny enough, that’s how she is in life too. She’s so professional and so focused herself, you know. I oftentimes would look over and be like, “Yeah, okay, right, this is what we’re doing. This is what we’re doing.” But we had such fun together. We spent a lot of time together, just between stunt training and then obviously filming the movie. So I think our dynamic off-screen probably helped a lot of our chemistry on-screen as well.
Raffey Cassidy: The relationship between Casey and Athena is quite friendly, because Athena just wants to get Casey and Frank together, to try and save the world.
5. Question: George, at the heart of this movie is a really big idea, which I think is powerful. You’ve made a lot of bold films in your career, particularly the more political ones. But I think this one is right up there, as far as being quite bold. Do you see it that way?
George Clooney: Putting me in a summer movie is a very bold thought.
George Clooney: First and foremost, I think it is a really bold thing for Disney to be willing to do a film that isn’t a sequel and isn’t a comic book, to really invest in a summer film of this sort of ilk. The fun part of it, to me, was when you read the screenplay, although I have to say, just so we’re clear, when Damon and Brad showed up at my house, they said, “We’ve got a part that we’ve written for you.” And then I opened up the description of the character and it’s a 55-year-old has-been, and I’m kind of going, “Hang on a minute, which part am I reading for?”
Jeff Jensen: It said genius, by the way. It said genius.
George Clooney: It said former genius, boy genius, who has gotten bitter in his old age. I just loved the idea of, you know, we live in a world right now where you turn on your television set and it’s rough out there. And it’s not fun. And it can really wear on you after a period of time. And we see generations now feeling as if it’s sort of hopeless, in a way, and what I love about it is it sort of speaks to the idea that your future is not preordained and predestined, and that if you’re involved, a single voice can make a difference and I believe in that. I happen to believe in it, and so I loved the theme or the idea that, you know, there’s still so much that we can all do to make things better. And I liked it. I thought it was great.
6. Question: George Clooney. It picks up somewhat on what you were just talking about. First of all, this is the summer movie with a serious subtext, and you get to be the grumpy cynic, which I feel I am too. Growing up in the Cold War, that’s who we are. And yet at the same time, you’re searching for hope, and I’m curious if that arc reflects the struggle that you personally have, and whether you relate to that in this particular context of this movie.
George Clooney: I grew up during the Cold War period and I always found that although we always thought that the world would end in a nuclear holocaust at some point, everybody was pretty hopeful. There were an awful lot of things going on that you felt you could change. I grew up in an era where the voice, the power of the one, really did feel as if it mattered. We had the riots that are reminiscent of the things we are looking at today, but we had the Civil Rights Movement and we had Vietnam. We had the Women’s Rights Movements and all those things that you felt you could actually have some part of changing and actually, if you look at the things that changed in the 1960s and early 1970s, individual voices did make a huge difference. It wasn’t governments doing it, necessarily.
I didn’t ever have that great disappointment in mankind. I always felt like it was going to work out in the end and I still feel that way. What I loved about the film was that it reminds you that young people don’t wake up, they’re not born and start out their lives cynical, or angry, or bigoted. You have to be taught all of those things. I watch the world now and think I see really good signs from young people out there and I feel as if the world will get better. I’ve always been an optimist. I’ve been a realist, but I’ve been an optimist about it and I really related to the film because I thought, you know, Brad and Damon want to tell a story that’s an entertainment, because first and foremost, it has to be an entertainment. But it is hopeful, and I’ve always felt that way myself.