October 19, 2015
By Lesley Coffin
Out this week in limited release is the intimate dark drama Meadowland. Cinematographer Reed Morano (Skeleton Twins, Frozen River) made her directorial debut with this dark drama, starring Olivia Wilde and Luke Wilson as parents who suffer the devastating tragedy of their son’s kidnapping and attempt to face their grief, often without each other for support. Chris Rossi, who also makes his debut as a screenwriter on the project, spoke with us about this excellent but undeniably challenging film.
Lesley Coffin (TMS): Where did the premise for the movie come from?
Rossi: I wanted to look at a familiar story, about a child disappearing, but look at it from a different angle. Rather than look at it from the man’s perspective of finding the perpetrator or enacting revenge, I wanted to look what happens to the mother, played by Olivia Wilde, which we don’t see as often. So we jump a year into the future early on, and look at how she’s dealing with this and how this crisis is defining her. I was interested seeing how she’s coping. And that perspective also made her husband’s character all the more powerful, because he’s a cop being thwarted by his inability to do anything. I just really liked the idea of examining things from that perspective.
TMS: I know you did a pretty extensive rewrite after Reed signed on to direct. Did the original script take more of a procedural approach than the purely domestic approach which ultimately became the film’s shooting script?
Rossi: It was definitely more of a split in the original script. It was always focused on Olivia Wilde’s character, but there is an FBI character investigating the case who had a much bigger role. And that was one of the things Reed suggested taking out when she read the script, so it would be even more focused on Olivia’s journey. It was never going to be a procedural, but Reed probably pulled it back even farther than I would have, to really highlight her journey.
TMS: It felt like Olivia and Luke’s jobs were very carefully selected for the character, with her being a school teacher and him working as a cop, specifically a beat cop rather than a detective. What went into picking those professions for them?