INDIEWIRE – With only an 80-page outline to guide them, there were a lot of blanks to fill when “Endings, Beginnings” director Drake Doremus hired Shailene Woodley to star in the film just two weeks before shooting began. In between casting and shooting, however, Doremus, Woodley, and co-star Sebastian Stan made a two-day road trip up the California coast to the film’s Bir Sur location, swapping life philosophies along the way.
“We ended up driving for five-and-a-half hours and the amount of inside jokes and the vulnerability that came from that drive alone really drove our characters forward,” Woodley said at an “Endings, Beginnings” panel discussion the day after the film’s Toronto International Film Festival premiere. “The first day of filming, we had to be very vulnerable with one another, intimate with one another … I felt like all of us were riding on the same frequency.”
The film chronicles Woodley’s Daphne on her journey to find love for herself and others while dealing with deep emotional scars and navigating a love triangle with a grounded professor (Jamie Dornan) and his passionate party-boy best friend (Stan).
“Everything in my life changed from this movie,” said Woodley. “I thought I knew who I was, I thought I was in a perfect relationship. And I did this movie and it made me question a lot of things about myself and my decisions. I think it’s because of the amount of truth and the amount of realness that we were all giving one another,” including take after take of improvised scenes.
“We call each other ‘searchers,’” Doremus said. “I mean with everything, every situation it’s, ‘What’s the meaning of this? What’s really the truth about that? What does this mean?’”
As he did with his celebrated “Like Crazy,” Doremus (and on this film, co-writer Jardine Libaire) drafted an outline with action points, suggested dialogue, and a clear idea of each scene’s “main event” rather than a traditional screenplay. Doremus said the impetus of the movie was based on mistakes he had made in his own life and was a way to process a breakup.
In the edit room, Doremus worked closely with editor Garret Price to first select scenes that felt the most honest, which was the baseline to decide if something could end up in the movie, he said.
Ensuring they had something to work meant improvisation scenes and taking advantage of their own emotions, whatever they happened to be. “I came to work one day and I couldn’t stop crying,” Woodley said. “It was just very emotional. And then (Doremus) was like, ‘You know what, let’s just change some things around and let’s just shoot this.’”
I’ve uploaded some further additions from Shailene’s busy Sunday at TIFF, including a stop at the Variety Studio to discuss Endings, Beginnings alongside director Drake Doremus (interview has yet to be released). Some portraits taken with the director and co-stars Jamie Dornan and Sebastian Stan have also been added. Enjoy.
Last night marked the premiere of Endings, Beginnings at the Toronto International Film Festival – and we’ve uploaded photos of Shailene from the event. Reviews out of the screening have been mixed, to say the least, but I think this has often been the way director Drake Doremus’ films have been received. Either way, I can’t wait to see it (hopefully the wait won’t be too long).
I’ve updated the gallery with screen captures from Adrift, one of my favorite Shailene projects and probably her strongest performance (in my opinion, at least). I won’t spoil the film for those who have yet to see it, but please check it out when you have the chance – it’s definitely very underrated, and the fact that it’s based on real events just makes it even more compelling. In addition to captures from the film, the bonus features have also been uploaded to the gallery. Enjoy!
THE WRAP – “Big Little Lies” star Shailene Woodley has joined the cast of “After Exile,” an indie crime drama starring Robert De Niro and Shia LaBeouf, an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.
“After Exile” will be directed by Joshua Michael Stern from a script by Anthony Thorne and Michael Tovo, who wrote the film’s story based on true events from his life.
Woodley will play a character who grew up with LaBeouf’s and whose fractured relationship with him leads him to him turning to drugs and falling into depression.
LaBeouf is playing an ex-convict just released from prison after killing an innocent man following a violent robbery. He tries to re-enter society while working with his father, played by De Niro, to prevent his younger brother from falling into a similar life of drugs and crime. De Niro’s character is also an ex-con who years earlier lost his wife and still struggles with alcoholism and guilt, even as he hopes to prevent his sons from following his same path.
Thorne is also producing “After Exile” alongside Steve Snyder of Pacific Shore Films, which is financing the film. Les Cohen is executive producing, and production is expected to begin this October in Philadelphia.
On the film end, Woodley last starred in the survival story “Adrift” from director Baltasar Kormákur, and she’ll next be seen in Drake Doremus’s love story “Endings, Beginnings,” which will make its premiere at Toronto next month. Woodley is represented by Hyperion, Management 360, and Felker Toczek Suddleson Abramson.
News of Woodley’s casting was first reported by Deadline.