First Look: Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts Challenge Rebecca Hall in 'Christine' (Exclusive)

Joe Anderson
Michael C. Hall in 'Christine'

The Antonio Campos drama, premiering at Sundance, stars Rebecca Hall as Christine Chubbuck, the depressed Florida newscaster who infamously committed suicide on live television in 1974.

Michael C. Hall is hiding something dark inside – while Tracy Letts is openly intimidating -- in The Hollywood Reporter’s exclusive first look at the actors in the newsroom of Christine.

Directed by Antonio Campos (known for exploring the damaged psyche in Afterschool and Simon Killer), the drama is based on the true story of Christine Chubbuck, the depressed Florida newscaster who infamously shot herself on live television in 1974. Rebecca Hall stars as the suicidal Sarasota anchor who is competing for a promotion, healing from unrequited love, and juggling a tumultuous home life. The film will make its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, where it will compete in the U.S. dramatic competition category.

In the new stills from the film, Michael C. Hall – playing a fellow local anchor George (based on Christine’s real-life crush George Peter Ryan) – seems like the typical all-American character, but he sits at the news desk unsettled. “Michael injects the character with this wonderful darkness and humor – I'd watch the monitor in a trance when Michael was on,” Campos told THR. “He was always doing something unexpected and coming up with a gesture or ad-libbing a line that would make me jump with joy or laugh out loud.”

Meanwhile, Letts plays Christine’s station manager and news director at the local Sarasota affiliate who loudly reminds his staff that “If it bleeds, it leads" – a catchphrase he picked up at a Cleveland conference – is an idea worth emulating, to Christine’s dismay.

Christine includes Sean Durkin and Josh Mond of Borderline Films, as well as Robert Halmi, Jr. and Jim Reeve of Great Point Media, as executive producers, and Melody C. Roscher and Craig Shilowich of The Wonderclub as producers. UTA and WME are handling the film’s sales.

Maria Dizzia, J. Smith-Cameron, John Cullum and Timothy Simons round out the cast of the Craig Shilowich-penned film.

See more exclusive photos from Christine below, with Campos’ commentary on the revealing shots.

“I must admit I was intimidated by Tracy,” said Campos of Letts (right, with Rebecca Hall). “You just sense the man's greatness when he walks into the room. And he was as great as an actor as you would imagine, but he was also the kindest, most generous actor and one of the best collaborators I've ever I had the pleasure of working with.”

“Christine's greatest obstacle is herself. It's not so much the events that happen in the film that change her life but how she filters everything through her mental illness,” explained Campos. “Rebecca transformed into Christine on a daily basis. Her back was always slightly hunched and her face would tighten and this entirely new voice would come out of her mouth. I spent months in the edit room and I realized I would never refer to the person I was watching as ‘Rebecca.’ It was Christine.”

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