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In Hannah Marks and Joey Power’s first feature film, After Everything, two 20-somethings develop a relationship at an accelerated pace moments after Elliot (Jeremy Allen White) learns of his life-changing illness. But this “unusual love story” is more than just a film about cancer.
“I think we both felt the most interesting part of the story is that it’s actually about a young marriage and a relationship and not as much about the cancer,” Marks told The Hollywood Reporter In Studio, alongside Power and White.
Power added: “I think we didn’t want the stakes of the movie to be tied to the sickness as much as we did to the relationship. I think the thing that felt exciting about writing this movie was taking the tropes that you see in other movies that deal with sickness and trying to figure out ways to subvert them.”
“For example, you see these cancer movies, these extravagant bucket lists that are really expensive when most kids, if they got sick, couldn’t afford any of this, and having a threesome is free,” said Marks.
Marks and Power, who co-wrote and co-directed the film, aren’t much older than the characters of Elliot (White) and Mia (Maika Monroe), something that they say worked to their advantage. “I think there are probably mistakes that you would make at any age directing your first movie. I think one of the good things about being younger was the characters are young and still being able to relate. Like Hannah was the age when we shot the movie, so being able to get into that headspace was a good thing,” Power said.
Although, while they were able to get into the mindset of the characters, directing their first feature film at a young age came with its fair share of nerve-racking moments, like working with Oscar-winning actress Marisa Tomei.
“For me, when Marisa Tomei was on set playing our doctor, I was like, ‘Oh my God. I’ve never been a doctor and she has an Oscar.’ It was really intimidating,” Marks explained.
“Inside I was scared. She’s incredible but that’s definitely nerve-racking, and I think if I was a bit older I would have been less intimidated,” she continued.
The chemistry between White and Monroe is undeniable to audiences, something that White calls “lucky.”
“I don’t know what we would have done if we didn’t have them,” Marks said. “Joey likes to say, ‘We would have a bad movie,’ which I think is totally true. We got so lucky.”
Watch the video above to hear White compare the similarities between Elliot and his character Lip on Shameless, as well as his first time hanging out with co-star Monroe.
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