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The thriller, written and directed by Billy Ray, follows three investigators — Jess (Roberts), Ray (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Claire (Nicole Kidman) — who become torn apart after the unexplainable, brutal murder of Jess’ daughter Carolyn. Thirteen years later, the case is re-opened, as Ray believes he has found the man who committed the crime, but there is a shocking secret that will unveil the truth.
Speaking to reporters about the difficulties of playing the emotional role of a grieving mother, Roberts noted that the biggest challenge she faced was “trying to be truthful the whole time.”
“It’s so hard to make sense of it because you sound ‘actor-y’ and like you’re oversimplifying it, but really relay some person whose empty inside, but still participating fully in the movie,” she said.
The actress also revealed that Ray and her fellow co-stars played a big part in her decision to take on the character. “Just the complexity of it that it wasn’t going to be easy and that Billy Ray I think is such an inspired writer and director,” she explained. “Chiwetel was attached to it when they came to me and he’s so incredible and enigmatic, and then Nicole was — I mean, honestly, we felt like we had won the lottery when she came on. It was amazing.”
Graham, who plays Roberts’ onscreen daughter in the film, shared her thoughts about raising awareness about the subject of rape by taking on the role.
“It’s a sensitive subject because the character does get physically assaulted and raped early on in the movie, and I knew I could handle questions about the movie,” she explained. “I knew that I was an actor who was well-versed in talking about campus rape [for example], and felt ready to take on that role of being able to bring that to life.”
Dean Norris also spoke to reporters about the difficulties of keeping track between the past and present while shooting the film, which shows continuous flashbacks in order to explain the background of the story.
In addition to the film’s stars, Adam Fogelson, Robert Simonds, Sophie Watts, Oren Aviv and Thomas McGrath of STX Entertainment, which produced the film, were in attendance.
“I’ve been really clear about the criteria we have for our films. Do we think they can be creatively great? Do we have a real point of view about how to sell them? Does it have a rational business plan attached to it? This movie hits all three of those criteria in spades,” said Fogelson, chairman of STX Entertainment’s motion picture group. “The source material was an extraordinary foreign film. Billy Ray is an unbelievable writer and director, and a cast like this one is a dream cast.”
Secret in Their Eyes hits theaters nationwide on Nov. 20.
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