Chris Pine on 'I Am the Night' Helmer Patty Jenkins' Leadership: She "Really Wants to Listen"

Pine contrasted his 'I Am the Night' and 'Wonder Woman' collaborator to CNN and Fox, "where everybody is just shouting."
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From left: Sam Sheridan, India Eisley, Patty Jenkins and Chris Pine of 'I Am the Night'

Chris Pine believes what makes Patty Jenkins such a "deep" director is her ability to fully listen at a time when social media and cable news are "just shouting," the actor said Wednesday at a panel at the John Sowden House in Los Angeles, where the duo's latest project, TNT's I Am The Night, takes place.

"We turn on CNN or Fox, everybody is just shouting. There's so much shouting. Twitter is shouting. Social media is shouting, shouting, shouting. No one shuts up to just listen," Pine said. "Patty wants to really listen to someone. ... If you're trying to make a piece of art, I want to know that I'm being witnessed, actually, truly heard by the person." 

The panel, moderated by Catt Sadler, featured actress India Eisley, actor Jefferson Mays and writer Sam Sheridan, along with Pine and Jenkins. Based on a true story, I Am the Night depicts teen Fauna Hodel (Eisley) setting off to Los Angeles in the 1960s to learn about the family that put her up for adoption at birth, a dark story that intersects with the famously unsolved Black Dahlia murder. 

Pine, who executive produced in addition to playing a failed reporter, offered his advice to those in the business: "Listen. Just shut up. Patty listens to the human being." The actor said he has found that many directors want to talk about CGI and shot lists, but it's rare for one to be "relational" with an actor.  

"I know why she's making the film, I know what this character I'm portraying means to her, why it's so important that I am there inhabiting this human being, and then she knows specifically how to talk to me, the human being, to get me to do my best work," Pine said of the Wonder Woman and Wonder Woman 1984 helmer.

Jenkins, in return, said she's finally found "a wonderful tribe of people" in the creative community and has developed a "great working relationship" with Pine (perhaps that's also why she used a lot of the same crew on both the mystery TV show and her Wonder Woman sequel, due out in 2020). 

"As the years have gone by, I feel like I've been lucky enough to really find my tribe. And when just like finding best friends and creative partners in anything, when Chris and I started working together, definitely there was a 'ding' moment of 'Ooo.' It's like when you start playing tennis with somebody and you're after the exact same game," Jenkins said. "Chris and I came into this having found a common language and a common joy and a common pursuit and it makes working joyful, because you're after the same thing." 

Pine added that he's always wanted to produce. "As an actor, you become pretty used to not having any power, strangely," so the new show was "less work and more freeing" and an opportunity to collaborate "with my good friends." 

I Am the Night is set to premiere Monday at 9 p.m ET/PT on TNT.