Rebecca Hall was enthralled with “Christine” from the moment she read the script. Hall, who has starred in movies like “The Prestige” and “Vicky Christina Barcelona,” thought it was important to tell the story of Christine Chubbuck, a Florida news reporter who committed suicide on live air in 1974.
“I read it and I had a lot of strong emotions,” Hall said after a screening of the drama at the Kaufman Concert Hall in New York City Wednesday about the script’s cover letter, which explained the movie in five sentences.
At first, Hall was conflicted about “Christine.” She wondered if it exploited Chubbuck. In real life, the TV reporter struggled with severe depression and ended her life by shooting herself behind her right ear.
Ultimately, that uncertainty persuaded Hall to take the role. “That was, in a way, what helped me decide to make the film,” Hall explained. “The film is a way to humanize [Christine]. I was incredibly moved by the script. There was empathy for someone who was trying to live her life to the fullest.”
The film follows Christine as she tries to become a famous news anchor. But her integrity gets in the way of her career. Her boss at a local station in Sarasota, news director Mike Simmons, pushes her to get better ratings. The demand interferes with her need to tell the news in a way that does not exploit the public.
“If it bleeds, it leads,” he tells her. Eventually, Christine is willing to do anything to get the job done.
“It was a vital piece of art,” Hall explained about the movie. “A film about sensationalism that is not sensational.”
While some actors don’t watch their work, this isn’t the case with “Christine” and Hall. She’s seen it twice. “I love watching it,” Hall said. “I love it because I’m incredibly proud to be in it and I think it’s a great film.”
“Christine,” which also stars “Dexter” actor Michael C. Hall, debuts in theaters nationwide Friday, Oct. 14.
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