You can check out the interview in full over at TimeoutChicago.com
Director Alex Kurtzman said that with People Like Us he wanted to make a smaller character-driven film, the kind of story that inspired him to write in the first place, as opposed to the successes he and his writing partner Roberto Orci have had with Star Trek and Transformers. You’ve also become known for bigger movies. Was a smaller character film an appeal for you as well?
Absolutely. It’s nice when a film deals with human beings talking to one another or not talking to one another—the primary dysfunction of this family is that they don’t talk—and it’s nice to talk about what people are saying or not saying versus, well, should I run to the left or should I run to the right? As much as I like making those bigger action-driven films, it is much nicer when—I mean, this was an enjoyable experience because I hadn’t really had it on a film before, where you come to set and you really just talk about where these people are and where they’re coming from, where they’re going.
As opposed to “hit your mark”?
Well, a lot of times with those bigger films, you’re at the mercy of set pieces or an action sequence, and in this the story is really the dynamics between these people, so you’re not building towards anything other than a revelation.
Michelle Pfeiffer, who plays your mother in People Like Us, said of the film, “They don’t make a lot of movies like this anymore.” Are you finding that to be the case?
The $30-to-$40-million dramas aren’t really made anymore. What they’re making are really cheap comedies and found-footage films on the lower end and then $150 million on the big end. That large swath of stuff in the middle has disappeared [from] the studio system. Right after There Will Be Blood wins the Oscar, Paramount Vantage, the small production company within Paramount, shuts down. So just because people are making quality films, if it’s not bringing in the money for these corporate behemoths for whom we work, there’s a bottom line.