Modern-day renaissance actress Olivia Wilde, who effortlessly transitions from sharing the screen with renowned actors to working alongside devoted doctors and teachers in Haitian refugee camps stars in the upcoming romantic thriller “Third Person” opposite Liam Neeson.
Scripted and helmed by Academy Award Winner Paul Haggis (“Crash”), “Third Person” is set in Paris, New York and Rome that follows three intersecting stories of love and relationships in crises. Michael (Liam Neeson) is a Pulitzer Prize winning author who has holed himself up in a hotel suite in Paris to finish his latest book. He recently left his wife, Elaine (Kim Basinger), and is having an affair with an ambitious young writer, Anna (Olivia Wilde) who has her own agenda.
Wilde’s character Anna is young, beautiful and damaged. An aspiring New York writer but currently working as a gossip reporter at a fashion magazine, she is protege to Michael, a successful novelist who is also her mentor and charismatic lover. Anna enjoys the thrill of taunting Michael and using her youth and beauty to toy with him and her arrival in Paris brings much-needed inspiration and excitement to him. Although she is damaged and complicated, her love for Michael is very real.
“They’ve known each other for some time and as is revealed they’ve been carrying on this relationship.
Things are kind of coming to a head and she has a lot of her own personal issues that we learn a bit about, but ultimately she’s in love with Michael and has a kind of obsession with him at the same time as a real romantic love for him,” Wilde explains of her character. “It’s interesting playing Anna but I don’t know if I’d say I’m enjoying playing her because I wouldn’t want to ‘be’ Anna. The experience has been a real case of ‘There but for the grace of God go I. I’m playing an incredibly damaged and painful role, but it’s really interesting to play. It’s not one of those fun roles where you think like ‘yeah I can’t wait to get to work and… sob today!’’
Moreso, Wilde says that “The characters are all so complex and that really appealed to me. I found parallels between their struggles really interesting and I found myself empathizing with everyone because everyone’s damaged here - men, women and children but they’re all ultimately driven by love. I think the mark of a great writer is when you can empathize with all of their characters, even though they tend to hurt each other”. Third Person is much more than just a drama. It’s a thriller and a mystery where these three stories begin to intertwine”. And (director) Paul Haggis is wonderful to work for. He’s so personally attached to the material and he has such great understanding of the characters that he’s helpful at all points. There is no question he can’t answer with real sensitivity. And as a director he’s fantastic. He and I have a great shorthand, friendship and mutual respect now we’ve worked together three times”.
“Liam is incredible and so perfect for the role of Michael. He has such a gentle spirit as well as a real solid strength. I think that’s part of who he is - a really sensitive person. I think it’s absolutely imperative the audience empathize with Michael’s character, despite what can be seen as the cruel moves he’s making towards his wife and towards Anna. Despite that we find ourselves following him, loving him and forgiving him. And I don’t think any other actor could make that work. It takes someone with Liam’s sensitive spirit,” Wilde says of working with Liam Neeson.
Rated R16 by the MTRCB, “Third Person” opens on June 18 nationwide (ahead of U.S. release) from Axinite Digicinema.