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Since her big-screen debut in 1983, Lea Thompson has appeared in scores of films, television movies and series, and theatrical performances. She’s probably best known for playing Lorraine McFly in the Back to the Future trilogy and the title character in the NBC-TV series Caroline in the City. The Minnesota-native and former ballet dancer plays Emily in The Trouble with the Truth, written and directed by Jim Hemphill. The movie tells the story of an ex-husband and ex-wife who sit down for dinner one evening. The conversation that ensues will definitely leave couples talking. Lea spoke to us about this current film, and her vast repertoire.
Sedona Monthly: How did you become involved in The Trouble with the Truth and why did you accept the role?
Lea Thompson: I was offered the movie, and I was impressed with the writing. Frankly, it kind of scared me. It’s just two people talking about their lives and their relationship – it seemed like a fun thing to try. It was an exciting idea, and I’m really happy I did it.
How long did it take to film the movie and where was it filmed?
It took about 13 days. We filmed it in downtown L.A. in a warehouse. Part was filmed at an actual restaurant, but the rest was inside a studio.
Less than two weeks – that’s very fast. Did that include rehearsal time?
We didn’t have any time for rehearsal because John Shea had a tight schedule. We rehearsed before we shot. It was pretty much shot in sequence, and that helped a lot. It was beautifully done because the close-ups were shot at the same time. Even though it wasn’t improv, it gave it an improv quality because we could talk over each other and do different things with every take.
This film could easily be on stage, and you have plenty of experience doing theater. Has that ever been discussed?
No, we just want people to see the movie! When you see it on a big screen, it feels worthy of a big screen. I think that’s because the themes are so deep. It works on a big screen.
The movie is definitely character driven, and those types of films seem to be in decline in today’s CG world. What are your thoughts on that?
It’s a miracle that a movie like this can get made, but once it’s made it can find its audience. I was reading an article today about how kids aren’t going to the movie theaters, so they are going to start having to make movies for 30- and 40-somethings because they have the income and want to go out. It’s driven by the marketplace, and I think there’s a place for this kind of movie. Interestingly, it’s much easier to make a good-looking, low-budget film than it used to be because of the cameras. You don’t need as many lights and sound equipment and money to develop the film.
You have made plenty of films with special effects, most notably SpaceCamp and the Back to the Future trilogy. Can you compare those types of films with something like The Trouble with Truth?
They both have their place – different people like to see different kinds of stories. But there’s no replacement for really great writing, and sometimes I think that’s the problem with big-budget movies. There are so many writers trying to please so many people that the writing is boring. They are trying to district you with a lot of car chases, and I just get exhausted by it. It just loses all reality.