Movies: ‘Florida Project’ cast and director comment on the possible Oscar contender

If “The Florida Project” — Sean Baker’s immersive drama that interweaves childhood adventure with the stark realities of people living on the margins of society — earns an Oscar nomination for best picture, it would likely be the least-seen member of that group. (Since Netflix won’t divulge the viewership numbers for “Mudbound,” we’ll never know for sure.)

But what it lacks in box office, “The Florida Project” makes up for in viewer passion. “When I saw it, nobody wanted to leave after it was done,” says South by Southwest Film Festival director Janet Pierson. “It’s so engaging … you don’t want to leave and break the spell.”

Why has it resonated with people like Pierson? We speak with director Baker, who co-wrote the movie with Chris Bergoch. We also speak with first-time actress Bria Vinaite and 7-year-old Brooklynn Prince, who play a mother and daughter making the best of dire circumstances. We also talk with Willem Dafoe, the film’s anchoring veteran.

Their answers are illuminating, though the film’s feeling of wonder remains something that needs to be experienced first-hand. (If you haven’t seen it it yet, there are indeed spoilers ahead in this story.)

Dafoe, who has been nominated twice for an Oscar over four decades, has acted in 80 movies. But his portrayal of Bobby, the decent, big-hearted motel manager looking out for his guests, has pierced the hearts of audiences and critics, earning him more honors than any other role of his career.

Dafoe says, “Bobby is not an extraordinary person at face value. He doesn’t have any particular talents. He’s not even a good hotel manager. But he’s a compassionate guy. And that gets expressed in the movie by where he gets placed in the story.”

Baker says, “Even people who hate the film love Bobby. When we saw Willem start to embody the character, there was such a sweetness about him. But it didn’t have a cheesy quality to it.”

Dafoe adds, “Filming at the motel, being there with the people living there, really helped me. You’re breaking bread with them. My dressing room was right there in the motel. I heard a lot of stories. They heard mine. You know you’re in a good situation when those people become your people.”

Bria Vinaite, left, and Brooklynn Prince, center, who star in “The Florida Project,” with the film’s director, Sean Baker. (Carolyn Van Houten/Washington Post)

Everyone loves Bobby, and most everyone takes to Prince’s

Source:: East Bay – Entertainment

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