Minnie Driver plays devastated mother to a stillborn child | Inquirer Entertainment

Minnie Driver plays devastated mother to a stillborn child

By: - Writing Editor
/ 12:01 AM April 20, 2014

THE ACTRESS with Paul Adelstein

“I wanted the film to be incredibly human, incredibly real—in the movie, there are no villains,” Sean Hanish, who directed the Lifetime movie “Return to Zero,” said in a recent conference call.

The project, based on a true story and starring Minnie Driver as the mother of a stillborn child, required utmost sensitivity to be truly effective, Hanish said. “The most important thing for me was to be honest and true to what my wife (Kiley) and I went through. That was my North Star. If I can be as honest as possible in every step of the way—in the writing, directing, in the editing room—hopefully, this can resonate with people.”





Nabbing Driver for the Maggie role was “fortunate,” the writer-director added. “The best word for her is ‘fearless.’ The first thing I said was, ‘I want to give you all the credit in the world for even sitting down to talk about playing this role.’ She said, ‘Yeah, it is. But I think I know how to do it.’  The thing about Minnie is, she’s almost like an improvisational jazz singer. She comes up with things. Her creativity is boundless. She’s always trying to improve the scene.”

He added that the English actress, who gained prominence for her Academy Award-nominated supporting role in “Good Will Hunting,” is among the top actresses in the world: “She really is! I think she’s underrated. She has courage and wit. She’s game for anything.”

Hanish was unfamiliar with Paul Adelstein, who costars as Maggie’s husband Aaron. But he was a good fit, and complemented Driver well. “My casting directors recommended him, then I started looking at his television work of 10-plus years… Turns out, he’s really superb. The two of them have a chemistry that Minnie described as [something] she’s only had a few times in her career. One was with Matt Damon [in ‘Good Will Hunting’], and the other time was with Eddie Izzard in that TV show, ‘The Riches.’”

Despite the heavy subject, things were light and easy for the filmmaker and actors behind the scenes. “The funny thing is, we had a blast. I know it sounds crazy but we had such a great time. Paul and Minnie said, ‘You know some of the heaviest, darkest, most dramatic shows we’ve ever been in, we had the most fun. And sometimes, the opposite is true. If you’re doing a big movie, like off-set it’s really drudgery.’ So, honestly, we laughed so much between takes, which might sound odd but I think that’s the way it levels out, because they knew what they had to do when they got on set.”

Very indie



Making “Return to Zero” involved tough challenges that the cast and crew had to face and surmount. “When you’re making a film about a stillborn child, there’s very little money to make it with. We hobbled together a few equity investors who were incredibly generous, had incredible faith in me, in the cast, our story… We were a true independent film. We shot a 105-page script in 19 days with that level of intensity, so every day you woke up, you were like, ‘I’m so glad we got that big scene from yesterday.’”

Ultimately, Hanish is elated with transmitting an important message about parenthood. “The film is an ode to how incredible it is to be a mother, what a miracle it is to have a child, and what a privilege it is to be a parent.”

(“Return to Zero” airs May 20, 8 p.m. on Lifetime.)


History Easter specials


Tonight, “The Story of Jesus: Jesus the Prophet” airs at 8 on History. It explores the roles of Judas and Pontius Pilate, and the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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At 9 p.m., the documentary “The Pope From the End of the World” features the new world leader’s thoughts and the challenges he faces as the “new Peter.”

TAGS: History Channel, Minnie Driver, movie

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