December 08, 2016

James Ponsoldt talks about Emma Watson's character in 'The Circle'

Emma Watson teams with Tom Hanks in a Silicon Valley techno- thriller.

Dustin Hoffman’s college graduate Ben Braddock struggled with his future prospects in the 1967 classic The Graduate.

Fifty years later, it’s Emma Watson as new grad Mae Holland who grapples with her destiny in The Circle ( in theaters April 28), seen here in an exclusive trailer and sneak- peek photos.

“Mae asks many of the same questions. She’s struggling, living with her parents, looking for meaning and frustrated,” says Circle director James Ponsoldt. “She lands her dream job. Then things start to get weird.”

Adapted from Dave Eggers’ 2013 best- selling sci- fi novel of the same name, Mae finds work in Silicon Valley with a tech company called The Circle and run by visionary leader Eamon Bailey ( Tom Hanks).

“Bailey’s notion is that knowing is good, and knowing everything is better,” says Ponsoldt. “He believes all experiences should be available to everyone, not only the privileged or people who can afford to them. He’s deeply interested in technology that can make people share all human experiences with everyone. He’s a boundary pusher, even boundary destroyer.”

The Circle’s game changer: SeeChange cameras, glass eyeballs that fit anywhere and transmit real- time footage wirelessly. Mae steps into the See Change world and instantly explodes from entry- level employee to being famous worldwide for sharing her life, fears and ambitions with millions of strangers.

“She becomes a pseudo- celebrity with her superpower, that she’s natural, relatable and willing to speak freely about everything in her life,” says Ponsoldt. “But it gets to the point where it’s almost a religion and then a glass prison of celebrity.”

The Circle features Hanks’ Bailey, John Boyega (a disillusioned programmer who developed the technology) and Patton Oswalt (The Circle’s business minder) as the “three wise men” leading the emerging company.

“America’s Dad” Hanks and Harry Potter’s Watson carry career currency to their characters, says Ponsoldt. “Audiences bring so much experience as filmgoers with these actors from other roles, Tom instantly brings a level of humanity and sincerity,” he says. “Their scenes together are pretty great.”

Despite Hanks’ Apple- style presentations and reverence of crowds, Ponsoldt says the tech company depicted onscreen isn’t based on any one in particular.

“The Circle is probably like many tech companies, pushing the ethical boundaries over how much autonomy and freedom we should have and how much privacy we should have,” says Ponsoldt.

The director has been a fan of Eggers’ work since his groundbreaking 2000 novel, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, and jumped at the chance to work on The Circle after shoot- ing the 2015 David Foster Wallace road- trip film, The End of the Tour.

“When Dave’s book came out, it felt like speculative fiction, the future around the corner. But shooting it, we thought of it as an alternaverse: slightly skewed, but essentially our world,” says Ponsoldt. “It’s a fun ride. We live through Mae. She is us. You will walk out of the theater and have a serious look at yourself and how you’re living your life.”


Ross Taggart said...

Also looks like it will get a full cinema release world wide

Jacobi said...

Worldwide 🌎 awesomeness‼️ Tom Hanks and Emma Watson with a killer 1984 concept is going to be Epic Pix! Can't wait to see you πŸ™ƒ❌πŸ‘ΈπŸ»⭕️

Anonymous said...

i loved seeing her in trailer. Some will criticize some eyebrow acting but I thought this was appropriate concerning the question Mae was asked and how she answered. Eyebrow acting, like a smile, the Clark Gable sideway smile can be successful in proper use. I think this film will be good

PDXP said...

Emma has a very animated face in general, similar to people like Tina Fey and Sarah Silverman. I love it!

Anonymous said...

So do I actually, but it is a talent to express it artistically and not sporatically.

Anonymous said...

La La Land was named one of the top films in TIME magazine. I wish she would have done the film. That would have been a great credit for her.

Anonymous said...

To the Anon above, if she did La La Land, I don't think she could've been in BaTB and I can't imagine any other actress as Belle. As much as I love Emma, I think Emma Stone is the perfect pick for La La Land.

Anonymous said...

Most likely you are right: I also like Emma Stone- great actress. I remember being happy when EW was announced for La La Land. In my opinion there are too many fairy-tale remakes out. I loved Disney as a kid, but I usually do not watch Disney films as an adult. Oh well!