If there's such a thing as a typical 9/11 movie, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" is definitely not it.
Stephen Daldry's adaptation of the Jonathan Safran Foer novel forgoes scenes of destruction and civic grief to offer a microcosmic portrait of a young man, touched by tragedy on that day, who copes with its aftermath in the only way he knows how: by going on an adventure.
Newcomer Thomas Horn plays Oskar Schell, a 9-year-old traversing New York City looking for a lock that fits the key he found in the closet of his father Thomas (Tom Hanks), one year after his dad's death on 9/11. Oscar winner Sandra Bullock plays Oskar's mom Linda, struggling with her own grief and desperately trying to reach out to her distant, obsessed son.
amNewYork got a chance to speak with Bullock about the film, which opens Sunday, at a press conference.
Was taking this part a no-brainer? It was a no-brainer in the sense that I'd always wanted to work with Stephen, especially after I saw "The Reader" - I was just completely blown away. I didn't necessarily want to work at the time that I was approached, but once Stephen came up to my home and we talked about the character and what we thought she was and she wasn't, [I was sold].
What interested you about the character? In the book, I loved how she was basically regarded just as "mother." She was not given a life, and I loved that because it was through the child's point of view, and often we [as] children don't appreciate our parents the way we should. The way the story was told through Oskar - and Thomas, subsequently - allowed me and so many people to grieve.
How has 9/11 resonated for you? There will never be closure, I think, for me and for so many people. I was there. I saw it. I saw the second plane. I saw people helping people. And that, to me, is what resonates about the city of New York. I saw, within a second, the entire city come together and help each other.
What are your earliest memories of New York? My first memory: My mom took me to see "All That Jazz" on Broadway. And at that moment, I knew I wanted to be a dancer. Did I become a dancer? No, I'm a big girl [laughs].
What do you like best about NYC? You never feel out of place in New York City - that's a fact. Unless you're a really poorly dressed tourist with black socks and sandals ... No one should wear polyester black socks and sandals. That should be outlawed, not just in New York City, but everywhere [laughs].