Magazine article Screen International

Rebecca Hall on Playing Tragic Reporter Christine Chubbuck: "I Was Really Haunted by This One"

Magazine article Screen International

Rebecca Hall on Playing Tragic Reporter Christine Chubbuck: "I Was Really Haunted by This One"

Article excerpt

Rebecca Hall had some sleepless nights delivering a haunting performance in Christine. Antonio Campos's feature tells the true story of TV reporter Christine Chubbuck, who committed suicide live on air in Sarasota, Florida in 1974.

"It didn't come easy," Hall remembers. "I was really haunted by this one; I felt very clear in wanting to let go of it at the end of [each shooting] day, to take offthe make-up and remember what it felt like to be me.

"It was a very intimate process to try to understand her," the actress continues.

"She would speak to me at night. I'd wake up at two in the morning and there'd be Christine's voice in my head saying, 'You could be doing better, you could be working harder, why aren't you up right now getting ready?' I felt like I was bordering into some dangerous territory, because I was sat upright at 3am saying, 'Don't worry Christine, I am doing my best by you, I promise.'"

The real-life Chubbuck was an ambitious 29-year-old broadcast journalist who wanted to make a difference reporting on real issues in her community rather than delivering sensational 'if it bleeds, it leads' crime stories. It is fitting the film does not sensationalise Chubbuck's final act.

Hall, who this year also appeared in The BFG and will star in two upcoming blockbusters, Professor Marston & The Wonder Women and Holmes And Watson, met New York-based Campos (Afterschool, Simon Killer) for the first time after he sent her Craig Shilowich's script.

"When I read it, I thought this is an extraordinarily passionate rendering of a uniquely female story," recalls the London-born actress.

"Why are two blokes behind it? What are their motivations? Are they actually wanting to make something of real artistry? I could tell from the script that it was beautifully conceived, but I wanted to talk to them."

RECLAIMING CHRISTINE

Hall clicked with Campos and Shilowich's personal and emotional approach to the material.

"It was really there in the script - the structure of it, the wit, the compassion, the unexpectedness, the subtlety," she says.

"It reclaims her as a person. This is someone who desperately wanted to be seen and to be famous for serving her community and talking about things that were important. Now the film gives her the opportunity to be famous for what she signifies."

Hall also liked that Shilowich and Campos were not trying to offer simple answers as to why Chubbuck killed herself. …

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