reelz.com interviews the director and star of The Life Before Her Eyes.
Adapted from Laura Kasischke's novel of the same name, The Life Before Her Eyes is a drama about Diana (Uma Thurman), a wife and mother who is having trouble getting over the brutal high-school shooting she survived. On the 20th anniversary of the event, Diana's perfect suburban life starts to fall apart as she spends more time remembering her rebellious existence and her unlikely friendship with good-girl Maureen (Eva Amurri) in the days before.
The Life Before Her Eyes was directed by Vadim Perelman, who first made a name for himself with 2003's House of Sand and Fog. Perelman specializes in translating the symbolism in literature to visual terms on screen. "I like things that structure and have the same cadence as books," says Perelman. "House of Sand and Fog -- exactly the same cadence, exactly the same kind of sorrowful, dirge. There's her story, there's his story. They always go up and down. There's that beautiful sort of stepping towards climax."
For Amurri, who spent most of her time opposite the younger version of Diana (played by Evan Rachel Wood), the choice to do a movie with Perelman was easy. "It was a great package," she explains. "It was a really awesome script, great director, great actress to be working with. So basically it's like, why wouldn't I do it?"
"It was a really beautifully constructed script. The storytelling, it was never so explicit. It became much more explicit in the process and the editing," continues the actress who may yet be better known as the daughter of Susan Sarandon. "Because it didn't have to be visual and it wasn't confusing when it was written, it was able to have even more--Vadim would say--tons of these little tiny clues. By the end you can't be flipping the pages fast enough, you're just reading and it's all coming together. I was sitting there flipping like a manic. It's cool in that way."
The Life Before Her Eyes is sure to be one of those movies that gets buzz about a surprise ending, and as a result you are bound to miss a lot of the clues on the first go-around. "That's why you need to see it twice," says Perelman. "Technically we shouldn't say that, 'Oh, go see it twice, it's great.' But this one you actually do need to see it twice. It's like a layering experience."
In fact, it's such a surprise ending that Perelman filmed two different versions of it to see which one he would like better. And not everyone in the cast agrees with his final choice. "I liked [the other] version better, personally," jokes Amurri. "So many people did. Evan did, too. Uma didn't," adds Perelman. "I think we did the right thing."
But it sounds like when The Life Before Her Eyes makes it to DVD, everyone will be happy. "On my DVD, I'll put in the other one. I really liked the way Evan acted that one. It was a killer moment that she acted, that almost swayed me," Perelman says.
The Life Before Her Eyes comes out in limited release Friday, April 18, 2008.