Filipino-Canadian actress Jane McLean is playing Charisse in The Time Traveler's Wife, which stars Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana.
It's kind of a long interview, but she seems sweet in it, and she offers some nice insights on the production process. In any case, bolded for the tl;dr crowd.
What was your reaction when you got the part in The Time Traveler's Wife?
McLean: Oh boy, what was my reaction? I was really excited about it. When the opportunity first presented itself it was supposed to be cast in Los Angeles and I wasn't in LA at the time, I was in Toronto, and I hadn't moved there yet. My first thought was "Okay, well they're going to read every girl for this, so whatever." My manager, because he was so excited about the project said, "You know, the director is in Toronto, location scouting, we have to set this up. You have to meet him." It was so serendipitous that we were both in Toronto, and they set up a special session to cast my character. I read the script but I hadn't read the book at that time. I bought the book two years before, but I didn't read it. I started to get really excited about it because the script is just phenomenal. I remember thinking to myself, "Okay, you are not reading the book until the deal is done" because I didn't want to jinx myself! You know! I got the offer. I was one of the very first after, obviously, the main leads, Rachel and Eric.
How did you approach playing Charisse, Clare's best friend?
McLean: In terms of preparation for it, a lot of thought was put towards prior experiences of my own. Specifically those of my relationship with my sisters, you know, like the relationship that Charisse has with Clare. They've got a very strong sisterhood bond. Also too, we were very fortunate; Ron Livingston and I, to have had an opportunity before we even started shooting, to go shopping for each other's characters in Kensington Market. We were picking out clothes for each other's characters. It was the director's idea. He said "You know, I really want you guys to spend time together" and he did the same thing with Eric and Rachel's characters, specifically with Eric where they brought the child that was playing their own child, Alba, to the ROM. So there was just a lot of care put into developing these characters. (Ngl, I liked this idea)
And did you guys film here in Toronto?
McLean: Yes, and some parts were shot in Chicago.
You and Rachel McAdams are both Canadian. What was it like working with her?
McLean: She's wonderful. She's a good Torontonian gal and super down-to-earth. It's no surprise that she is where she's at right now because it would be hard to ignore somebody with as much talent and beauty as Rachel. She's very, very approachable, very easy to work with and very, very generous. As an actor, you sort of dream of working with people like that because they really pull you in. You know what I'm saying? They call "cut" and you forget that there are even cameras rolling. So the experience was fantastic and we had a lot of things in common. We both like clothing!
What was it like working with Eric Bana?
McLean: At first I was a little intimidated. I thought he might be a little bit intense. But those were my perceptions because I watched him in Munich and Troy. But he's a funny guy! And he's wonderful to work with and very easy on the eyes!
You also worked closely with Ron Livingston.
McLean: Ron is fantastic to work with. Just a blast, we had such a blast. I have to say that the first couple of days of hanging out with him, I was so tempted to, you know, call him Berger. I kept thinking "Berger" from Sex and the City! (Laughs) I'd say to my girlfriends: "Do you know that I'm playing Berger's wife?" We had a great time. We played a lot of cards like in between scenes and stuff like that; whenever we had a break we'd always go into a corner or his trailer and play cards. I would win!
It's tricky, making a book into a film. Everyone has his or her own imagination. And so here you are, cast in a film based on a best-selling book. Did you worry what people would think?
McLean: Yeah, at first I did. I thought to myself how are they going to do this? This is such a complex story and how are they going to be able to condense it into two hours? And again, like you said, everybody's going to have their own version of what these characters are like, and how the story unfolds. Everybody views it differently because you base it on your own experiences. But I trusted a lot in the script. And the script is absolutely beautiful. It's not exactly the same as a book, there's a lot of stuff you have to be really crafty with how you develop it as a movie, because again you're trying to condense what was 500 pages into two hours. And that can be very, very hard to do.
I think audiences tend to forget that sometimes.
McLean: Yeah, people do forget that. And I was worried, to some degree, at the very beginning because I thought to myself, "Oh wait a second here, you've got an enormous fan base for this book," but then you realize afterwards that you can't please everybody. I had to look at it like a completely separate entity. And at first, I will admit, I did go on a couple of blogs. I'll never do that again, ever, ever, ever!
Well, sometimes curiosity gets the best of you, and it's tempting!
McLean: I'll tell you, I read a couple of blogs and the minute it was announced that I was going to be playing Charisse, they filled up with "Oh my God who's this Jane McLean?" Blah blah blah. Under posted pictures of me I remember a couple of comments saying "Well we don't think she's plump enough, we don't think she's fat enough, and they've gone the Hollywood route and she's looks kind of mean." I thought,"I'm not mean, why would you say something like that?" But you know what you realize? You can't take that stuff too personally because they don't know you. And again you can't please everybody. (Poor girl must have stumbled upon this on ONTD!)
Brad Pitt is one of the producers of this film. Did you meet Brad?
McLean:I sure did!
And how is Brad?
McLean: Well, you know what? It was not as eventful as I thought it would be. It didn't dawn on me that it was him. I had already had my Eric Bana moment where I met him and I thought, "Oh he's so cute" but then after you're like "Whatever, he's Eric and he's the guy that's in the movie that I'm in." You totally get over it. So I think we were already two weeks in and Eric and I were finishing up a last shot, and this guy comes up to me and he's wearing a hat, and comes over and says "Hi Jane, I'm Brad, very nice to meet you." So I said "Oh, it's very nice to meet you, Brad." So we finish our shot, and I'm leaving and Brad says, "It's very nice to meet you, Jane," and I say, "Oh, it's very nice to meet you too."I take off in the car and the lovely driver says to me, "Oh, that Mr. Pitt's a really nice guy" and literally there was like a strong heart beat. Then it hit: "Oh my God, I just met Brad Pitt. Holy shit!" (Laughs). So I got on the phone and called my brother and I'm like "Oh my God, I just met Brad Pitt" and he's like "Oh my God, that's amazing!" (LOL CUTE.)
Okay, because we're talking about The Time Traveler's Wife, if you could time travel, what time period in your life would you go back to?
McLean: Hmm, that is tough! Do you know what? I would love to go back to the Philippines. I was born there. I came to Canada when I wasn't even a year old, so how fun would it be to go back to that time when you were a baby when you didn't have a worry in the world, you know what I mean? So I think it would be a great experience to go back and see through the eyes of a child. I'd go back to that time and just try and soak in what it was that I was soaking in at that time as a baby opening my eyes to all my new surroundings.
There's more at the (source), where she talks about how she got started in acting and some old work that she did (Dexter on Showtime). I think she sounds pretty likeable.
I'm super excited for this movie; I hope it gets at least a September release here in the Philippines. I'm also glad that a Filipina actually got cast for Charisse (who, for those who might not know, is Filipina).
Also while making this post I have realized I am severely lacking in Rachel McAdams gifs. Feel free to post them.