The cast of “The Good Lie” came by the HitFix studios this week so we could sit down to discuss the work they did in the film, and the way the movie manages to avoid some of Hollywood's most irritating bad habits.
First up, I spoke with Arnold Oceng and Kuoth Wiel. Oceng is the film's ostensible lead, although I think it's a fairly balanced movie overall in terms of the way it treats its ensemble cast. He's also the one cast member of the four main refugees with the most acting experience, and unsurprisingly, he was fairly poised in our interview.
Both Ger Duany and Emmanuel Jal have made documentaries about their experiences as Sudanese refugees, and they've built careers for themselves as artists as well. Jal is a rapper and musician, and Duany's been in other films, including “I Heart Huckabees.” Anyone who can survive being a child of war in the Sudan and being directed by David O. Russell is pretty much bulletproof at this point, so I suspect Duany will live to be a thousand years old.
What struck me about the entire cast is that they are genuinely enjoying the publicity process right now, which has been basically all of September for them, starting with the film's premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. They're all bright and funny, and they're justifiably proud of the movie they've made. It's been a long process for them, and it's important because this is a film that helps explain exactly who the Lost Boys of the Sudan were and are, and why this is a problem that isn't fixed or finished. There's still plenty to be done, and a film like “The Good Lie” manages to shine a light on that problem while also still working as a movie first and foremost. That's not an easy balance at all.
They had plenty of praise for the script by Margaret Nagle, and for Philippe Falardeau's work as a director, and it sounds to me like they all made the film they thought they were making, which is not always the case. It's got to be satisfying for them to know that they're going to help start a conversation that remains desperately important.
“The Good Lie” is in theaters today.