In July of 1974, Christine Chubbuck delivered a newscast in Sarasota, Florida and shot herself in the head on air during a live broadcast. If something like this happened today, it would be impossible to avoid the footage. Yet, somehow, for an event that happened in relative recent history, no footage exists and this story achieved a kind of like urban legend status – sometimes it was told in the same breath as the murderer hiding in the back seat.
Rebecca Hall has had a slew of great roles, but we haven’t really seen a true Rebecca Hall movie yet. But with Christine — which premiered here at the Sundance Film Festival – she gets that meaty leading role. Hall plays Christine Chubbuck as a determined, motivated woman who obviously had some demons. It’s a tough balancing act, because with this film, no one wants to use her death to sensationalize a movie, yet Christine herself seemed to want all of this sensationalized.
When you meet Rebecca Hall – as I did just off of Park City, Utah’s Main Street – she is much taller than you’d expect. Ahead, she discusses, as she says, the hardest role of her life. And she reflects a bit on her professional path, revealing the film that boosted her career above all others. She also reveals that her character in Iron Man 3, Maya Hansen, was supposed to have a very different fate than what we saw on screen.
I remember my parents telling me about this when I was seven or eight.
Because there was no Internet, I didn’t really know if it was true. It was almost an urban legend. Were you aware of this story before this project?
That’s really funny. You’re the first person I’ve come across who has said that. Even Craig didn’t know about it until he stumbled across it.
I didn’t think this was actually real until I was a teenager.
I’d never heard of it.
What was your reaction when you heard it? Were you like, “How have I not heard about this?”
A little bit, yeah.
Because you’d think this would be something people would talk about more.
And it’s not like it hasn’t had subsequent opportunities for the sort of publicity that it has now in the sense that Paddy Chayefsky was inspired by it [for Network, but that claim is disputed]. But even when that came out, you’d think that more people would talk about the fact that that was an inspiration and they don’t, really. Not that that matters. But yeah, it’s strange.
It’s really hard to find information on her.