DAILYNEWS – How do you play a teenager with leukemia? By not stressing the leukemia.
“I saw her as everything else but her illness,” actress Olivia Cooke told the audience Jan. 25 at the Eccles Theatre, after the premiere of “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.
Cooke plays the third part of that title, Rachel, a high-schooler who learns she has stage 4 leukemia. She is reluctantly befriended by Greg (Thomas Mann), a self-loathing loner who makes amateur movies with his only friend, Earl (RJ Cyler).
Cooke, sporting a Manchester accent she hid successfully in the film, said that “when I read the script, I knew I would have done anything to be in it.” (Going by her pixie hairdo, “anything” included shaving her head to show Rachel in midchemo.)
Mann had a similar feeling about the script.
“I just knew that I wanted to do it,” he said. “I saw a lot of myself in (Greg).”
The script was written by Jesse Andrews, the author of the novel on which it was based. Andrews had never written a screenplay before and received this advice from a producer: “Get Final Draft and type anything and it will be legit.”
When asked if there was anything in the book that didn’t survive to the movie, Andrews joked, “It’s not in space anymore, so that’s probably the biggest change.”
The movie also stars Connie Britton, Molly Shannon and Nick Offerman.
I have added 2 pictures of Olivia at The Hollywood Reporter Studio at Sundance on Monday, Jan. 26, 2015
VARIETY – Fox Searchlight has closed to pick up “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” Variety has learned.
It’s easy to understand the studio’s enthusiasm. The dramedy about a high school student who is basically strong-armed into befriending a classmate with cancer earned a standing ovation when it debuted at the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday.
In a laudatory review, Variety’s Peter Debruge wrote that the film “has the potential to outperform last year’s ‘The Fault in Our Stars.” He praised the picture for mixing in laughter and pathos.
Following a pitched fight to land festival favorite “Dope,” which resulted in Open Road walking away with the film for $7 million, the battle to nab “Me and Earl” looked like it could have been another big slug-fest.
Alfonso Gomez-Rejon directed the picture, which Jesse Andrews adapted from his book. Thomas Mann, Olivia Cooke, RJ Cyler, Nick Offerman, Molly Shannon, Jon Bernthal and Connie Britton star in the film. WME is handling sales for the picture.
Olivia attended the premiere of Me And Earl And THe Dying Girl at the Sundance Film Festival. I have added some pictures to the gallery