Courtney Hunt (director of “The Whole Truth”)
In this interview, the Critic and the Referee have the pleasure of talking to Courtney Hunt, the director of “The Whole Truth.” This film stars — just to name a few — Keanu Reeves, Renée Zellweger, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Jim Belushi. Courtney also wrote and directed 2008’s “Frozen River,” a marvelous film that stars Melissa Leo. Listen to Courtney discuss how she became attached to “The Whole Truth,” worked with her strong cast, and much more!
About “The Whole Truth”
For our review, click here!
In theaters and On Demand October 21, 2016.
From Lionsgate Premiere: Defense attorney Richard Ramsay (Keanu Reeves) takes on a personal case when he swears to his widowed friend, Loretta Lassiter (Renée Zellweger), that he will keep her son Mike (Gabriel Basso) out of prison. Charged with murdering his father, Mike initially confesses to the crime. But as the trial proceeds, chilling evidence about the kind of man that Boone Lassiter (Jim Belushi) really was comes to light. While Ramsay uses the evidence to get his client acquitted, his new colleague Janelle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) tries to dig deeper – and begins to realize that the whole truth is something she alone can uncover.
Starring Keanu Reeves, Renée Zellweger, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Gabriel Basso, and Jim Belushi
Directed by Courtney Hunt
Written by Rafael Jackson
Produced by Anthony Bregman, Kevin Frakes, Elon Dershowitz, and Raj Brinder Singh
Runtime: 94 minutes
More About Courtney Hunt
COURTNEY HUNT’s (Director) feature film, Frozen River, starring Melissa Leo, won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and was released by Sony Pictures Classics in August of 2008. The film received widespread critical acclaim and won best film at the 2008 Gotham Awards, the Stockholm Film Festival, and others. It was nominated for seven Independent Spirit Awards. Hunt was also awarded Best First Film by the New York Film Critics Circle and Best Debut Director by the National Board of Review. In 2009, the film was nominated for two Academy Awards®, including Best Original Screenplay for Hunt and Best Actress for Melissa Leo. Hunt has also directed episodes of HBO’s series, “In Treatment,” starring Gabriel Byrne and “Law and Order SVU.” She has written screenplays for Focus Features and NBC, where she was hired to write and direct the Hillary Clinton miniseries. She attended Columbia University and earned a juris doctor from Northeastern School of Law. Her thesis film, Althea Faught, a Civil War short, was sold to PBS. Her next project is a period drama that takes place in New York City in 1904. She lives in Columbia County with her husband, lawyer and producer Donald Harwood.
1. THE WHOLE TRUTH is essentially a thriller, courtroom drama that peels back the layers of the “truth” behind the death of Boone, played by Jim Belushi. To help you tell the story, you included some very familiar faces. Tell us how you, along with Keanu, Renee, Gugu, and Jim, became attached to the project.
2. Courtney, you’re not only a director but also a screenwriter. Plus, you’re a trained lawyer, and you’ve second-seated many criminal trials. So, how did all of your previous experiences inform the way you directed the cast and Rafael Jackson’s script?
3. Keanu’s voiceover throughout the film, as well as Renee’s damsel in distress, really felt like a nostalgic nod to film noir that we don’t often see in courtroom dramas. There’s a large element of suspense, as well. What was the process like for you to manage those genres in this film?
4. Originally, THE WHOLE TRUTH was set in Boston. Then, the location was changed to New Orleans. What effect did New Orleans have on the outcome of this film?
5. This was the second feature film you directed, with, of course, FROZEN RIVER, (which you also wrote) being your first. While both were undoubtedly two different filmmaking experiences at different points in your career, tell us how you were able to build on FROZEN RIVER and your television work for this project.
6. Here on Why Watch That, we always end our interviews by asking our guests which movies and TV shows they’re watching right now. So, Courtney, what are you watching?