The Cast of ‘The Odd Life of Timothy Green’ Tell Us All About Their Magical Film
Disney’s latest live-action film, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, tells the story of a infertile couple who wish so hard for a child that one literally grows out of their garden. Timothy is a miracle, and not just because of the leaves that grow on his legs, but more importantly, he is a chance for Jim and Cindy Green (played by Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton) to be the parents they’ve always wanted to be while figuring out how to be the parents that a child needs.
Recently, Film Equals and a few other journalists sat down with stars Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, CJ Adams (Timothy) and director Peter Hedges to discuss this magical new movie.
About the Magic of Timothy Green
CJ Adams might be young (he was ten during filming), but he had a very clear picture of his character. “When I first heard of him, I kinda thought (of) him as a gift of, from God, like, he sent down Timothy to teach these people to have children, to start another life.”
Edgerton pointed out that Timothy’s origins shouldn’t overshadow the film, though. “If you can’t believe that conceit of it, then you might as well go home. It’s not Peter’s job, really, to try and over-explain the science of, uh, the magic, ‘cause it’s just magic.”
About Creating a Magical Family Dynamic
“Joel and I worked like parents with (CJ),” Garner said. “Working on a film is hard. As a kid, being caked in mud for twelve, you know, eight hours at a time, under hot lights, and having to be sprayed down to keep the mud looking moist, that’s a bummer. He was a super trooper about it. I would say that Joel entertained him and I made sure he had snacks and bathroom breaks.”
CJ agreed. “(Joel) taught me a couple cool magic tricks, but working with him was the best, because he would always crack a joke between a scene, and he would always stick up for me, like, cover my back, and if I’m in trouble or anything like that, ‘cause he’s big and tough.”
“He really looked up to me in a way that I found flattering and confusing,” Edgerton admitted. “I think it’s amazing how children can really kind of worship you in a way that makes you…look at yourself and go, ‘Am I really that amazing?'”
On Whether the Fertility Issue Was Hard to Play
Although she has children of her own, Garner said, “I could definitely relate to the longing and relate to how much once you’re ready for a baby, you are really ready, right then, and you have this enormous fear it isn’t going to work.”
“This was about a family, a couple who want what comes so easily to most people,” Hedges confirmed. “I know people, people very close to me haven’t been able to have kids and I’ve watched them bankrupt themselves trying to get pregnant.” He went on to say, “The movies that I go back to, time and time again, are the movies that…make me see differently…or what I take for granted. I felt like here was an opportunity to make one of those films.”
On Whether This Is a Sad Film
Edgerton had this to say. “I call ‘em the happy cry movies, is that, you know, it’s that thing when a kind of a mystical stranger kind of rides into town, changes everybody around a little bit and their thinking, and then inevitably, they have to go. And it’s the going that’s really sad. But it’s what they’ve left behind that, uh, is really special.”
“One of the goals was to put something really beautiful in the world, but also to find beauty in the ordinary,” Hedges said. “It’s a movie about nature, and I wanted the leaves falling to align with Timothy’s leaves. I think autumn is such a, a mournful and wonderful time. It’s when you feel the beauty, but you also feel that it’s fading.”
On what Jim and Cindy’s Relationship with Timothy Says About Parenting
“I’m very proud of the scene in the movie where they say, ‘We don’t know anything. We, we’re, we’re idiots. We’re horrible at this.'” Hedges laughed, “The fact of the matter is…I don’t know a parent who hasn’t had that conversation with themselves.”
Garner admitted, “My most favorite moment(s) were the moments that felt really true to me, like her over-packing (Timothy’s) backpack. She didn’t get a diaper bag. So you see her as if she’s a new Mom with her first diaper bag.”
Although Edgerton doesn’t have kids, he still took away a few parenting lessons from the film. “One of them that I find very, very potent in the movie is…that a child is their own human, that you can’t relive your life through a child. Yyou’re there to kind of get in their way enough, but not get in their way too much.”
On What Makes this So Movie Special
“It’s a fable,” according to Edgerton. “It’s real life with magic dust on it. Strangely enough, those movies with a bit of magic dust kinda say more about real life.” He smiled as he added, “Fables have this cheeky way of leaving messages in your pockets, you know.”
Edgerton went on, “What Peter’s striving to do is make a movie where the chest cavity is just opened, like, you can see the heart. The risk is that it becomes too cheesy or corny, but the benefits are that you really, you really feel something. And I love that.”
The Odd Life of Timothy Green opens in theatres nationwide on Wednesday, August 15th.