May 14, 2013
Sunlight Jr. stars Naomi Watts and Matt Dillon as Melissa and Richie, a couple living on small wages and disability checks. They are thrilled to discover they are having a baby, but things get difficult when Melissa’s ex-boyfriend (Norman Reedus) tries to come back into her life and their financial situation goes further downhill. Check out what we learned about Sunlight Jr. on the red carpet during the film’s premiere at Tribeca Film Festival.
1. Naomi Watts was attracted to the role of Melissa because she’s a survivor. “What I liked in this character is that, yeah, times are tough, and yet she still managed to have a sense of sweetness to her. They’re both survivors,” she said. “It just felt very real to me, particularly in current times, and human. It’s not the American dream that they’re living, but yet it’s one that’s very well known by a lot of people in this country.”
2. The film was low budget and didn’t allow for a dialect coach to constantly be on set, so Matt Dillon helped Watts perfect her southern accent for her role.
3. Sunlight Jr. director and writer Laurie Collyer was inspired by the book “Nickeled and Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich and originally thought she was meant to create a documentary. “For a long time I thought I had to write a documentary and then I woke up one day and I was like, ‘Actually, you’re a writer, Laurie.’”
4. Norman Reedus calls his character Justin a jerk. “I’m a total jerk, I’m the worst. I mean, you get to work with Naomi Watts and Matt Dillon and such high caliber actors, and I was just a jerk.” When asked if it was easy to play that kind of role, he said, “It wasn’t that hard. What was hard was apologizing for what I was doing! ‘I’m sorry, Naomi, what I did today, I’m sorry what I’m going to do to you tomorrow.’”
5. Reedus first became interested in the film after reading the script. “It’s just real,” he said. “I like real scripts. It’s a tragedy what happens, but its life. It’s very much a slice of dark life.” He also added that he loved working with Collyer. “She’s got this quality about her that really lets you know she trusts you, so you try really hard to do a good job for her.”