Y’all! I loved RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE so much and was stoked to be able to ask Jay Baruchel a question about it during a press roundtable, First of all, let me say that this was one of the best press roundtables I’ve been to (virtually, of course), and Jay was gracious and kind and omg obviously such a horror nerd! I could listen to this man talk about movies all day, e’ry day.
Anyway, I had to ask him specifically about the character of Kathy (played by Jordana Brewster) in the film, and how different she was from her brief appearance in the book:
AMIE: One of the things I loved about the film was the way that you expanded the character of Kathy in the movie. Can you talk a little bit more about making that decision, and why?
JAY: Yeah, we wanted her to have as much to do as she could. And then we kind of realized that we’re on Todd’s journey, but she’s the one that faces all the consequences; the cost is in large part, hers. And we realized we could say something about people in close proximity to artists.
You know if you’ve ever watched, or read, a rock documentary, you have these artists who are tremendously important to the world and to history. And yet, seem to be crappy dads, or boyfriends, or husbands. There’s something about being close to that; having thrown your lot in, and given your heart to someone who will never be a true partner. Never be the #1 priority, as long as they are prey to their creativity.
I would argue that if a life without art is not worth living; that art without a life is not worth experiencing. So we wanted to reflect that, and then we also kind of realized that she was the conscience of the thing. She was someone that got it right. She was a bonafide artist with a voice and stuff to say, but she would never put any of that above her family. And she made the mistake of pairing up with someone who didn’t necessarily subscribe to that same thing.
And if the whole thing was about people trafficking in victim experience, and having been forced to live it – we needed somebody else to expound and reflect that viewpoint. It was also a function of the dialog we were having amongst ourselves [Jay and his RAOV co-writer, Jesse Chabot] about trying to temper our fascination with our morals. The older we got; the less obvious and the less easy it became to just enjoy stuff for the sake of it. The more we were faced with asking ourselves certain questions. I think a lot of it comes from us having spent years writing “another” horror movie — and then stopping. And then realizing we weren’t approaching this in a more responsible way. That we were exploiting and kind of making cheap a real, dreadful experience for a lot of people in the world. And that was fuckin’ irresponsible. If we were THERE, and we were the people we were writing about, and saw some people with an experience far safer than theirs writing and making a thing that was capitalizing on something that was really awful to them – it wouldn’t sit well with us! So she became the voice of all that shit.
She became the embodiment of everyone being close to an artist and suffering, and someone being on the right side of history — close to someone who maybe not might be.
Wow. I …. I just. OMG I am seriously crushing on Jay right now! Seriously, seriously CRUSHING.
If you want to read what else Jay had to say about the film, you can find the rest of the roundtable interview pieces at the following publications: