“I never lost the feeling that I had when I first read the book. I never lost the feeling that it was such a redemptive story and a story from a broken human spirit and that journey through and into the light, ” said A Million Little Pieces director Sam Taylor-Johnson despite the controversy surrounding the film’s source material.
Sam Taylor-Johnson film adaptation is based on James Frey’s book of the same title, which was initially touted as a memoir about his experience as a meth-addicted writer in a drug rehab facility in Minnesota before it was unveiled that some events detailed in the book were fabricated.
“It just felt like a powerful story that as relevant today as it was then,” said Sam.
The screenplay was written by Sam Taylor-Johnson and her real-life husband Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who stars as James in the film, which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
To prepare for the role of the drug-addled scribe, Aaron Taylor-Johnson had to lose a significant amount of weight and “spent a lot of time around many different addicts in different realms, whether it be alcohol or drugs, and looked them in the eyes and saw a sadness and that depth of darkness… it’s not an easy journey to play,” said Aaron.
“You prepare yourself as much as possible and you then you get on set and I put my hands and trust in the director and luckily we have a lot of trust between one another,” he added.
For actress Odessa Young, “despite all the scandal, it’s still a real story. The moment the penny dropped that we were bringing these real people, with these tragic elements of their life, bringing that life on a cinematic screen was one of the most gratifying things I’ve ever felt.”
Check out the rest of the interview from Deadline’s TIFF studio above.