“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.

Deadline Studio at TIFF 2018 presented by eOne. Special thanks to sponsor Watford Group, and partners Calii LoveLove Child Social, and Barocco Coffee.