Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson & Jacob Tremblay
Based on the New York Times bestselling book, Wonder has so many rich themes that resonated with families all over. From shifting perspectives, to bullying, the balance of a family dynamic and interacting with those who look different from us, the story about a kid with facial differences about to enter the fifth grade become personal. Risen talked with Academy Award winner Julia Roberts, Oscar nominated actor Owen Wilson and eleven-year old Jacob Tremblay about meeting kids with facial differences, loving families and not playing favorites.
Interviewed for Risen Magazine in London, England
Risen Magazine: Julia, you read the book with your kids. What conversations did it create?
Julia Roberts: I read it myself and was so taken, that I came back from the trip I read it on and it became our night time book to read before bed. It’s interesting because the three of them, I have two boys and a girl, and they often will like a book in different ways. This was something that just had everyone absolutely captivated.
RM: Jacob, you morphed into this character physically. What was it like getting into the make-up and prosthetics?
Jacob Tremblay: I was in the make-up chair for two hours, and to take it off took a half hour. There were a bunch of different pieces – a neck piece, a face piece, and a helmet that was connected to a mechanism pulled down my lower eyelids. I had contact lenses and dentures, and then a wig.
RM: You actually met with kids that had facial differences and kept a journal. What was that experience like?
JT: It was really nice to meet all these kids. I got to go to a retreat where children and families affected by facial differences get together and have a good time. So I got to go there and I made a lot of friends. We found a group of children with facial differences in SickKids Hospital in Toronto, so I sent them a video asking them if they could send me any letters, or stories, or anything they wanted me to know. So I got back a lot of letters, and I put them in a binder, and then I read that binder before I did my scenes.
RM: Growing up with siblings, how did your parents give you individual attention or how are you doing it in your own family now?
Owen Wilson: Well, you don’t want to play favorites.
JR: Well, you don’t want the ones that aren’t being favored to know. [Laugher] That’s really the key. But I kind of make that a joke because with three kids, you can’t divide yourself by three. So, I’ll say, “I don’t have any favorites.” [At the same time pointing and mouthing you’re my favorite] And I’ll do it to all three of them. As a parent, I think the best thing you can let your kids know is you are doing the best you can.
RM: It’s so refreshing to see a family that loves each other on screen.
OW: There was one day before we went up to Vancouver where Julia had everyone over and I think meeting her family, and seeing her as a mom, I think all of that stuff helped.
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