The Greatest Hits Stars Lucy Boynton and Justin H. Min Talk the Lovely Music-Driven Romance

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After a premiere at the SXSW Film Festival last month, Ned Benson’s romantic drama The Greatest Hits is making its way to streaming on Hulu. The film, a love story with a unique sci-fi twist, is a crowd-pleasing charmer, and much of that is thanks to its stars, Lucy Boynton (Bohemian Rhapsody) and Justin H. Min (The Umbrella Academy).

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We at FandomWire had the opportunity to speak with Boynton and Min about their roles in the film before its release. Keep reading to find out what they had to say.

The Greatest Hits Interview

In the film, Boynton plays a character with a unique condition: any time she hears a song, she is transported back in time to the last time and place she heard it with her late boyfriend (David Corsenwet). We asked Boynton and Min if they were in the same situation, which song they would use to travel back to a fond memory:

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I would listen to Whitney’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’,” says Boynton. “My best friend Elle and I listened to that on repeat when we were about 13 or 14. It was when you were just old enough to feel like an actual person but still totally carefree, a young child. It was like sleepovers at her house and stuff and just pure joy. I’d so love to relive that.”

Mine would be ‘Freeze’ by Kygo,” Min adds. “I’m not a big partier, but that particular night, I decided to let loose, and it was just one of those magical nights of partying that you get once in a lifetime. It’s like everything’s right: the vibes are right, the alcohol is hitting, and you’re just having a good time. And I’d definitely time-travel back to that moment.”

Indeed, this time-travel device functions as a compelling exploration of the connective power of music. In the film, writer-director Ned Benson explores how music, memory, and emotion are all inextricably linked. We asked Boynton and Min why this theme resonated with them. They said:

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I think it’s realizing that I use music in the same way that Harriet does,” explains Boynton. “Ned [Benson] keeps referring to music as a nostalgia machine, and I think that’s a perfect articulation of it. All of my playlists are littered with songs that take me right back to the time, place, and person who introduced it to me. And so I love that tool.”

“Just to echo Lucy’s sentiment, it’s exactly the same for me,” says Min. “I think music is so amazing because it can be used as an amplifier. If you want to be in your feels, if you want to amplify anything that you’re currently feeling, you can listen to that. And it can also do the antithesis, which is to take you out of particular emotions that you might not want to be in. And I do that all the time. It’s in my toolkit of things that I use for daily living.”

And as far as movies featuring stellar soundtracks go, The Greatest Hits is a rarity: most of the music choices had been written into the script. We asked Boynton how this affected her process as an actress.

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“I think it was such a gift,” she asserts. “Because most of those songs were already in the script, the first draft I read, and very few of them actually changed to the final piece. And so it was kind of access in a way to the audience’s experience of the scene, which is a really useful tool to have. But also, it would just cut right to the core of the tone of the scene. So you can live in that headspace in a much more visceral and tangible way. So I always had the headphones on, listening to the song that I knew would be used.”

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Lucy Boynton in THE GREATEST HITS. Photo by Merie Weismiller Wallace, Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2024 Searchlight Pictures All Rights Reserved.

Also Read: The Greatest Hits SXSW Review: Music-Filled Romance is Undeniably Charming

Of course, as with any great music movie, vinyl records are a big part of the story. We asked the cast if they enjoy vinyl or gravitate towards more digital music nowadays.

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I think more frequently, it’s digital, just for the sake of modern convenience,” says Boynton. “I’m glued to my phone, which is the source of all music. But I have a turntable at home. And I’m constantly exchanging vinyls with my dad, which is the core of our relationship. So that’s been so beautiful and important to have something so tangible and the sound obviously is like nothing else. It’s like that crunch of being in the room or the way that it was supposed to be heard. It’s just magical.”

Min jokes, “I carry my vinyl player wherever I go. I wear it as a backpack!” He laughs. “No, I’m the same. I have one. It’s funny; I got one first to impress this girl that I was dating — to make myself seem cooler than I actually was. But actually, through the process, I really did fall in love with vinyl. And now, it’s part of my home, and I listen to it from time to time. But yeah, of course, it’s just easier to pop on Spotify when you need a track and listen to that as you go.”

For Boynton, The Greatest Hits is not the first film she’s been in that features music as a prominent element. She’s had notable roles in movies like Sing Street, Bohemian Rhapsody, and Chevalier. We asked what draws her to this type of concept.

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“I think I’m interested in music being utilized in such a tangible way,” Boynton explains. “I keep gravitating towards these films because of this intense relationship with music. So I love a film like this, that in such a deliberate way to affect both character and audience. I think music, more than any other art form, cuts right to the core.

So, a film that really addresses that is beautiful. The other musical films I’ve done, there’s a ton of that. And personally, when researching for those films, I was doing the same kind of research into my own relationship with music. But this one really confronts that head-on. I was excited to explore that and also have that be a catalyst for the audience to do so as well.”

“You have to play someone who’s deaf next,” Min interjects with a smile.

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“And do an entirely silent film,” Boynton responds, laughing.

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However, for Min, a role like The Greatest Hits is something out of the ordinary. We joked that unless you count the dance sequence at the beginning of After Yang, he hasn’t really done anything with music as such a prominent element — at least not to the same level as Boynton. However, this might have been more rewarding than challenging for the budding actor. 

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Yet, despite the many incredible, high-profile credits on their resumes, Boynton and Min continue to return to more low-key, indie projects like The Greatest Hits. We asked them what the draw of independent productions is for them.

I think it’s a much more collaborative process and much more of a group project,” says Boynton confidently. “You are so much more in contact and connection with the rest of the cast and the crew. The constraints of time and budget and scheduling make for a really intense experience, but one that is so bonding. And it’s really lovely to feel like a kind of permanent contributor when you’re all meshed together, creating it. So yeah, I love it. And I’ll always keep going back to them.”

“I agree completely,” concurs Min. “I think the bigger projects — they’re amazing in their own right — but when you have that many cooks in the kitchen, when you have so many moving parts, you’re playing a very small piece of that puzzle. And you’re sort of there for a very specific thing. There’s not a lot of range for you to do anything outside of that because there are all of these moving parts.

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Sometimes for CGI, on a technical level, you need to be standing in one particular place and moving in a particular way for that to be successful. But as Lucy was just pointing out, for projects like this, it is so much more collaborative; it is open, and you feel like you really have free range and ownership about who these characters are and what you want to bring.”

The Greatest Hits is now streaming on Hulu.

Also Read: The Greatest Hits Director Ned Benson and Composer Ryan Lott Discuss the Musicality of Their New Film

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Written by Sean Boelman

Articles Published: 162

Sean is a film critic, filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include music documentaries, heist movies, and experimental horror.