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The Son: Oscar Winner Florian Zeller On Mental Health, Reuniting With Anthony Hopkins, & More (EXCLUSIVE)

The Son: Oscar Winner Florian Zeller On Mental Health, Reuniting With Anthony Hopkins, & More (EXCLUSIVE)

We had the chance to speak with academy award winner Florian Zeller, director of The Son, now out in theatres. Our interview took place on January 11th, a few hours away from the beginning of the ceremony at the Golden Globes, where Hugh Jackman was nominated for a Golden Globes Best Actor in a Motion Picture for his role in The Son. The film also stars Laura Dern, Vanessa Kirby, Anthony Hopkins, and Zen McGrath. 

Florian Zeller won an Academy Award for best-adapted screenplay in 2021 for his film The Father. The film starred Olivia Colman and Anthony Hopkins, who also won an Oscar for his portrayal of Anthony, a man suffering from dementia and refusing help from his daughter.

Florian Zeller The Son Interview

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In The Son, Zeller tackles the subject of mental health inside a family. Nicholas, played by Zen McGrath, has trouble getting along with his mother (Laura Dern) and has even been missing school for weeks. He moves in with his father, Peter (Hugh Jackman), his new wife Beth, (Vanessa Kirby), and their newborn baby.

You can listen to our full interview with The Son director Florian Zeller down below:

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Anthony Hopkins once again joins Florian Zeller in the role of Peter’s father. His reunion with Anthony Hopkins felt like a full-circle moment. Zeller told us:

I come from theatre, and I love the idea of a troup, like you have a family and it’s very profound. And making a film, it’s a very emotional journey. We went through it with Anthony, so we are very very close. And to be honest, he’s the very first person who read the script. When I finished the script I just sent it to him and I really wanted him to be a part of it (…) because I knew that (…) this scene would become a pivotal scene in the film.”

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He continued:

It’s told from Hugh Jackman’s perspective, and we understand, at some point, that he’s also a son. And he probably is The Son, in the story.”

In terms of the casting process, Florian Zeller lived the dream of any film director. Indeed, Hugh Jackman himself sent the French director a letter, to convince him to give him the part. 

Hugh Jackman is an extraordinary actor and he’s also an extraordinary human being. (…) For me, it was really important to have someone like Hugh where you can feel that he’s a good person, and a caring father, a loving father. (…) When I met him, I really felt that who he is, as a person, would give the character that dimension.”

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Written by Maëlle Beauget-Uhl

Reporter and news writer with an educational background in broadcast journalism at the New York Film Academy and a professional background in entertainment reporting and news writing.