Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks are related and just don't know it. Thus is the premise of People Like Us, arriving in theaters June 29. Movie Fanatic caught up with the two stars to get inside their astounding film that also stars Michelle Pfeiffer in an Oscar-worthy turn. We even get them to talk sequels -- Star Trek 2 and Catching Fire -- and the pressure involved in following up a blockbuster.
In People Like Us, Pine begins the film being summoned to California from his East Coast home for his father's funeral. He is clearly not thrilled about going as their relationship is more than a little complicated. Meanwhile, Banks reads about her father's funeral in the newspaper; she has not had a relationship with him since she was eight. Banks and Pine's lives will collide during the film's remaining 90 minutes with a powerful emotional punch.
Banks believes that her latest film is a classic family tale told through a new set of circumstances. "I like to say about this movie, we don't get to choose our family, but we do get to choose to love our family and to like our family and to have forgiveness and grace with our family," she said. "That's the place where I feel like Chris and I get to in this film."
The actress also finds a lesson about forgiveness in the film. "Our past does not determine our future. There is a way to just go forward with grace and positivity," Banks added.
People Like Us found the film's storyline more resonant than Pine could have expected. "It's been interesting going around the country talking about the film. Without fail in every city someone has had this same story happen to them," Pine said.
"I originally thought, 'Maybe it's not all that relatable, because who's got secret families?' We encounter people all the time that say that it's happened to them."
The story is loosely based on director Alex Kurtzman's life when he discovered he had a sister when he turned 30. Having a helmer too personally attached to the story, Pine admits, could have been a challenge. Not so with Kurtzman.
"My concern early on was that, because he'd spent so much time writing the film, that it could very well be precious to him. It would be something that he would want to protect with too much control. For an actor, that's no fun," Pine said. "Alex, very graciously and without fail, every step along the way, gave up his script to us and said, 'Try to make it better.'"Â
Banks' character learns more about her father after his death than when he walked this earth. People Like Us paints an interesting picture when it comes to our relationship with our fathers.
"Well, we all have daddies... that's just reality," Banks said and laughed. "Part of the thing about this movie is we all want to know that our daddy loved us at the end of the day. I think that that hopefully is kind of the resonant pitch of our film," Banks said. "And, at the end of this movie, we get an answer."
Finally, Movie Fanatic cannot let them go without talking about being a part of two enormous franchises, Star Trek and The Hunger Games, both moving forward with sequels.
For Pine, the success of J.J. Abrams' film is why he is sitting here talking about People Like Us. "Star Trek gave me the opportunity to do a film like this and to have it seen," he said. "I owe Star Trek the pop in my career."Â
For Banks, the success of The Hunger Games means one thing and it is all that matters to the actress -- and it is quite similar to the feelings of her current co-star. "To me, I don't do this job for myself. I do it to connect with people, and when you're in a big franchise, you connect with a lot of people. Hopefully it means that more people see the work, and that's why they let the two of us make movies like this, because they think people will come and see it."
Her greatest thrill, though, in all this The Hunger Games success may surprise you. "There'll be a lot of Effies at Halloween," Banks said and smiled.