It was actor Julia Roberts who urged writer-director Peter Hedges to cast his son Lucas Hedges in the title role of Ben Is Back after seeing his spectacular performance in Manchester by the Sea.
“When I found out that Julia Roberts wanted me to play Ben in this movie, it was crazy,” said Lucas.
“She seemed like somebody from a far-off land. The fact that she wanted me to act with her was incredibly flattering. Then I read the script and I was really blown away by it.”
Directed by Peter Hedges, the film is about a nineteen-year-old Ben Burns (Lucas Hedges) who unexpectedly returns home to his family’s suburban home on Christmas Eve morning. Ben’s mother, Holly (Julia Roberts), is relieved and welcoming but wary of her son staying clean. Over a turbulent 24 hours, new truths are revealed, and a mother’s undying love for her son is tested as she does everything in her power to keep him safe.
Speaking about his role in the movie, Lucas said, “For my entire life, I’ve always made it clear to my dad that I would never act in a movie of his. The thought of doing it has always made me really uncomfortable because it just seemed awkward and weird. I knew my dad was making this movie but I didn’t even know there was a part for a person my age — although he later told me he wrote it for me.”
Once he agreed to take on the role, Lucas Hedges threw himself into learning about the affliction that drives his character. “I tried to get as much information as I could about what it’s like to get to the point where you do these really harmful things to yourself just so you can get high,” he added.
Ben Is Back hits Indian screens on December 14.
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