Edson Oda’s feature film debut Nine days It may be a highly conceptual origin story with supernatural twists and turns, but it’s first and foremost a moving and stimulating look at the nature of life and existence.
Winston Duke plays Will, an arbiter who decides which unborn soul is worthy of the gift of life. During the selection process, a number of candidates with vastly different personalities went through the selection process, including two-time Emmy Award winners. Veep and Development caught Tony Hale’s Alexander star, This is us Arianna Ortiz’s Maria alumni and actor, writer and filmmaker David Rysdahl’s Mike.
In an exclusive chat with We Got This Covered, the trio provide their insights on Nine days, how similar they are to their characters and what they would do if put in a similar situation, you can see below.
On paper, Alexander, Mike, and Maria could be broadly described as cynical, pessimistic, and romantic. Does that reflect yourself on a personal level or are you encouraged to create the character the way you imagine it to be in the context of the story?
Arianna Ortiz: That is a great question.
Tony Hale: That is. I’m a dark geezer, Scott. All songs for me.
Arianna Ortiz: I don’t know if I’m very romantic, I’m extremely pragmatic. When my husband tried to flirt with me, I said, ‘Whatever. Who are you really? Do the hard things’. So I don’t know, how about you, David?
David Rysdahl: I mean, I can be pretty sensitive. I’m assuming I’m the pessimist in this example, right? I guess I can be quite pessimistic. I try to fight that part of me a lot, I guess fighting isn’t a great word, but I try… There are parts of me that are like Mike, for sure.
Arianna Ortiz: I think Mike is more sensitive than pessimistic.
David Rysdahl: Yeah yeah yeah. He may be pessimistic in his perception of his life in the world, what he can do, but I think being sensitive can be self-destructive, for sure. I can match some of that, for sure.
Arianna Ortiz: Maybe a lot of artists can.
Tony Hale: I would say that there is a real gift to have Edson as both the screenwriter and the director, because there’s been a lot of conversations just like ‘Who are these people?’, where do they come from. He can give all of these classes to us, so having it on a project is always a real gift.
Nine Days is a personal film, but it’s full of universal themes we can all relate to, isn’t that the key to trying to maintain a balance between broad content and content? Intimate content with your characters?
Tony Hale: God, you have good questions, and you have a great voice, man, like the whole package is great!
Arianna Ortiz: Well, I think when you’re an actor and you’re playing a character, you’re also trying to bring Edson’s vision to life. And I think in many ways, our job is to make the story as much as possible. Like really, in a way, let the themes go through existence and discovery, and these characters live on these journeys. And we talked about that a lot in our rehearsals and discussions, to bring us to the same page as these brand new souls, as we were beginning to experience this past life. And I think it’s really hard, and we’re very lucky that Edson has such a good director.
David Rysdahl: I think, based on that, you’re just showing the fidelity of the scene, and hopefully we trust the themes will be there, that the universal themes will be there. I just played my key role at the time, and then trusted that the rest of the cast, crew, and Edson would have the rest.
Tony Hale: But great, everyone loves what it’s saying. ‘Oh, we’re missing out on the little moments in life, we don’t, I don’t appreciate life’. Here, I’m playing a soul that’s desperate for life, and it’s like, ‘I have a life and I’m missing out on all the moments that I should cherish’. Because we all had that. But from David’s point of view, I was the part of this puzzle that I had to focus on, but then most of our discussions revolved around those topics.
Based on what you’ve told me about how close you guys are to your characters, if you’re in the movie and have to pick a moment to reminisce before ending with [Winston Duke’s] Will, what will you choose?
Arianna Ortiz: Specifically with Will? That is a good question.
Tony Hale: I like to talk to him. I know it was giving something away, but he was as present and he was in such a controlled place in our lives, or our possible lives. I really enjoyed just telling him, I think it’s an interesting thing.
Arianna Ortiz: It’s hard to answer, because I’m only related to Will as Maria. So if it were me, Arianna, I think I’d lose a lot more patience with this process.
Tony Hale: Oh shoot, I did it wrong! I, Tony, don’t want to tell Winston!
David Rysdahl: It’s hard, because the idea of reliving a moment feels like it must be very sad. In retrospect, part of it is beautiful if you’re living in a moment that you haven’t experienced, you know? And like, David experienced life, like reliving a moment that would be full of nostalgia and trying to hold on to that, compared to the characters in this living something they haven’t experienced, and they have a sense of what the beauty of that thing is.
And I’m thinking too much about the question, which is what Mike should do. I don’t know if I will go back and experience another moment in my life, I don’t know. Maybe I will. I do it all the time in my memory, but I don’t know. I’m answering your question by not answering it!
Arianna Ortiz: This is not an easy question to answer.
Tony Hale: I don’t think any of us got the answer he asked for! I completely missed the marker, so maybe lump it all together into a great answer. From all of us!
I’ll make it work, I’ll find something out of it.
Tony Hale: Oh yes, feel free to edit the crap in that situation!
That concludes our interviews with Tony Hale, Arianna Ortiz, and David Rysdahl. Nine days will hit theaters on July 30 with a limited release, before opening nationwide on August 6.
https://wegotthiscovered.com/movies/exclusive-interview-tony-hale-arianna-ortiz-and-david-rysdahl-talk-nine-days/ | Tony Hale, Arianna Ortiz and David Rysdahl Talk Nine Days