Sandra Bullock stars in a new romantic thriller as a woman caught between what she knows is reality and a nightmare that she fears will come true. Alan Silverman has a look at Premonition.
The apparently idyllic life of suburban housewife Linda Hanson is devastated by what the police officer at the door tells her. Then she awakens the next morning to find her husband Jim in bed next to her and very much alive.
But when the pattern starts to repeat ...when she wakes up to find her family in mourning ...Linda begins to believe that she is experiencing a "premonition" and becomes determined to change the tragic fate it foretells.
Sandra Bullock stars as Linda and says she had to come to terms with her own beliefs about the unsettling feeling that something is about to happen.
"I do think that there is something to human nature. You can call it intuitiveness or 'gut instinct' ...people who know things that have happened. It has happened to a lot of people, so when someone says to me 'I had a bad feeling that something is going to happen and then it did,' I don't know how to explain it. It can't be explained by science, but I believe in that happening," Bullock says.
Julian McMahon, a co-star of the edgy TV series Nip/Tuck, plays Linda's husband, Jim. The Australia-born actor says his character is unaware of the fate his wife believes awaits him.
"He had to live his life normally, but with this wife of his who is becoming a little strange, telling him 'don't go to work tomorrow, don't go there, don't do this ...' crazy stuff and particularly at a point in time when their relationship is pretty far on the rocks. So I felt like my part was kind of to solidify things a little bit, just in regards to the fact that we were, at some point, a normal family and this is the way we live our life. While she's going all haywire, living days out of order and doing all that kind of stuff, still whenever she came back to us it was just kind of normal life," he says.
If it seems confusing to describe, Sandra Bullock says imagine what it was like to act that out.
"I had a really hard time. I thought I was going to lose it. I went to the director and said 'I'm having a hard time. I don't know what to do.' There was a smile on his face when he heard that and he said 'no, this is exactly where you need to be.' I answered 'no, it's not' ...but in my unraveling we played the levels right. We played the levels right. Is she just pure grief here? When does the grief go into denial and anger? And when does she get angry at [events]? You have to start infusing ...it just wasn't pretty," she says.
"For me it was important that you believe her emotional journey," says Director Mennan Yapo. He says he could not worry about loose ends in the plot that might confuse the audience. The German-born filmmaker says the film balances on believing in the emotions that Bullock's character is going through.
"Once you believe that, the details and all that become less important ...and they should, because at some point the story and the film should elevate into something else, and I feel it does. It goes to a place where you clearly understand that it's not only a thriller about this-and-that; it's about loss [and] much more. It's about what goes on inside of her."
Bullock says that once she accepted that premise and stopped questioning the details, she could take the character's emotional journey. "
It was all about 'what is Linda going through at this point? What did she do with her kids? What wouldn't she say? Why doesn't she say anything to him, because he's going to think she's crazier.' So you feel it when you see it, but you don't know it until the pieces get together. Then, at the end, there's that feeling of 'what would I have done? Would I have gone back and changed or would I have let him die?' What would you have done?"
Premonition is written by Bill Kelly. The cast also features Peter Stormare as a psychiatrist to whom Linda turns for answers; and Amber Valletta is a woman in the husband's life who may hold a key to averting the tragic outcome.