“There’s genuine affection between these people,” reveals Tracy Letts (watch above) when asked about the dynamic between his character and Rebecca Hall’s in “Christine.” Directed by Antonio Campos, the film recreates the shocking true story of Florida news reporter Christine Chubbuck (Hall), who in 1974 committed suicide on live television following years of depression. Letts plays Michael, the station manager pressuring Christine to bring in juicier news stories to help boost the ratings.
“He’s not just a hard-ass boss chewing out an employee,” Letts explains. “I think he really likes and respects his reporter, and I think, in fact, she understands what it is he’s trying to do with the station, but they’re at logger-heads over this issue of what constitutes real journalism over sensationalism.”
That conflict between journalistic integrity and commerce is nothing new, Letts believes. “I think you could really draw a line between the invention of television and where we are now in the intersection between news and entertainment,” he divulges. “The truth is, there are examples of that going back to kids who are trapped in wells and mines, as well as where we are now in our current presidential cycles.”
This talented multi-hyphenate won a Pulitzer Prize for his play “August: Osage County” (2008) and a Tony his leading role in the Edward Albee domestic drama “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (2013). “When you win them, they feel like wonderful encouragement,” he says of the honors. However, “it’s nothing to retire on. If anything, it’s just something that keeps me going, keeps me moving forward.”
“Christine” opens in New York on Oct. 14 and in Los Angeles and other select cities on Oct. 21.
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