What happens when the person that’s supposed to keep you safe and protected is the one that you should fear the most? That’s what Chloe learns in the newly released thriller, RUN, from Searching director, Aneesh Chaganty. In RUN, there is something unnatural, even sinister about the relationship between Chloe (Kiera Allen) and her mom, Diane (Sarah Paulson). Diane has raised her daughter in total isolation, controlling every move she’s made since birth, and there are secrets that Chloe’s only beginning to grasp.
Leading up to the release of RUN, I had the chance to attend a roundtable interview featuring the cast and crew of the film. During the interview, Sarah Paulson and Kiera Allen discussed what made them want to be a part of the film whereas director Aneesh Chaganty discussed the importance of representations and the research that went into accurately writing a character with a disability.
Thank you all so much for speaking with me today. Kiera and Sarah, when you were reading the script was there a certain moment when you knew you wanted to be part of this film?
Kiera Allen: I think for me, I read it all in one sitting, it was all kind of in one gulp. I knew from how engrossed I was that like, I don’t even remember there being a moment. It went so quick. All I was thinking about was the next line. When I got to the end, I was hit with that feeling of like, “Oh my God, if I read the script and I don’t get to do this part, that will be the worst thing that ever happens to me.” (laughs). I was just so in love with it. When I saw Searching, Aneesh Chaganty and Sev Ohanian‘s first movie together, it just solidified the deal for me. When Sarah was cast… can you believe how lucky I got with this movie? It was like one thing after another! There were so many moments along the way, I couldn’t possibly pick one.
Sarah Paulson: I think for me it was the first page. It was just the way it was laid out, in the way that they described seeing the baby and the way they described [Diane] coming into the [hospital room]. It was just written in a way that was immediately cinematic and I just thought, well, this is just really compelling. And then I watched Searching and I thought [it] was the most inventive, nail-biting, emotionally moving film done in a way that I’d never seen anybody make a movie before. And I thought, if he could do this, [RUN] is going to be a piece of cake. This classic traditional shit’s not going to be a problem for him (laughs).
Just like with Searching, RUN is another film that showcases the importance of representation. When you were writing the script, what research went into better understanding a person who has a disability?
Aneesh Chaganty: The pro and con of this is that [we] are two able-bodied dudes writing a movie where the lead character is a female disabled character. One of the things we were very conscious of in the beginning is that we weren’t that, so we had to open ourselves up very quickly to make sure that anybody who came from any one of those perspectives who had an opinion about it, most likely it was more correct than we were. One of the people that I had the biggest relationship with early on in the writing process, that we were all kind of talking with, was a disability studies professor at Brown University. I remember giving her the script and I’d basically grill her on like every element of the story.
(THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH CONTAINS SPOILERS)
One of the things that I had no idea about was this cultural thing called ableism. One of the things that we had in the original, original version of the script, that both Kiera and Sarah read, was that at the end of the film Chloe was walking. When I was talking to this professor she suggested to me that we were suggesting that Chloe’s arc was complete because of her ability, as opposed to a full character arc which is securing her freedom and becoming her own woman. And that was one of the first moments where we had a quick conversation and changed it to [Chloe] still using a wheelchair at the end, but her character arc is no less complete. It’s fully complete based on her decision and how she behaves towards her mother at the end of the movie. Then on top of that, Kiera got involved in every single moment and we would just ask her, “What would this be like?”, “How would your room look like?” so as to open ourselves up to as much constant fluctuation which was how we solved for that.
RUN is now available exclusively on Hulu. For more on the film, check out our review here.