Premiering Friday at Tribeca is “Janie Jones,” a movie about the titular 13-year-old girl (Abigail Breslin) who is abandoned by her former-groupie mother (Elizabeth Shue). Her surprised and unknowing father (Alessandro Nivola), a fading rock star, has no choice but to take her with him on tour (spoiler alert: both Nivola and Breslin sing and play guitar in the film). Here, the pair discuss their musical roles.
On what attracted them to “Janie Jones”
“[The father’s] story was one of trying to spend his life indulging in a creative urge in a very narcissistic way. Indulging in your artistic creativity is always in opposition to having a family and trying to do right by your wife and children,” says Nivola, who has a two young kids. “That kind of conflict attracted me.” Breslin liked tackling the role because of Jones’ upbeat demeanor. “She’s had some hard circumstances to deal with, but she didn’t have to change who she is [to get through it],” she says.
On being in awe of each other
“Abby does not need any advice from me. She’s a powerhouse of an actress. If anything, I was looking to her for cues. I call her the machine,” says Nivola on his young co-star. Breslin was impressed of Nivola as well, but more for his music chops (Nivola used to play in bands). “When we met to record the songs, I thought: Oh, God — I can’t believe I have to be in the same room as him,” she says.
On their epically short shoot
“We had to record all of our music in 24 hours,” recounts Nivola; the entire shoot of the movie was only four weeks. “I asked David at one point, ‘Can I get one more take on that?’ And the crew started chuckling, like, ‘Silly child,’” laughs Breslin.