Oakes Fegley & Jaden Michael On ‘Wonderstruck’ & Playing Deaf Character [VIDEO EXCLUSIVE]
Oakes Fegley and Jaden Michael play friends Ben and Jamie in the Todd Haynes-directed film Wonderstruck. The movie was based on the Brian Selznick book of the same name, and follows two deaf children set 50 years apart, and explores how their stories connect.
Part of the film takes place in New York City in the 1970s, and Fegley shared that they got to film in the city’s Natural History Museum. “It was really incredible, and also a great honor to be able to film in the Natural History Museum, but working in the Natural History Museum, we had to load in and load out every 6:00 p.m. to three in the morning on the weekends so that we could film the scenes that we needed to,” he told uInterview in an exclusive video. “It was kind of hard to do that because obviously the museum has to open up during the day, so it was a little rough to move in and move out every weekend, but we had a lot of fun.”
Michael concurred that they had a blast in the museum, but revealed that his favorite moment to film was one full of intense emotion, where Fegley’s character gets angry with him. “I love shooting that scene where [Fegley] runs out, and it’s a very tense moment,” he said. “You have to go into that mentality before… he such an upbeat kind of guy, and even after that he’s still very upbeat and happy, so this is that time where things get serious for him. But my favorite to watch is the scene where Oakes first opens the door to New York City and now you’re like, ‘Wow, look at New York City in the ’70s,’ you’ve got people in the polyester clothing, and that song comes on – I love that song with the little bass guitar – I love that scene.”
Fegley plays Ben, a character who loses his hearing throughout the course of the film, and Fegley describes that feeling as almost surreal. “Because I am a hearing character that then becomes deaf, it is kind of hard for the preparation, but eventually once you get into the character, it’s pretty simple after you get the basics down,” he said. “And you get to really feel, it’s a weird feeling once you get into it cuz you almost think you can’t hear, and you feel like maybe you are even deaf, but then somebody says something and snap out of it, but for a second you kind of have a different way of thinking and you’re in a little bit more of a trance.”
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