Blu-ray Spotlight: ‘Third Person’ Explores Love’s Beguiling Mysteries

Third Person (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 137 minutes, R), which was just released this week on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HD, is an ambitious narrative centering on love and betrayal that takes place in Paris, Rome, and New York. Directed and penned by Paul Haggis (Crash, In the Valley of Elah), the project took Haggis over two and a half years to finish.

Some moviegoers were perplexed and frustrated by the film’s ambiguity and puzzle laden storyline, but if you’re inspired by  non-linear, perspective shifting tales  (Third Person is partially inspired by such films as Blow-Up and The Passenger), then Third Person is worth your attention.

The three storylines from Third Person are as follows:

Paris:  Liam Neeson is a Pulitzer Prize winning writer who’s suffering a creative crises. Selfish and self-indulgent to the core, he spends his day with a younger colleague (Olivia Wilde) who’s trying to get her own career off the ground. Though both of them are madly in love with each other, continued manipulations and deceit drive a wedge to their union.

Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde in Third Person - Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde in Third Person – Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Rome: Adrien Brody is a businessman who becomes instantly infatuated with a gypsy (Moran Atias) while drinking at a bar. Upon learning the woman’s daughter was kidnapped, he gets embroiled in an operation that places his life in danger.

Adrien Brody and Moran Atias in 'Third Person' - Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Adrien Brody and Moran Atias in ‘Third Person’ – Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

New York: A former soap opera actress turned maid (Mila Kunis) is in a bitter custody battle with her ex-husband/artist (James Franco). Even with a competent lawyer by her side (Maria Bello), her continued irresponsibility leads to dire consequences.

Mila Kunis in Thid Person (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Mila Kunis in Third Person (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Eventually, all of these stories intersect in a huge twist that can, depending on the viewer, be deemed infuriating or creatively invigorating.

Special features on this disc include:

The Making of Third Person (9:50)- The featurette on the making of the flick, contains the opening Paul Haggis comment: “I always hope the same thing when I’m making a film, which is just to write an interesting story and then tell it well.” Liam Neeson, Adrian Brody, Moran Atias, Olivia Wilde, Mila Kunis, Maria Bello, and producer Michael Nozik are among the cast and crew interviewed on the segment.

Filmmaker Commentary – Paul Haggis, Moran Atias, producer Michael Nozik, production designer Laurence Bennett, and editor Jo Francis are on the commentary track. If you’ve already the seen the movie and are a bit confused with the story’s final chapter, this commentary breaks everything down and leaves no questions left unanswered.

Q&A With Paul Haggis (33:29) – A KCET Cinema Series Q&A moderated by Pete Hammond, this special feature is a must watch if you’re curious about Paul Haggis’ writing process. Haggis is very lively and frank during the chat, and Hammond was more than up to the task as the interviewer.

In the media clip below, Mila Kunis explains why she loved exploring her character in Third Person:

Third Person is now out on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD.

‘Third Person’ With Mila Kunis Hits Blu-ray & DVD in September

Third Person, a multi-layered drama that is one of this year’s most overlooked films (the drama doesn’t pull its punches), hits Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD September 30. The cast includes, Liam Neeson (playing a cold-hearted scribe with writer’s block), Mila Kunis (as a mother who’s lost custody of her child), Adrien Brody, Maria Bello, Kim Basinger, and Olivia Wilde.

Here’s the official boilerplate synopsis of the movie which was directed and penned by Paul Haggis (Crash, The Next Three Days):

“THIRD PERSON tells three stories of love, passion, trust and betrayal. The tales play out in New York, Paris and Rome through three couples who appear to have nothing related but share deep commonalities: lovers and estranged spouses, children lost and found. THIRD PERSON is a mystery, a puzzle in which truth is revealed in glimpses, and clues are caught by the corner of the eye—and nothing is truly what it seems.”

Bonus Features on the DVD & Blu-ray include:

  1. Commentary (w/ Haggis, actress Moran Atias, and producers Jo Francis, Laurence Bennett and Michael Nozik.
  2. Q&A with Paul Haggis
  3. A featurette on the making of Third Person.

The below audio has Mila Kunis talks about understanding her character’s “emotional roller coaster” ride in Third Person:

Maria Bello Signs Onto “Big Driver” & Explores Parental Love With “Third Person”

There have been a slew of negative reviews heaped on filmmaker Paul Haggis’ ambitious drama Third Person, but if you’re a fan of his intricately and labyrinthine structured narratives, this movie may be up your alley. Maria Bello is Theresa an attorney who represents a woman (an intentionally unhinged Mila Kunis) who’s desperately trying to regain visitation rights for her son.

On the outside, Theresa seemingly has everything together, but due to the loss of her own child, life will never be the same (to say the very least). Channeling Theresa’s inner struggles wasn’t a huge reach for Bello, as evidenced by her heartbreaking work with Michael Sheen in the 2010 feature Beautiful Boy. But real life also plays a part in an actor’s craft, and Bello’s own experience as a mother enabled her to empathize with Therasa’s unfathomable pain.

Maria Bello in “Third Person” (Sony Pictures Classics)

Although Bello joked at the Third Person press conference that she agreed to do the movie because Paul Haggis promised her a case of red wine, levity is few and far between in the drama. Tackling such weighty subjects as artistic integrity, parental love, and loss doesn’t offer much room for humor (although laughter at a press conference is always welcome).

Click on the media bar below to hear the actress talk about the aspects of love that is explored in Third Person:

It was also announced this week that the actress signed on to Big Driver, a Lifetime feature based on a novella by Stephen King. The plotline centers on a mystery writer (Bello) who seeks vengeance against a serial killer (Will Harris) who left her for dead with his other victims. Shooting starts this summer in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

This isn’t Bello’s first foray into King territory, as she starred with Johnny DeppJohn Turturro, and Timothy Hutton in the highly underrated suspense thriller Secret Window. The flick contains one of Depp’s most eerie characterizations to date. Be warned, however; if you are a huge fan of eating corn, Secret Window may alter your culinary appetites.

Big Driver premieres this fall on Lifetime, and Third Person is now playing in select theaters.

Co-starring Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde, Adrien Brody, and James Franco, Third Person clocks in at 136 minutes, but I was completely immersed with Haggis’ story, so boredom never entered the equation.

If you’ve seen Third Person, tell me what you think and feel free to comment below!




Moran Atias Lived A Gypsy’s Life for “Third Person” Role

Some actors will show up on set with their lines memorized and ready to hit their mark. It’s a “keep it simple stupid” method that, if it works, shouldn’t be criticized. For Moran Atias, playing a desperate gypsy in director Paul Haggis‘ complex (and compelling) drama Third Person required a different approach. Saying the lines is one thing, but living the part is another.

Haggis told the actress to cut down her shaving regime for the production’s duration, but she did more than let her hair grow for Third Person.  “Moran moved into a place where there was no electricity, no water, and she didn’t bathe,” said Haggis during the film’s press conference in Los Angeles. “So we didn’t hang out…”

Moran then playfully interjected, “OK, enough with the details.”

Adren Brody as “Scott” in “Third Person” – (Sony Pictures Classics)

The devil, especially when acting is concerned, is in the details. One of Third Person’s main storylines centers on the relationship between Monika (Atias), a gypsy whose daughter is abducted, and Scott,  a morally questionable businessman (Adrien Brody) she meets at a bar. Whether Monika is playing this American for a chump is a puzzle that isn’t solved until the film’s moments, and the mesmeric and tense interplay between Atias and Brody is one of Third Person’s most inspired aspects.

Her decision to travel to Italy and live among gypsies helped build an inner life for Monika. “All these activities just helped me feel confident about why (Monika) wasn’t apologetic on what she has become,” said the actress, who will also be seen in the freshman FX series Tyrant. “If she needs to take a guy on a journey, then she will, because she needs to survive.”

Click on the media bar below to hear Atias talk about the acting prep she did for Third Person:

Third Person, which co-stars Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde, and Maria Bello, opens June 20 in New York and Los Angeles.

Mila Kunis Discusses Acting Approach & Muscle Memory (“Third Person” Interview)

Written and directed by Paul Haggis (Crash, The Next Three Days), Third Person centers on the lives seemingly disparate people struggling and loving their way through Paris, New York, and Rome. Mila Kunis is Julia, a former soap opera actress who, due to her own irresponsible actions, has lost visitation rights to her son. Desperate beyond belief, Julia takes a job as a maid to hold a steady job and prove to her ex-husband (Kunis’ Oz The Great and Powerful co-star James Franco) that she’s carving out a steadier path.

Ambitious in narrative scope, Third Person isn’t an easily digested drama of love and inevitable tragedy. Inspired by some of the more ambiguous, character driven work of the 1970s, Third Person contains a complex storyline that should leave audience members talking (and perhaps arguing) soon after the credits roll.


Paul Haggis, Adrien Brody – Third Person (Sony Pictures Classics)

During this week’s Third Person press conference, Mila Kunis talked about her straightforward approach to acting. “This is purely my take on it,” said the actress, who will also be seen next year in the sci-fi epic Jupiter Ascending with Channing Tatum. “I will live it for those 20 minutes when I’m on set to live it, but it’s called acting for a reason. This is just me…I feel like if I did a good job (and) I’m emotionally drained by the end of the day, I don’t want to keep living it. I want a glass of wine and I want to go to bed.”

Click on the media bar below to hear Mila Kunis talk about her acting method, especially in relation to her work in Third Person:

Co-starring Adrien Brody, Maria Bello, and Liam Neeson, Third Person opens in New York and Los Angeles June 20.