Home is a film that features strong tones about forgiveness and returning to the things that are familiar to you. I sat down to chat with Director Franka Potente and actors Kathy Bates and Aisling Franciosi.
See the full interview below.
Bates plays the mother of Marvin (Jake McLaughlin), a man that’s been in prison for 17 years for a terrible crime. He returns home to his mother dying of cancer and a town still holding on to their hate for his crime. He sparks an acquaintance with an unexpected woman he doesn’t remember from his youth, played by Franciosi.
Forgiveness isn’t handed out lightly, but the idea that people can forgive or learn to forgive is something Potente wanted to highlight. She started with a visual of Marvin’s character as manly but vulnerable. Marvin also has bright red hair, a characteristic that would make it clear he was the same person despite his age—living in a small town where everyone knows each other plays the perfect backdrop for characters to all knows each other.
“He had been away because he did something terrible and came back; he would have to be recognizable, and hence the red hair,” Director Franka Potente says. “What if he had repented and was promised to have a clean slate, but then the reality was not like that, because other people weren’t finished hating him, for understandable reasons. When it came to the relationship with his mother, one of the many differences was gonna be that she was now ill and brittle and more vulnerable than the very strong woman that we still see, as Kathy portrays her as she still is, but what if she now depended on him against her will a little bit more.”
As a performing artist, I’m sure you’re always looking for something new and different. Could you share what you personally found new and different with this film?
“I watch movies all the time, and I watch the craft, and it’s evolved a lot in the last decade, certainly with the young actors that are coming up,” Kathy Bates says. “The craft has gotten much, more subtle. And I got my start as being sort of this Grand Guignol character as Annie Wilkes, who’s no holds barred. And I’ve gotten other roles like that along. It was an opportunity for me to do something that was very stripped back and subtle. And that’s what appealed to me is I wanted to be able to do something that I’m not often given that chance to do because they want me to be strong, they want me to be, kind of over the top, and I don’t want to do that anymore. I feel like I sort of stick out like a sore thumb. I want to evolve, I guess is what I’m saying.”
“I thought it was really interesting reading Delta’s character,” Aisling Franciosi says. “What it would be like to play a character who is caught between her family having gone through this horrible trauma but her not actually remembering it, and not feeling so personally attached to it in the same way that Russell her brother does, but equally not really know. But wanting to move forward with her life and being curious about this person and kind of that balance between when you want to forgive, but at the end, it’s not something that you actually remember, but so much of your identity has been created by a trauma that isn’t really yours. So I thought it was a kind of an interesting balancing act to try and have a shot.”
One of the interesting choices that Bates wanted to make while filming Home was not to see her co-star Jake McLaughlin until they were on set shooting the scene.
“I told Franka I didn’t want to have dinner with Jake or anybody because she hasn’t seen any of these people for 20 years,” Bates says. “When I walked on set, I didn’t say anything to Jake till we sat down and we spoke our lines together. And you know, after the scene, he felt really good. And we started to talk about career stuff. And I said, ‘No, no, no, I don’t want to do that.’ Because the schedule was set up so that everything was going pretty much in order, and I wanted the opportunity to whatever relationship developed between us as we went along to naturally happen. I’d never done anything like that before. So I think Franka for letting me do it because I think it really helped.”
Both Bates and Franciosi expressed their love for doing independent films.
“There’s something about indies like this one, that because everyone’s there for the same reason,” Franciosi says. “It’s for the project and really not much else. When you get through a project like that, I feel like it kind of restores me a little or like it fills my tank a little bit. So I’m grateful for that.”
Bates discusses Home in the context of crimes we’ve seen here in the US. She mentions the church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, where white supremacist Dylann Roof gunned down nine Black churchgoers. During the trial, the family members of those killed publicly forgave Roof.
“I thought [that] was absolutely incredible,” Bates says. “That kind of forgiveness is so incredibly rare. I don’t really know that Bernadette has forgiven her son Marvin for having done this, which is odd. It’s sort of like a train going off on a siding that she has come to accept him for who he is now. And she does want to protect him from the neighbors and from the people who want him dead, but I don’t think she’s really deeply forgiven him.”
Home will pull at your heart and think about forgiveness in a new way. Franka Potente did a wonderful job on her feature film directorial debut.
Home opens in select theaters and Video On Demand on December 3rd.
Marvin Hacks (Jake McLaughlin) is skateboarding home after seventeen years in prison in the same Adidas tracksuit he was wearing when he was arrested as a teenager. He quickly finds out that, even after two decades, his small hometown has not forgotten the atrocity he committed, but Marvin wants to come to terms with his mother (Kathy Bates) and is prepared to accept the repercussions of his past, whatever the cost.