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INTERVIEW: Kyle Chandler, Chris O’Dowd, and Weruche Opia Talk Grief and Dreams For ‘Slumberland’

Kyle Chandler and Marlow Barley in Slumberland

Slumberland hits in a way that I think many audiences will understand and appreciate but if you are, sadly, a card holding member of the dead dad club, it packs just that extra bit of punch that hurts to watch. Following Nemo (Marlow Barkley), she ventures into the world of her dreams where Flip (Jason Momoa) and through their adventures, she begins to believe that she will see her father once again. In her real life, she is forced to move in with her uncle Phillip (Chris O’Dowd) and she goes from a whimsical life by the lighthouse with her father to a stuffy city one.

The journey of Nemo and her grief is one that I think we all can understand. The hope that you’ll see the one you lost some day or that it was all some horrible nightmare? That I get. And so in getting to speak with Kyle Chandler (who plays Nemo’s father Peter), the brilliant Weruche Opia (who is Agent Green), and O’Dowd, I talked a lot about how the movie works to be a guide through grief.

I was very open at the start of the interview as someone who understands the grief of losing their father to which Chandler said that we have that in common, sharing that he lost his own father when he was 14. “So when I read this script, you can understand how it affected me,” he said. “And having my daughter, I have two daughters on top of it all, it all coalesced into an immediate, I have to do this, I want to do this. And it was very gratifying to do the film and to also be lucky enough to have an actress across from me as Marlowe. Because she performed so well and she was a joy to work with and we were able to find that warmth that you’re talking about and it was a natural warmth. So as an actor, I mean that’s kind of a dream come true on a set. You get to experience that. So it was incredible.”

Don’t worry, I did bring up my love of Friday Night Lights to Kyle Chandler. You can see the rest of our interview here:

Slumberland hits Netflix on November 18th.

(image: Netflix)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.