Interview: Liana Liberato of “Dear Eleanor”

Posted on July 13, 2016 at 3:18 pm

Liana Liberato (“Trust”) stars in the lovely Dear Eleanor, set in the 1960’s. She plays a girl named Ellie who is caring for her siblings after the death of her mother. She and her best friend take a road trip to try to meet former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. In an interview, she talked about acting in a story that took place long before she was born and what Mrs. Roosevelt meant to her character.

Why was Eleanor Roosevelt such an inspiration to Ellie and Max?

I know specifically for Ellie, Eleanor Roosevelt was an inspiration because she saw a lot of her own mother in her. She was a incredible humanitarian that believed in positive change. She believed in moving forward and changing the world. I think for Ellie, at that specific time, she needed someone like that to look up to. She needed someone who was going to encourage her to positively change her life and get out of the mental head space she was in when you meet her at the beginning of the movie.

Who inspires people today?

I think there are so many people out there who inspire us. I think the beauty of this era is the ability to reach other people so easily around the world. It doesn’t even have to be some huge celebrity. It could be your next door neighbor that inspires you. The person you sit next to everyday in class. Your barista at a local coffee shop. And I think it is really important to always keep in mind that you, yourself, have the ability to inspire the people around you. So know who you are and what you stand for and spread some good change.

If you could take a road trip anywhere, where would it be?

Well, one of my favorite places in the world is Montreal. So I would absolutely love to take a road trip there – and that is literally across the country so there are so many fun places to stop and explore!

What did you do for fun while you were on location?

We filmed just outside of Boulder, Colorado in Longmont. It was absolutely beautiful. Every morning before work I would go to Great Harvest Bread Company for breakfast and just snack on a huge sample of raisin bread to start the day off right. We would go into town and take yoga classes or just walk along side of the railroad tracks and enjoy the scenery!

What’s the best advice director Kevin Connolly gave you about your character?

Kevin had a lot of insight about Ellie that I loved. One of my favorite things about working with him as a director is that he’s also an actor. He understood my thought process and allowed me to experiment. Regardless of time restraints he was always conscious of us and our time spent with our characters. He is, hands down, one of the best directors I’ve worked with.

What surprised you the most about life in the 1960’s?

Oh gosh, the simplicity! Wouldn’t it be nice nowadays to be able to drop everything and go on a cross country road trip? Or not have to Instagram the whole journey and just enjoy time with your friends? That’s really what I loved about the story. Ellie and Max were just so trusting of those they came in contact with – they were aware of their surroundings and just took in everything they possibly could from the experience.

What was the biggest challenge Ellie and Max faced on the trip?

I think the journey itself is a challenge alone on their friendship. They obviously faced a lot of hardship on this trip. Ellie specially, I think, had to learn how to accept the love of her best friend. I think on that trip she realized she was deserving of a friend like Max.

What was the most important lesson they learned?

I think both of them learned to not give up when things got hard. And just because the circumstances around them can change doesn’t mean their friendship ever should.

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