Building Relationships with the Young Actors in the Film: Laura Linney says there werent any special tricks to building the onscreen relationship with Eisenberg and Kline. Those are two really good boys. There was no manipulation needed there, nor would Jeff or I ever do that to a young person. We wanted to make sure they were okay. We wanted to make sure they were comfortable. We wanted to make sure they were having a good time and we wanted to make sure they were having a good experience.
Outside of the work, my main concern was just that they were having a good experience and that they were comfortable, and that it would be a good thing for them both on a personal basis and work-wise, said Linney.
Jeff Daniels added, You treat them like actors, working with adults. If there is something not right, as actors you kind of go, Whats wrong? You okay? Anything I can do to help?
All I ask of kids, and Ive worked with a few, is know your lines, show up on time, and occasionally Ill allow you to be 12 years old. But these guys were such pros and that, Im a kid and I dont want to do that today, never happened with these two guys.
Linney continued with her praise of her young co-stars. Owen is just a magical little boy. Wed stopped filming and Id look over at him and hed burst into this wide grin. And, you know, your heart would just grow. Hes just a sweet, sweet person. And Jesse is not a kid anymore, at all hes a teenager. Hes stepping into acting and hes asking questions about it. Hes thinking about it. Hes not a child actor. Theres nothing child-actory about him at all anymore. Hes coming to grips with what hes doing and why hes doing it and what does he like and not like about it. Its interesting to watch someone whos growing that quickly.
Laura Linney on the Resiliency of Children: I think if they werent, I think there would be a lot of people not living now (laughing). I mean, a lot of people are the children of a divorced home, me being one of them. So I think the great thing about the human spirit is that it is resilient. We all have our stuff, whether youre from a divorced home or not.
Laura Linney on Working with Jeff Daniels: Jeff knows that I feel this way When I was in school and I would fantasize about what it would be like to be a professional actor, the level that I aspired and hoped that I would be a part of, that was realized by working with him. Thats what I can say. And you have those relationships occasionally, and they restore your faith across the board, because you realize, No Im not insane. Im not crazy. Its not wrong for me to wish for, to yearn for, this sort of situation, this context in which work can be done.
Shooting Squid and the Whale in Just 23 Days: Both Linney and Daniels are used to working on larger budgeted studio projects so speeding up the process for just 23 days of shooting is a bit of a change. However Linney confessed she believes the short shooting time benefited her as an actor.
In some ways, sometimes it does. In some ways it forces you to be more creative. In some ways you cant think about yourself or anybody else, youre so focused on the work. Theres not time, theres no time for any craziness, theres no time for having to please [anyone]. Theres no time to shake this persons hand. Youre focused on the work. So in some ways it can be [of benefit], which is one of the reasons why I love independent movies. Everyone is so focused. It is pure. It pares down. And then of course there are the drawbacks, which are that it is uncomfortable and you wish sometimes you did have a little more time. So its a give and take thing.
There is something about You have to be so intimate with the work because theres just no time. And it also sort of equalizes everyone on set. Theres not a lot of posturing or posing going on with a situation like this. Theres just no place for it. It wouldnt be tolerated and its superfluous and it gets in the way. It really gets in the way, in a way that with the bigger budget movies its part of the texture of the experience in some ways - all those distractions, explained Linney.