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When it comes to writing, it’s easy for an author to draw inspiration on what (or, in some cases, who) they know from life. In other cases, it feels as if the piece that the author is writing is inspiring their life to take a similar direction. The difference between the two can either be funny or unsettling, and in the trailer for Third Person, it looks like they’ve opted to showcase the latter.
Yahoo has the Domestic trailer, which looks like a well plotted thriller involving three plot lines that somehow intersect to dramatic effect. The main thread looks to be that of a writer (Neeson) in Paris, who’s working on a book with his mistress (Olivia Wilde) in tow, much to the chagrin of his wife (Kim Basinger). Now here’s where it gets interesting: that book seems to be the story of an artist (James Franco) and his wife (Mila Kunis), who are currently embroiled in a custody battle over their young son. The lawyer defending said wife (Maria Bello) is, in turn, the link between that and the story of Adrian Brody’s character. Brody plays a man who’s trying to help a woman recover her daughter from a smuggler, which looks like it somehow ties back to Liam Neeson’s writer character. At least that’s what the trailer is portraying.
There’s enough evidence in this trailer to suggest that there might be a sort of fun, twisty mind game ahead of the audience, with the major question being who’s real and who isn’t. We’re guessing that the big twist at the end is that Liam Neeson is secretly responsible for James Franco’s cameo in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. There’s some more mental fun and games in the foreign market trailer below, as well as a little more of the emotional NSFW entanglement and body double nudity the actual film will contain, so be warned.
On its own, the foreign market trailer is a messier affair, with melodrama to spare. But with the domestic trailer providing some much needed context and weight to the story, it plays much better a second time around. This duality in tone reminds us that Paul Haggis artistically occupies two different levels of notice: people either love him, or they hate him. On one hand, he helped write Casino Royale, which turned out to be the best Bond film before Skyfall took the crown. On the other hand, he co-wrote Quantum of Solace, which almost buried the modern reboot and needed Skyfall to save the series.
Most famous of all of course is his Academy Award winning film Crash, which serves as a perfect crossroads between the two moods of Haggis. Both moods are on display with these two trailers, which in turn gives us two hypothetically different versions of the same film. Which version we’ll see in theaters is perhaps the greatest mystery of the piece. We’ll get to solve that when Third Person opens in limited theatrical release through Sony Pictures Classics on June 20th.