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Tumbledown

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Rebecca as: Hannah
Genre(s): Romance | Comedy| Drama
Written by: Desi Van Til
Directed by: Sean Mewshaw
Other Cast: Jason Sudeikis, Blythe Danner, Joe Manganiello, Dianna Agron
Release Date: February 6, 2016
Production Budget:
Total Worldwide Gross:
Filming Locations: Princeton and Concord, Massachusetts

In Tumbledown, a young widow (Rebecca Hall), falls for a brash New York writer (Jason Sudeikis) who barrels into her rural Maine town investigating the death of her husband, folk – music hero Hunter Miles (voiced by Damien Jurado). Hannah is scraping her life back together in a cabin at the foot of Tumbledown mountain, attempting to seal every shred of her husband’s life into a biography. When Andrew, an academic who has a different take on Hunter’s life and death, shows up looking for the truth of this mysterious musician, the pair clash. But gradually they find themselves collaborating to craft Hunter’s story, and beginning to write the next chapter of their lives together.

Production Info

Rose Byrne was cast in the lead role during the film’s development stages but later dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.

Hannah’s red truck broke down frequently and for at least one scene had to be pushed down the street by crew members just out of frame.

Character Quotes

  • [Opening narration] In the middle, you feel like it’s never gonna end. But he was with me. I was gonna make it. I remember that morning. Hunter made me a deal. He’d clean out the basement if I swam all the way across the lake. I dove right in. Our basement was a nightmare. But it turns out that gliding along behind me, that’s when the last song on the album came to him. The first time I brought him here to show him where I grew up, he decided that this was where he wanted to write music, have a zillion kids, have a yard big enough to get lost in… to become part of the wilderness instead of just part of some scene. Most of the songs on the album, I don’t really know where they came from, but I was there for that one. So I hold onto that track as the one that we wrote together. Together as it was supposed to be, because the plan was never to live in the frickin’ woods all by myself. But here I am, still way out in the middle… without him.

    You’re a man of such loose morals behind the cash register.

    Upton! There’s some underhanded, citified star-humper all up in my grill. I think he’s at the coffee shop. Will you come with me and help me crush him, please?

    Well, you’re awfully tenacious, I’ll give you that. But my husband was a person, a real man. And every song he ever wrote and everything he ever touched is mine. Got that? Mine. The end. Mine.

    Okay, McCabe. You got good taste in music. You got your theories about consumer blah-blah, but here’s the deal. Any monument that gets built for him, I’m laying the bricks.

    You city people, you have this whole “don’t mess with me” exoskeleton, but you’re generally just such pussies.

    We had a whole spring wedding planned. Daffodils were just coming up and days were getting longer, and a foot of snow the day before we were supposed to get married, in my parents’ backyard. So Hunter says, “Come on, Buttercup, put your snowshoes on.” And we clamber up and say our vows on top of Bald Mountain . Hunt said the whole world was wearing a wedding dress that day.

    You’re the one obsessed with death. My Hunter was obsessed with life.

    I love living in a place where you earn your seasons, you know? Tough it out, see the ice return itself to mud, slimy reeds… become hopeful again.

    Hannah: Give me an interview. Come on. And make it a good one, hmm?
    Upton: Esther Greeley. Birthday number 88.
    Hannah: Bless her heart.
    Upton: Now, 600 words, and I insist you spend a minimum amount of time on it.
    Hannah: That “Franklin Journal,” it’s always striving for excellence.

    Hannah: All I’ve decided is that I’ll listen to you.
    Andrew: Okay, but it’s going to be the sound of chewing for a minute.
    Hannah: You got 30 seconds. Make your case.
    Andrew: Okay, well, I’m not going to need that long. I want to make your husband immortal.
    Hannah: That’s a cruel thing to say.
    Andrew: No, no, what’s cruel is no matter how good his music was, it’s getting buried in an avalanche of cheesy singles. Someone needs to build a monument to raise him up above the rubble.
    Hannah: Right, and that’s you? Associate Professor of Truth on your hog?
    Andrew: It’s not a hog. It’s a cafe racer. It’s European.

    Hannah: You know, I hope you get promoted or rich or on “The View” or whatever it is that made you haul yourself up here. Get off my truck.
    Andrew: You’re condemning a genius to obscurity. Work on this with me.
    Hannah: I am working on it, dickweed. I’m writing his biography.

    Andrew: You might be falling in love again. Good for you.
    Hannah: I’ve known him since high school and he’s awesome in bed, and that’s all he is.

    Andrew: Seriously, though, why do you wanna write this book?
    Hannah: ‘Cause I had so much love left in my arsenal and I never got to spend it.

    Hannah: You see, around here, everybody keeps tabs on everyone else, and everyone else is pretty sure I ought to be moving on.
    Andrew: You never thought about moving to New York? Manhattan?
    Hannah: No.
    Andrew: No? Living in the big city? A change of scenery might help.
    Hannah: No, it’s not the kind of thing that you can take a vacation from. It’s who I am now. I mean, you try to seem normal, right? But here’s this thing that looms so large in your life you can’t even see around it, you know? Can’t dress yourself because it’s blocking your closet. I guess you could technically say that I’m depressed.

    Hannah: Isn’t it weird, you spend your whole life trying not to die some way or other, and then when something really terrible happens, you just wish it were you and not them?
    Andrew: Yeah, well, I’m glad it wasn’t you.
    Hannah: Right. There’s no way that he would pay you 40 grand to write my biography.
    Andrew: Pretty sure it was 50 grand.

    Andrew: Hannah… Did he have any idea how lucky he was?
    Hannah: He was lucky.
    Andrew: Yeah.
    Hannah: Until he was profoundly unlucky.

  • Quoting: Rebecca Hall

    On her character: She’s sort of tough and vulnerable at the same time. She’s very, very sharp, she’s very witty.

    On the script: It’s incredibly well written, I couldn’t put it down. It was very funny, very charming, and there’s not many romantic comedy stories that feel original.

    On the film’s themes and messages: I think in a lot of conventional romance stories there’s a sense that you have a soulmate and that’s it, and this is a story about having two soulmates in life and finding the second one.

    On Hannah and Andrew’s relationship: Andrew, in Hannah’s eyes is kind of arrogant, citified, sort of pseudo-intellectual, on paper he’s everything that she’s going to hate. I feel that when she meets him she makes a decision to hate him on principal, although by every turn, he turns out to be like-minded and there’s this sort of parity between them.

    On working with Jason Sudekis: He understands comedy, he understands timing and he understands what makes a joke work and what doesn’t. He’s just brilliant, brilliant to watch work and brilliantly funny. He’s also incredibly soulful and so can attack the dramatic stuff with as much integrity as he does the rest of it. I feel very safe with him because we’ve got all the bases covered and he’s a great sparring partner.

    On working with Joe Mangellieno: He’s brilliant and a very smart, very funny guy.

    On working with Griffin Dunne: I’ve been a fan and admirer of his for ages and he arrived, knew exactly what he was doing and was hilarious and brilliant to work with.

    On working with director Sean Meshaw and writer Desi Van Til: Desi and Sean have been living with this material for a long time and it’s very close to their heart and it’s their first film, there’s something really wonderful that comes with that.

    Quoting: Cast and Crew

    Director Sean Menshaw: Rebecca joined us right after being put through the emotional wringer in Machinal on Broadway, and she told me she was excited to take on a more lighthearted and hopeful role. She never wanted to lose sight of Hannah’s humor, and aimed to keep her robust and lively throughout. Which was just how Desi had always envisioned the character – a woman who refuses to be crippled by depression; one who uses humor as self defense against the pity of others. Rebecca’s brilliance both on and off camera was a gift to our film, and it was thrilling to watch her billow Hannah’s sails with in telligence and soulfulness even while exploring the more playful side of the character.

    Writer Desi Van Til: The heavens really opened when Rebecca Hall was delivered the script and even though she was in the midst of a broadway production, and wasn’t planning on doing a small, little indie film after the very busy year that she had, that she read it and came on-board.

    Writer Desi Van Til: What’s great about Rebecca being Hannah is that in real life, Rebecca is so warm, open, kind and is easy to laugh and a hilarious person. Hannah, I think, is that way but she’s had this event happen to her that has shut her down. What you want is that renaissance, that phoenix out of the ashes kind of thing which has to happen to Hannah, and you feel it, you feel that underneath Rebecca because that’s there.

    Co-star Jason Sudekis: She gives every bit of herself and works her ass off, and is innately talented, and clever. She’s great. I have a full-on talent crush.

    Critical Response

    Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Hall, a British stage actress of remarkable range, plays Hannah with a robust energy that never hides the character’s aching fragility. In one scene, in the cabin where Hunter worked, she and Andrew discover a tape of what may be the last song this artist ever recorded. As Hannah listens, Hall lets her face reflect a lifetime. Her superb performance defines the word stellar.

    Sara Stewart, New York Post: Sudeikis, often cast as genial everyman, is quite good in a more prickly role, and Hall brings her characteristic nuance to a smart but lost character, processing the death of a partner who’s mourned, but misunderstood, by legions of fans.