Cameron Monaghan on Film, Morgan Freeman, and More on Paradise Highway

Cameron Monaghan on Film, Morgan Freeman, and More on Paradise Highway

The Lionsgate crime drama focuses on the ongoing real-life issue of human trafficking. Sally (Juliette Binoche), who transports her human cargo, Leila (Hala Finley), is on the run while law enforcement, played by Morgan Freeman and Cameron Monaghan, are on the scene. The star spoke with Bleeding Cool about his audition for the Gutto in her directorial theatrical debut, the investigation into the dark subject matter, and working with the Oscar-winning character.

What inspired you to follow the ''Paradise Highway?'' Cameron Monaghan: A couple of people I was working with spoke very well of the script, and I was interested in learning more about it. I backdoored my way into getting access to it [laughs]. There was something truly special about the story, which I believed was wonderful, human, and alive.

There was this character, Special Agent Finley Sterling, who I saw myself auditioning. I approached Anna Gutto, which she was not acquainted with, and she was fortunate enough to be able to convince her to be a part of the project. Somewhere along the way, I discovered that Morgan Freeman and Juliette Binoche were both included in the project, which only motivated me to be a part of it even more.

BC: What research did you do to develop character? Monaghan: I was fortunate I could begin this project early enough where I had a few months to describe not only this character but also the context he''s in. Anna has done a decent amount of research while developing this project, and had a slew of excellent resources on human trafficking. My first disappointment was seeing statistics and realizing how much worse the situation in the United States is today. It is an enormous problem that people need to have greater awareness.

Jerri Williams, a former FBI agent, has released a podcast about her interview with some people who specialized in human trafficking. The way they talked about it was really interesting and helpful, helping me to figure out this character and his father.

BC: What you think of working with Anna since Paradise Highway is her directorial feature debut, and how she managed it? Monaghan: Anna not only impressed me as a writer but also as a director. This is her first feature, and she is from Norway. I initially didn''t know if she would be able to communicate with the English-speaking Americans on the set, mainly because I felt she understood everything. It felt like she could communicate effectively on the set, outing working efficiently, smartly,

[Anna] and her photographer were a team who would be off figuring things out quickly. They had a very good plan. When she gave you a note, she would bring you to the side and whisper it to you, and the set had so much focus to it. Despite our budget and schedule, I was fortunate I could work within context of something that, while was still lacking electricity.

Morgan Freeman and Juliette Binoche were both on the move when they became in rural Mississippi. This was an amazing thing. Even though I was in South Florida, I was very happy to be in that situation. There''s still something about that heat and humidity that is palpable.

I''m not sure if you can fake Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, or Deep South, but there''s something that is really filmic and beautiful about that area of the United States. I was very glad that we were able to get it shot and not have to use it. It''s a pretty great experience, but being able to work with Morgan in his native Mississippi was really fantastic. It was fantastic to have him able to see his own knowledge.

The theater, which includes actors Frank Grillo, Hala Finley, Veronica Ferres, and Christiane Seidel, is currently in cinemas, digital, and on-demand.

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