Kaitlyn Dever

"Men, Women & Children" - Virgin Atlantic Gala VIP Arrivals - 58th BFI London Film Festival

by Joanna Orland

Kaitlyn Dever is a young American actress with a very promising career ahead of her.  Already a breakout star as Jayden from the amazing film Short Term 12 and other roles including Loretta McCready in Justified and Eve Baxter in Last Man Standing, Dever is about to go mainstream with her role as Brandy in Jason Reitman’s new film Men, Women & Children.

Men, Women & Children explores modern technology and the way it enhances and hinders our lives and relationships.  The exploration spans different generations studying adults played by Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner, Rosemarie DeWitt and Judy Greer as well as “children” Ansel Elgort, Timothée Chalamet, Elena Kampouris and Kaitlyn Dever.

Thank you to Kaitlyn Dever who took the time to answer our questions:

How did you get involved with Men, Women & Children?

It was a regular audition, I met with Jason and read with him and then I got called back. I (then) read with Jennifer and we had a sort of a chemistry read. And then before I know it I was doing the movie! It was a normal, regular casting process.

What was it about the role of Brandy that made you want to play her?

She is very interesting, and I like doing real stories, and she definitely portrays a girl who was dealing with the Internet and I wanted to do something real and honest. There are many girls out there like Brandy, and that’s why I wanted to do it, and of course, I really wanted to work with Jason Reitman.

How much do you relate to your character Brandy?

Yes, I’m not as highly monitored as Brandy is! My parents don’t really monitor me heavily and what I’m doing online or on social media. I think there’s an amount of trust there. But I feel like all the stuff about her having a secret identity online, and picturing someone else and taking pictures of herself in wigs and makeup is a way to find herself. As a teenager I’m trying to figure out what I’m doing and who I am and I could relate to Brandy in that sense.

Did you read the novel Men, Women &  Children? If so, how do you feel the film compares?

I was actually asked not to read the book, as the book is definitely a heavier book. I knew the way Jason adapted it was that he toned it down a lot more. I did read some excerpts from the book with my cast mates whilst we were hanging out on set. But I know that when Jason adapted it into a screenplay he changed it into a toned down version, as it was a bit intense.

Do you relate to the social themes explored in this film?

I definitely related to the social themes. All the different ways that the different teenagers in the film relate to social media is very real, because some kids are dealing with being anorexic and going online to get inspiration to continue being anorexic and have a “perfect body”. And then there are teenagers like me who go online and post pictures of themselves, its not technically who they are in real life but they want to be perceived as someone else to other people who looking at their pictures online. So I certainly could relate to that.

Having grown up with the Internet and technology, how much did you even think of its affect on society or you on a personal level before this film?

That’s what really stood out for me in the script is that it is so current and it’s what’s happening in this generation, it’s just a big broad spectrum of all these different characters that come together and blend so beautifully in the film but yet they have totally different storylines and relationships. There’s the adult side of it and people trying to deal with the marriage, and kids falling in love and then talking to each other online and that’s definitely what attracted me to the script.

Did this film change your perspective on technology and/or how we use it?

Actually it has, I feel like I have put down my phone a little more since I’ve done this film, it made me more aware.

What was it like working with Jason Reitman?

I had a lot of freedom with him, I felt like I just came to (the) set and I would do a couple of takes and then Jason would give me some specific notes and we discussed the character and we’d also hang out on set and talk about life and tell each other stories and share connections. It was really fun to be able to work with him; he’s a very awesome and talented guy.

What was it like to have Jennifer Garner play your mother?

She’s the sweetest! She felt like my real mom and everything felt like a breeze. We did have a lot of scenes together but I felt like we got it all done in two days.

What’s up next for your career?

I’m doing my sitcom right now, and this past summer I did a film called The Greens are Gone with Catherine Keener, and that should be coming out soon I hope. I’m trying to read scripts and decide what the next move is and what I want to do next.

Normally we ask for just 1 word, but to go with the social media theme – if there were only 140 characters to summarize Kaitlyn Dever, what would they be?

Oh gosh this is so hard! I am a seventeen year old girl who lives every minute of life and I love my family, I love music, and I love nothing more than my job and what I do, I have complete passion for it. I try not to let things matter so much, I try to let things go and take things as they come. I’m sure I’m way over the 140 character limit!


Our review of Men, Women & Children.

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