SEATTLE — Coming of age film “The Tender Bar” debuts on Amazon Prime Video tomorrow.
Based on the best-selling memoir, it tells the story of a boy named JR and his unlikely journey from poverty to Yale.
Newcomer Daniel Ranieri plays young JR, Tye Sheridan plays college-bound JR, Lily Rabe plays his single mother who encourages his Ivy League dreams, and Ben Affleck plays his surrogate father Uncle Charlie.
Entertainment reporter Kim Holcomb talked to the cast about the film.
HOLCOMB: "Daniel, what is your best memory of Ben, on-set but off-camera?"
RANIERI: (thinking hard, looking at Affleck) "Everything! (laughing) I don't know. Everything."
HOLCOMB: "Which of Uncle Charlie's characteristics do you feel like you most relate to, and which do you aspire to?"
AFFLECK: "He's got a wonderful, as written, capacity for honestly. That's one thing that we may have sort of lost a little bit of in the contemporary drive to smooth things out for kids and make it okay and the sort of participation trophies and that sort of thing. I wouldn't be as extreme as the Uncle Charlie character is, where he's like 'You're no good at sports, you should give it up.' (laughter) But I do think there's something sort of wonderful about his capacity for honesty. You already know things that are sad in your life, you already know they're true as a kid. So when somebody tells you they're not, it just seems weird. Somebody says, ‘Yes, I validate that, it's true’ — then you think, 'Okay this person is honest.’ Then when they tell you 'I love you and it's going to be okay, and you're good and you're worth something and you mean something to me,' then you can believe that. And that is the thing I thought about the most with this character and that I wanted to bring in most to my own life."
HOLCOMB: "Some people might look at (JR’s mother) like, ‘Wow, she really pushed him to do this,’ but she doesn't feel like a stage mom to me. How did you perceive her?”
RABE: “I feel so exactly that way about her. It all comes from a place not of her trying to have her son fulfill things she didn't get or fill a void of things she doesn't have, it really comes from such a place of genuine love and ambition for him to have a joyful life."
HOLCOMB: "What resonated the most with you about this particular story?"
SHERIDAN: "I come from a bit of a crazy family myself and I grew up in a small town in Texas and there weren't too many people who were wanting to get into film as a career. I think (JR’s) dreams are maybe a bit bigger than his background. And I love this story because what it says is that you don't have to be from a certain place to do a certain thing. It's a good film about someone's journey and we've all been on quite the journey over the past couple of years, so I hope and think it's a really good time for it."
“The Tender Bar” is rated R and begins streaming on Amazon Prime Video on Jan. 7.