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A Simple Favor (2018)

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Crazy Rich Asians' Lead Henry Golding Stars Opposite Blake Lively & Anna Kendrick In “A Simple Favor”


               Fresh from his phenomenal blockbuster hit “Crazy Rich Asians,” Henry Golding stars in the latest love triangle thriller “A Simple Favor” with Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick.   A Simple Favor”” is a stylish post-modern suburban noir directed by Paul Feig that centers around Stephanie Smothers (Kendrick), a mommy vlogger who seeks to uncover the truth behind her best friend Emily Nelson's (Lively) sudden disappearance from their small town. Stephanie is joined by Emily's husband Sean (Golding) in this modern-day thriller filled with twists and betrayals, secrets and revelations, love and loyalty, murder and revenge.


               Director Paul Feig remembers that one of the most challenging roles to cast was Emily’s dashing, but disillusioned husband, Sean, who seems to be befuddled by her disappearance, and increasingly turns to Stephanie for solace and support and …more. 


To play the role, at once alluring and tricky, Feig chose Henry Golding, this year’s “Crazy Rich Asians’” breakthrough actor is a British-Malaysian actor. “Henry is handsome, he has a beautiful voice and he has that ineffable sense of cool—but most importantly, Henry is also a really talented and dedicated actor,” says the director. “He was ready to explore the minutia of Sean’s every word and I thought from day one, this guy is going to be a big star.” 


For Golding, the teetering triangle between his character, Emily and Stephanie was a magnet. “I was fascinated by the shifting dynamics between the three and how that changes drastically at times in the course of the story,” he says. “I was also fascinated by Sean as this struggling author who finds a new lease on life when his wife goes missing.” 


As for what attracts Sean to both Emily and then Stephanie, Golding explains: “Sean was once a celebrated writer and the talk of the town in New York so this led to him being chased by Emily. She was very seductive, powerful and strong, but it became a toxic relationship because eventually she became his everything when he stopped writing. When Emily goes missing, and he’s so distraught, he finds compassion and comfort with Stephanie—and it’s something he’s never experienced.” 


Golding and Feig talked about the cool sophistication of Cary Grant as a model for the character, but Golding also credits Kendrick and Lively with bringing out the best in him. “Anna and Blake are forces to be reckoned with,” he muses. “Of course, I was nervous stepping in with them, but they were nothing but supportive. For me it was a gift just to watch them work. They make you believe every twist and turn.” 


               “A Simple Favor”opens September 12 in cinemas nationwide from Pioneer Film


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    It’s mom vs. mom in the deliciously twisted love triangle thriller “A Simple Favor” starring Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect, Trolls), Blake Lively (Gossip Girl, The Shallows) and Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians).  The movie puts Kendrick’s character, Stephanie at the center of a gritty showdown of wits as she tries to solve the suspicious disappearance of Emily (Lively).

    At the core of “A Simple Favor” is an unlikely film noir protagonist—the sunny and practical suburban mommy vlogger, Stephanie (Kendrick). Stephanie’s perky search for domestic bliss, friendship and killer recipes accidentally leads her into a mad tangle of dirty secrets and fatal lies when she meets ultra-glamorous mom, Emily.  When Stephanie is first approached by Emily to come over for a playdate, she is intrigued. Emily is mysterious and alluring with her super-posh lifestyle: a city job in high fashion, a sexy British author husband and an impeccably modern, showcase house. Stephanie is flattered when Emily seems to quickly latch onto her as a confidante and new best friend. She appears to be the ultimate insider, and Stephanie feels like she has cracked into a world of her most extravagant mommy dreams.

    When Emily askes for a simple favor, Stephanie eagerly agreed to take Emily’s son, Nicky, home with her after school one day. However, simple becomes complicated when Emily disappears completely, leaving Stephanie with her son and not a single clue. Following her own “moms, do everything yourself” credo, Stephanie takes it upon herself, with the help of her social media followers, to find her missing friend. She has no idea just how convoluted this mystery will become as boundaries of friendship and loyalty are tested and lurid truths are unburied. Stephanie unknowingly enters an inky-black, nerve-wracking journey into deception, duplicity and transgressions, including her own.

    Anna Kendrick is already known for her unique range.  Even so, the role of Stephanie was something completely different for her.  Stephanie might share some qualities with Kendrick, such as her exuberance and her everywoman amiability, but there is much more to the performance as Kendrick brings all at once a flair for mischievous humor, emotional complexity and an unleashed fierceness. 

    For Kendrick, the pleasure of playing Stephanie was digging into all that is going on beneath her happy-go-lucky, public social media persona. Kendrick notes that much as she plays at being a detective once Emily vanishes, she’s also just a lonely, anxious single mom with a past she desperately wants to keep locked away. “Stephanie is upbeat and always seeing the bright side, so she can be a little insufferable,” Kendrick laughs. “But I think there’s also a real sadness to her because really, she’s so lonely. When it comes to her relationship with Emily, she’s willing to put up with a lot of abuse because it’s preferable to her loneliness. And Stephanie also wants validation from Emily. I think that’s something a lot of women experience to some degree in some friendships.” 

    “A Simple Favor” will open in cinemas on September 12 from Pioneer Films.


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