Out of Left field
Justin Theroux wishes his personal life wasn’t why TheLeftovers got extra attention, writes SARAH BLAKE
JUSTIN Theroux isn’t one to make a fuss. So while shooting the upcoming final season of cult mystery drama The Leftovers in Australia, he regularly apologised to his fellow castmates.
The problem? The swarm of paparazzi who followed him because of his other role, as the husband of Jennifer Aniston.
While Theroux has become accustomed to this side of the celebrity circus since falling in love with the former Friends star five years ago, his co-stars in the HBO series admit they found the extra scrutiny unnerving.
So much so, Carrie Coon – who plays the love interest of Theroux’s existentially challenged police chief Kevin Garvey – tells TV Guide she hopes she never becomes a “real celebrity”.
“Justin has them (paparazzi) all over the world … and sometimes they spoil things because they will take photos of him on set and people will see plot points,” she says. “He is so graceful about all of it, [but] it’s so much pressure.”
Such a level of recognition for its male lead could be expected to deliver the kind of publicity most producers would relish for this critically lauded but not widely known fantasy from Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof.
But Coon and Theroux argue the opposite is true.
“They just want to see pictures of Justin’s abs – so I don’t know that it helps, necessarily,” Coon says.
Theroux is not convinced there is a connection between the fans who buy into the “bulls---” written about his relationship and true fans, dubbed “Left-ies”, who love his show.
“The pictures are just tittle tattle, you know, it’s all bulls---,” he says.
“I have gotten more used to it [paparazzi] but when people who aren’t used to it have to act [during filming] and they might be doing something emotional … it can be annoying.”
His attitude is impressive, treating the interest “like weather”, explaining: “You can’t fight it so if it’s going to rain that day it’s going to rain that day. I usually apologise [to cast and crew] and they say, ‘Don’t worry about it’.”
The third season of The Leftovers sees the action move from Texas and New York to Australia, delivering about $20 million to the economy and creating more than 250 local jobs in the three months of shooting last year in Melbourne, country Victoria and Broken Hill.
Lindelof says he wanted to film the sign-off here because “Australia is the end of the world geographically and our show is about the end of the world emotionally”.
“There’s also something about Australian cinema – it’s primal, ancient and spiritual – that felt like it fit The Leftovers, whether it’s Mad Max movies, Walkabout, Wake in Fright, [or] Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock,” he says.
The finale is set four years after season two ended and seven years after the series began with “the departure,” (the sudden disappearance of two per cent of the world’s population).
Theroux says he hopes the show’s fans will be happy with how it ends, despite the fact many mysteries will remain unexplained.
“You have to see it to understand what I mean, but it was one of those moments where you think they are going to zig and they zag,” he says.
“It was just an amazing piece of writing.”