LOS ANGELES - What would you do if you weren’t afraid? It’s the premise behind Justine Bateman’s film "Violet," an intriguing and immersive movie centered on the universal theme of decision making. It’s also her feature-length directorial debut.
"Even though it’s set in Hollywood, it’s not about Hollywood. Even though the main character’s a woman, this isn’t just about women," Bateman told FOX Television Stations in a press interview. "This is absolutely about the human condition of having fearful thoughts that keep us from being ourselves."
Olivia Munn in "Violet" (Credit: Relativity)
The film follows Violet Calder, played by Olivia Munn, as she realizes that she can no longer ignore the daily barrage of self-criticism that clouds her life.
WATCH: Olivia Munn in "Mortdecai"
That inner criticism is voiced by male actor Justin Theroux, an interesting creative decision by Bateman.
"I wanted the negative thoughts to sound so different from Olivia that it would help the audience to see these thoughts and just to think of them as outside of themselves so they could look at them objectively," Bateman continued.
This causes Violet to make fear-based decisions that hold her back from the kind of professional, personal and romantic life she knows she wants.
"It’s just like a paper-cut — someone telling themselves they’re too fat or too tall or whatever it is," Bateman explained. "In my experience, if you have a paper-cut cutting in the same place over and over and over again, it becomes a gash, and then it becomes a scar and then it becomes this groove like on a record, and the needle just keeps going over this groove over and over and over again, until you think that’s part of your personality, and it’s not. It’s just a negative belief that you perpetrated so often that you have forgotten what it’s like to not believe that, and in fact, it’s just a lie."
Olivia Munn and Luke Bracey in "Violet" (Credit: Relativity)
Unsure how to live a life free from that self-doubt, like Violet’s childhood friend Red (Luke Bracey), she realizes the voice inside her head has been lying to her and has no choice but to travel a road that is even more frightening to her than the fear that holds her back: that of doing everything differently.
Bateman, known for her performances in films and television shows like "Desperate Housewives" and "Family Ties", says she realized years ago that the negative thoughts inside her were lies, and she hopes the film can serve as a roadmap for others, helping them to move on from making fear-based decisions to instinct-based ones.
"My hope is that everybody on the planet could be completely themselves and not make decisions out of fear at all," Bateman, 55, shared. "This is my gesture toward helping people have a more fearless life."
"Violet" is Bateman’s first feature-length film and held its world premiere at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival and became an official selection at the 2021 Toronto Film Festival.
"I’ve wanted to direct since I was 19, but I had to wait for the timing inside," Bateman said. "There’s a lot of scripts I’ve written that I want to direct, so I hope to do many, many, many more."
Rated R. 92 minutes. In select theaters Oct. 29 and at home On Demand Nov. 9. Dir: Justine Bateman. Featuring: Olivia Munn, Luke Bracey and Justin Theroux.
Get to know the artist with these (free) Justine Bateman movies on Tubi:
Hybrid (2006): "Blinded in an accident, a young man receives wolf eyes as part of a cross-species experiment which backfires when he starts to behave like a wolf." This wolf, we must warn you, is not a teenager who also plays basketball.
The Fatal Image (1990): "A mother and daughter out in Paris before the daughter transfers colleges witness a murder on tape and are tormented by the killers for the evidence."
The Death Artist (1995): "Teen icons Anthony Michael Hall and Justine Bateman star in this horror story of a busboy whose plaster work with a dead animal leads to much worse." Just in time to wrap up spooky season!
Pencils Down! The 100 Days of the Writers Guild Strike (2016): "Interviews and historic footage capture the 100-day strike that shut down Hollywood when writers and studios clashed about content on the Internet."
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About the writer: Stephanie Weaver is a Los Angeles-based journalist. She is a host of the national streaming show, LiveNOW from FOX, and is a digital reporter for FOX TV. Find her on Facebook and Instagram at @StephWeaverTV.