STAGE TO SCREENS: Anna Kendrick, Jeremy Jordan and Richard LaGravenese Re-Examine The Last Five Years on Film

By Michael Gioia
25 Feb 2014

Kendrick and Jordan on the set
As for fault when it comes to Cathy and Jamie, Kendrick finds it difficult to place the blame. "I mean, it's so hard. Is it ever really somebody's fault?" she asked. "If you have friends who are a couple, and they break up, they're definitely blaming the other person for the reason it didn't work out, so I don't think there's an easy answer. But, that's the great thing. I love hearing people talk about the material…"

Director LaGravenese agreed. "I wanted it to be balanced, so that you really can't [decide]… That's how relationships are," he said. "You fall in love and you both make mistakes, and you're both right, and you're both wrong, and sometimes it just doesn't work out, and that ambiguity is what, to me, is so beautiful about this."

The film brings the Cathy-Jamie dynamic to a new level, allowing audiences to meet their friends, colleagues and past lovers (played by a slew of other theatre actors, including Jordan's wife Ashley Spencer), see their struggles and successes and relish in their happiness. Passionate and touching scenes between Jordan and Kendrick ensue during "Shiksa Goddess," "I Can Do Better Than That," "The Next Ten Minutes" and "Goodbye Until Tomorrow," and heartbreak and conflict are evident with songs such as "If I Didn't Believe in You" and "See I'm Smiling," among others.

"There's something that is very honest about wanting to feel the kind of love that these people feel and also know that it might not work out," said composer-lyricist Brown. "I think that there is something very real and very universal about that, especially for young people and young artists. It's a piece about what it is to be a young artist. It's a piece about what it is to have arrived in this amazing city and say, 'I'm going to conquer all of it at once. I'm going to fall in love with the perfect person. I'm going to be a big star. I'm going to do all of that' and then see whether it plays out the way you planned, and I think there's just something that is very true about the piece. I mean, there's certainly something that is very true for me about the piece, and so I think it rings for people that way."

A release date for the film has not yet been set.

( staff writer Michael Gioia's work appears in the news, feature and video sections of as well as in the pages of Playbill magazine. Follow him on Twitter at @PlaybillMichael.)

Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan on the "Last Five Years" Film Set

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Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan
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