The price of war
Haley Bennett, known for her roles in The Magnificent Seven and The Girl on the Train, discusses war and patriotism in this exclusive chat with CE about her upcoming film, Thank You for Your Service
American war drama, Thank You for Your Service, has released overseas to good reception. The film, an adaptation of David Finkel’s acclaimed eponymous book, launches a poignant investigation into the lives of soldiers who don’t quite return to their families as they were. Among the affected families are the Schumanns — Adam and Saskia. Haley Bennett, who plays Saskia Schumann, on how the film’s story rings very personal for her:
Was it essential that you read David Finkel’s book on which this film is based?
I read the book, yeah. It was incredibly informative and eye-opening, but for me, that was just the beginning of the prepping process. I also had conversations with Saskia herself, and being a child of a veteran, I drew from my own experiences. My father and my grandfather were both veterans. Also, my first boyfriend became a Navy SEAL. So, this story took on a personal meaning for me.
What were the nature of your conversations with Saskia Schumann?
I guess I could say I developed a relationship with Saskia. I had many hours of phone calls with her. Being able to collaborate for a film such as this was such a unique experience. It connected us in a really special way; it locked us into the telling of this story.
Based on your conversations with her, what struck you most about Saskia’s plight?
She had high hopes for her life and they were taken away from her by the war. Saskia represents thousands of military wives who get by, while trying to stay strong for the sake of their families.
Does the film shed light on how the soldiers often end up fighting their psychological battles alone?
I think this story is more about good people who are doing their best to get by. When you see the film, you’ll get a better understanding of who we are thanking and what we are thanking them for.
Has this story affected your views about war, patriotism?
When I read the script, it was like an alarm went off. It got me asking a lot of questions, and I had a real human connection to the people the film is based on. Let me just say that I’m grateful to all of the brave men and women who risk their lives to keep us safe.
What impact do you hope this film will have?
First, it feels incredible to be able to tell this story. It’s based on real families and their struggles. My one hope is that the film will get people talking.
Thank You For Your Service is being released across India by Reliance Entertainment on November 24