Elizabeth Banks, from Hunger Games to 'People Like Us'

On a roll after the smash success of “The Hunger Games” where she played the pink-haired Effie Trinket, Elizabeth Banks now appears as Frankie, the long-lost half-sister of Chris Pine's character in DreamWorks Pictures' acclaimed drama comedy “People Like Us.”

In “People Like Us,” street-wise salesman Sam (Pine) finds his latest deal collapsing on the same day he learns that his father has suddenly died. Against his wishes, Sam is called home, where he must put his father’s estate in order and reconnect with his estranged family. In the course of fulfilling his father’s last wishes, Sam uncovers a startling secret that turns his entire world upside-down: He has a 30-year-old sister Frankie (Banks) whom he never knew about. As their relationship develops, Sam is forced to rethink everything he thought he knew about his family—and re-examine his own life choices in the process.

“Frankie is always leery of men,” Banks describes her character. “I think she’s met all kinds and she’s very protective of herself and her situation and her son. To invite someone as deeply into her heart as she does Sam is a very rare thing for Frankie.”

The filmmakers embraced Banks’ comedic talents as they felt that her natural talent would be perfect to define Frankie’s on-screen persona. Writer-director Alex Kurtzman explains, “Elizabeth is such a natural comedienne; she’s so funny, and she can make a moment pop in 10,000 different ways, and that’s what her character Frankie needed to do. Frankie needed to be this person who came into the room and you couldn’t take your eyes off of her. And if you asked her a direct question about her life experience, she’d deflect it with some humor.”

Banks can likewise relate to the film's theme. “I actually know a couple of people who met family members way late in the game,” shares the actress, “and interestingly I think you have a life at that point, so it really is all about how much you are going to let this person in or out, and how open you are going to be to this new scenario.

“As we get older, we choose our family,” adds Banks. “When we’re children we don’t have a choice. But when we’re older, we really can make choices about whom we want to invite into our life in that kind of way. And I kept thinking about moments I could relate to Frankie. Frankie always knew her father was out there and wondered when she was walking down the street, did she pass him or is he around. I love thinking about those things.”

Check out the trailer below.

Asked what audiences should expect from “People Like Us,” Banks replies, “I come back to this theme of acceptance and gratitude and grace and forgiveness. A lesson I’ve had to learn in my life is that forgiveness is the ultimate grace, and the idea that crosses all cultures is that you really can find grace in forgiveness.”

The film will be shown exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas (Glorietta 4 & Trinoma) starting Aug. 15.

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