Q&A: Director David Schwimmer shares Trust issues

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Unsuspecting audiences may find the biggest twist in the searing parental drama "Trust" comes during the closing credits with the words "Directed by David Schwimmer."

Yes, that David Schwimmer.

He is well aware of the perceived departure. "It does make me think, I wish I could be anonymous [as the director], because it wouldn't be an issue," he said in a recent phone interview. "People would just watch the film."

"Trust" focuses on a teenage girl's encounter with an online sexual predator and the resulting impact on a seemingly perfect family - not exactly the sort of fare one would expect from the former "Friends" star whose last film was the comedy "Run, Fatboy, Run."

But it stemmed from Schwimmer's 14 years of involvement with a California foundation that helps young sexual abuse victims and the real-life horror stories he encountered there - particularly one father's account of the rape of his 14-year-old daughter.

"The combination of rage and guilt and grief and responsibility nearly destroyed his marriage, his relationship with his kids, work, everything," Schwimmer said.

That father's story was one of the inspirations for the character played by Clive Owen. The casting of a tough-guy actor may lead audiences to suspect "Trust" is a tale of a father's revenge, a la "Taken." That's not the case.

"That's exactly why Clive was my first choice," Schwimmer said. "That's the Hollywood version - that he does hunt down [the predator] - but in real life, that just doesn't happen."

The underrated Owen turns in one of the best performances of his career, but more amazing is that his young counterpart, Liana Liberato - who was just 14 at the time of filming - also carries the film.

"Every day I was just stunned by her," Schwimmer said, "her natural ability and her instincts at such a young age. All of us as actors were just jealous."

"Trust" lost an appeal to overturn its R-rating, but Schwimmer still feels it's an important film for young people to see.

"My dream, honestly, is that parents come with their teenagers," he said. "It gives parents a tool to talk about some difficult things with their kids."

Schwimmer knows it may be hard for audiences to separate this work from his "Friends" past - even opting to not be credited until the end of the film.

"What am I gonna do? It may take, you know, another 10 years for that to not be part of my thought process," he said.


Opens Friday