Kaitlyn Dever, one of Hollywood’s upcoming actresses to look out for, is no stranger to social media. In fact, she’s devoted herself to accurately portraying the typical sheltered and overprotected teenager in Jason Reitman’s newest star-studded film “Men, Women & Children.” In the film Dever plays daughter to hyper-vigilant, internet-watchdog mom, Jennifer Garner. “I’ve gotten asked before about Jennifer Garner. It’s like her character is evil and I don’t think she’s evil at all. I think she does cross boundaries and she definitely does cross the line with being way too overly protective, but the only reason why she’s overly protective is because she just really loves her daughter. She doesn’t want anything bad to happen to her online.”
Prior to “Men, Women & Children,” Dever had been given a host of quality roles. Among her best include the genre-trumping sleeper hit “The Specular Now” (2013) and extremely powerful foster-daycare drama “Short Term 12”(2013), in which she gave a breathtakingly brave performance as the character Jayden. When asked about how she responds to receiving roles that actresses her age would only dream to have, she proclaimed, “I feel so lucky. I love doing the roles that I do and I’ve been so lucky to have been chosen for these movies. I work very, very hard for them. I’m so proud of them and I feel so blessed. It feels crazy to me.”
Dever had been given the opportunity to work alongside some top performers before, but never to such a degree as with the stacked ensemble cast of “Men, Women & Children.” Accompanying her are such actors as Adam Sandler, Jennifer Gardner, Dean Norris, Judy Greer, and Rosemarie DeWitt. “I learned so much from them because they’ve been in it for so long and they’re so professional, just in the way they acted on set and how they treated other people. I feel like I just learned from them on a broad spectrum,” Dever commented.
She also wasn’t bashful to speak highly of her co-star Ansel Elgort, star of dystopian action film “Divergence” and “The Fault in Our Stars.” In other words, the 20-year-old, charismatic, perfect-looking male star every teenage girl in the country wants to marry. “We had the best time, and he’s such a talented actor and just a talented person in general. He can sing. He can dance. He can do pretty much everything. I just feel like when we were on set, it was so easy-breezy,” Dever elaborated, “He was very, very good, at making me laugh until my stomach hurt.”
Dever also had no shortage of things to say regarding the positive experience of working with Oscar-nominated director, Jason Reitman, the visionary eye behind “Up in the Air” (2009), “Juno” (2007), and “Thank You For Smoking” (2005). “He is phenomenal. I felt overly comfortable talking to him about my character and I really felt like we were really good friends, which is always important. He had a specific vision the whole time, but he also let us have freedom and explore our characters. He is, bottom line, just a very, very talented guy.”
“Men Women & Children” investigates our perpetual obsession with the Internet, social media, and examines the misfortunes they sometimes bring. Dever added, “It’s kind of new for adults as well, but I think social media is at its height right now and maybe we’re just trying to figure out what to do with it. I don’t think Jason wanted to show that social media was a bad thing. I think he definitely just wanted to tell a true and honest story about what’s going on in the world right now, and how humans are connecting with each other, and how they’re connecting with each other online.” She added, “I think he just wanted to show different sides of the equation.”
Dever will also be starring in this year’s upcoming romantic comedy “Laggies”(2014) featuring Sam Rockwell, Keira Knightley, and Chloë Grace Moretz. Her last request is that after this, she’d love to do an action film. She cut in, “I’d like to do some training with some guns and stuff, or learn how to fight! I’m just spitting out all the options here,” she laughs, “but I just mainly want to stick to film, and more dramatic roles I think”
“Men, Women & Children” is currently running a limited release in select cities and will open wide on October 17th.
Rob Gabe is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at RG770214@wcupa.edu.