Hannah Marks is the director of the latest drama hitting Prime Video.

In her Don’t Make Me Go, Marks had the difficult task of representing a story of the most challenging moment in a family’s life. Ahead of the movie’s release, ComingSoon spoke with the up-and-coming actress and director. Don’t Make Me Go also features John Cho, Mia Isaac, Mitchell Hope, Jemaine Clement, Stefania LaVie Owen, and Kaya Scodelario.

“When single father Max (John Cho) discovers he has a terminal disease, he decides to try and cram all the years of love and support he will miss with his teenage daughter Wally (Mia Isaac) into the time he has left with her,” read the synopsis. “With the promise of long-awaited driving lessons, he convinces Wally to accompany him on a road trip from California to New Orleans for his 20th college reunion, where he secretly hopes to reunite her with her mother who left them long ago. A wholly original and emotional journey, Don’t Make Me Go explores the unbreakable, eternal bond between a father and daughter from both sides of the generational divide with heart and humor along for the ride.”

Tudor Leonte: You have experience both as an actress and a director. How did these experiences influence each other in the making of Don’t Make Me Go?

Hannah Marks: They inform each other a lot. I found that being an actor has made me a better director. Just have a lot of respect for the process and wanna be as supportive as possible to the actors on the project. Being a director has also made me a better actor because I really understand now what goes on behind the scenes and how important it is to be open-minded and collaborative. I’m glad that both careers can feed each other.

Your movie takes us into the secret world of teenagers. It always seems there is a sort of incommunicability between adults and teenagers, we can see that even in the relationship between Max and Wally. What’s the best way to portray this generational gap? 

Marks: When I first read the script, I was really relating to Wally so much because I was closer in her age when I first was sent the script. I really connected to her choices and understood where she was coming from. Then, as I got a bit older and grew with the material and the movie finally came to fruition, I was relating more and more to Max and Max’s more responsible perspective. I think it’s just about realizing that we’ve all been in both positions. That’s part of life, changing our perspective.

RELATED: Don’t Make Me Go Trailer: John Cho Leads Amazon Comedy-Drama Film

The story follows a single father dealing with a brain tumor. How did you find the balance between being forced to live in a fatal condition and the need to leave a message of hope? 

Marks: I think it’s a tricky one, but the truth is we all experience our own hardships and our own problems in life. That’s normal. We can’t escape that. I think to try to brush over that type of thing in a movie is just not real. You can’t have joy without some sadness. I learned that from the movie Inside Out. [Laughs].

That’s a great answer. The characters who leave for a journey are never the same ones when they return home. The journey forces them to face their fears and, in doing so, to mature. In your opinion, what’s the most crucial moment of Max and Wally’s journey?

Marks: I know this is a spoiler, but probably when Wally crashes the car. It’s like, everything comes to a head in that moment. All of this unspoken tension between them has finally been spoken, and now they get to really be honest with each other. And that’s really catapulted by this accident that they get in. It’s like, there’s nothing to lose anymore.



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