Juliette Binoche hopes ‘Paradise Highway’ will educate an audience about trafficking

Juliette Binoche as Sally in the movie “Paradise Highway”. (Nick Burchell/Lionsgate)

Juliette Binoche is always attracted to roles that are not only heavy, but carry a message.

The Oscar-winning actor’s latest film, ‘Paradise Highway,’ will be released in select theaters and on demand on Friday, July 29.

She not only wanted to bring the subject of the film to life, but also to work with director Anna Gutto.

“The more we talk about child sex trafficking, the better,” Binoche said in an interview from his home in France. “I wanted to support (Anna) to make this movie.”

Binoche and Morgan Freeman lead the thriller set in the trucking industry and its sordid underbelly of human trafficking.

To save the life of her brother, played by Frank Grillo, Sally, played by Binoche, a truck driver, reluctantly agrees to smuggle illicit goods – a girl named Leila, played by Hala Finley.

As Sally and Leila embark on a perilous journey across state lines, a dogged FBI agent, played by Freeman, sets out on their trail, determined to do whatever it takes to shut down a smuggling operation. human trafficking – and getting Sally and Leila to safety.

Binoche was drawn to Gutto’s screenplay because it has heart.

“The film is really truthful,” says Binoche.

Morgan Freeman as Gerick and Cameron Monaghan as Special Agent Finley Sterling in “Paradise Highway”. (Nick Burchell/Lionsgate)

Binoche also appreciated the complexity of Sally’s life.

“(Sally) comes from a difficult childhood and was separated from her brother because he got involved in drugs,” she says. “She is matched with him emotionally and he is her only family. She must learn to separate herself from the trauma of her childhood and her relationship.

Binoche says that Sally and Leila bond, it starts to add another layer to the story.

“Sally chooses the heart more than the blood,” she says. “It was not easy to make this decision. Sally is in a state of transformation throughout the film. Sally sees Leila as a mirror. They had a traumatic childhood and are coping with it.

Binoche says the production was filmed in Mississippi and conditions were tough because it was taking place during the pandemic.

She also had to learn to drive a tractor-trailer.

“I enjoyed it,” she says. “At first, I wondered how I was going to drive. Going up is easier than going down. I learned to shift gears without using my feet. I wanted to take the test to pass my CDL. It meant I would have to take more time.

Because Sally was a truck driver, Binoche also learned to read maps.

“I took the real cards and started drawing on the cards,” she says. “We shot the film in five weeks and we didn’t shoot it chronologically. Although filming was quick, we never lost passion for the project or the story.

Binoche hopes the film will educate an audience about child sex trafficking.

“You see it can happen anywhere,” she says. “It’s up to us as humans to see and make sure that doesn’t happen. We need to talk with the children about what can happen. I also want to show how, in the world of trucking, it’s a world full of men. It wasn’t exactly easy for women to start driving a truck. Many women are raped on the road and we don’t talk about it. Sally was able to have a group of drivers looking out for each other.

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