What Are You Nostalgic For?

The stars of Nostalgia open up about the things that matter to them

What Are You Nostalgic For?

Written by Peter Bowen

Mark Pellington's film Nostalgia began with a 2013 New York Times article entitled, "What Is Nostalgia Good For? Quite a Bit, Research Shows." New studies highlight the ways in which the poignant, sometimes melancholic emotions of nostalgia make us "a bit more human." The article struck a chord with Pellington, who found a deep resonance in the idea of nostalgia. He remembers "going through the process of looking through all the photos and personal belongings in [his] life," recognizing the ways that objects retain memories and feelings long after people have disappeared and experiences have faded. A few years later, he reached out to filmmaker Alex Ross Perry to help transform this idea into a screenplay.

Pellington and Perry's exploration of the concept immediately connected to people. "It had a lot of elements that articulated what I'd recently gone through while taking care of my parents," recalls producer Tom Gorai, adding that "a lot of actors felt strongly about the material because of their own relationship to the loss of someone close to them." Jon Hamm responded to the way the story pushes all of us to ask important questions: "What do you want? What do you need? And what do you leave behind?" We asked some of the film's stars to talk about the things that matter to them.

Jon Hamm | Life is a song

In Nostalgia, Jon Hamm plays Will Beam, the owner of a sports memorabilia shop in Las Vegas, who returns to his childhood home to sort through crates of records, photographs, and other objects before selling his parents' house. Hamm, who rose to fame as the star of Mad Men, the award-winning TV show that reignited 60's nostalgia, recounts how music transports him back to the past. "The soul music of the early 1970s reminds me of a much freer, weirder time than we now live in," Hamm recounts.

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