Exclusive Interview With the Cast of ‘The Mandela Effect’

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What a week this has been. From the exclusive private screening of The Mandela Effect to meeting with writer/director David Guy Levy and co-star Robin Lord Taylor, Geek Insider has been treated to the inside scoop. 

And it’s not quite over yet.

The same day that I sat down with Levy and Taylor, I had the pleasure of meeting with Charlie Hofheimer and Aleksa Palladino, who play Brendan and Claire respectively. In case you haven’t read the other articles linked above, Brendan and Claire are a married couple that face a tragedy when their young daughter Sam dies in a heart-wrenching accident. It’s this event that leads Brendan to the rabbit hole known as the Mandela Effect.

If you want to know more about the movie, go watch it. It’s out today in theaters and VOD. I’ve already seen it twice and will definitely be watching it again.

And don’t worry, I’ve clearly marked it before there are any spoilers in this article.

Today, we’re going to talk about the stuff we really want to know, and Charlie and Aleksa were more than happy to oblige.


I didn’t waste any time asking about their characters or acting “methods” like you read about in almost every other interview, I went straight for the stuff I know you want answers to. So here we go.

Me: Charlie, I’ll start with you, had you experienced or heard of the Mandela Effect before speaking with David or taking on this part?

Charlie: “No, I hadn’t. I had, however, gone down some of the rabbit holes that the character goes down having to do with string theory, Schrödinger’s cat, and studied, you know, various quantum physicists; Michio Kaku, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and James Gates. So when, you know, David sent me the script after introducing me to the concept and totally getting me with the Monopoly Man dude, who I was certain wore a monocle, um, it was immediately like the character. I made that connection and then did a deep dive, staring at my computer screen for days on end.”

Me: Aleksa, had you experienced or heard of the Mandela Effect before?

Aleksa: “I had not, no. Actually we were joking, because when I first got sent the script and they were like, you know, we’re interested in you playing the wife, the first thing I thought was ‘wow, they want me to play Nelson Mandela’s wife.’”

[everyone laughs]

Aleksa: “So, no.”

Charlie: “And I’ll be playing Nelson Mandela.”

Aleksa: “Yeah, it’s like, alright, it’s a stretch, but I’m all for it. So, once I figured out, you know, uh-oh, it’s a different story, I looked it up and was blown away because I misremembered everything that is a Mandela Effect. Down to like the Jiffy peanut butter and you know, all of it. Yeah, it’s pretty impressive how much your memory can be faulty and then also have that be, like, shared with many other people.”

Me: Was there any one particular that got you, that chilled you and made you wonder what’s really going on?

Aleksa: All of them. I mean, it’s sort of like it has the cumulative affect where the more you hear of them and the more you’ve misremembered, it really starts to make a big impression on the validity of your own memory.”

Me: Charlie, was there a particular one besides the Monopoly Man, or was that the big one?

Charlie: “That was the biggest one where for me I just had a crystal clear memory of something that, um, you know, supposedly, apparently, in this reality, didn’t exist. Um, so that really nailed me but there were several others that likewise I was shocked to hear. Lyrics of songs that are referenced in the movie. “Luke, I am your Father.” Popular culture ones that  I, like most people, assumed was a way it was not. So a lot of them, a lot of them worked on me as well.”

Inside Thoughts

Me: Charlie, I’ll ask you, do you think it’s possible that we’re in a simulation?

Charlie: I think we don’t know, uh you know, I think I don’t know. I do think it is possible. You know, hopefully one of the things this movie and Brendan can be a vehicle for, is in this day and age in which we all feel so certain about everything and all have dug in our grooves, dug in deep grooves about our own fore-drawn conclusions of things, hopefully Brendan and the Mandela Effect at large can encourage an opportunity for us all not to be so certain.”

Aleksa: “Ask questions.”

Charlie: “Yeah, you know what I mean?”

Me: Yes, very much so. Like you said, we don’t know and I think that’s the whole thing. Then Brendan goes in search of the truth and that’s what a lot of people who have encountered this want. What is the answer?

Me: Where there any scenes, for either one of you, that were left out that you wish made it into the release?

Charlie: “Hm…I feel like we used all of them.”

Aleksa: “No, Yeah.”

Charlie: “There may have been others in my imagination that I felt would have made good scenes. Or others still that Aleksa and I spitballed and conceived of in our own mind’s eye just in the process of defining the relationship.”

Me: David had mentioned a scene in the car where you’re all singing “We are the Champions…

Aleksa: “Ohhh.. right, right right. I keep forgetting that’s not in it.”

Charlie: “Is that not in it?”

Me: No it’s not.

Charlie: “I feel like there’s a clip of it. Maybe they didn’t use, oh, they didn’t use the {sings the line} “of the world.”

Aleksa: “Right.”

Charlie: “Which is one of the Mandela Effects. Yeah. Everybody remembers that lyric {sings again} “of the world.”

Aleksa: “Yeah, exactly.”

[everyone laughs]

There you have it folks. David Guy Levy opened the eyes of at least 3 people to the Mandela Effect, including Robin Lord Taylor. There were more in the cast so we can safely assume that he introduced even more. The movie treated the Effect with respect and it ends in a way that I think we can all appreciate. Hopefully, this movie will open the eyes of many more across the world.

If you haven’t seen it yet, or you hate spoilers, you’ll want to stop here and come back after viewing The Mandela Effect. The rest of what they had to say could spoil a few things.

So, have another look at the trailer and then go grab your VOD copy or head to the theater to see it.

You won’t regret it.

***Warning! Here, There Be Spoilers***

Me: Aleksa, I wanted to ask you, you’ve been an advocate for roles for women and Claire is the rock of the relationship upon the death of Sam while Brendan closes off and goes down the rabbit hole. How did you feel about portraying this strong female character?

Aleksa: “I mean, you know, what’s so interesting about the dynamic between them is that, here these two people are that shared the same tragedy, but deal with it in completely different ways. And I think that’s so true to how people deal with tragedy in general. That there’s no one way to grieve, there’s no one way to move forward or process. So I really love the contrast between Claire and Brendan and how Claire, Claire really wants to accept what has happened and integrate it into her reality and heal with it. And Brendan wants to fight against that pain and reality. I don’t know if one is stronger than the other. I think both are very strong in their own convictions. “

Me: Good point.

Aleksa: “You know, I think that, I mean, and then she starts to crack up too. So I don’t really know how strong she is.”

Me: Well, she starts cracking up, to me, when she appears to start having memories of Sam’s death and it causes her grasp on reality to be shaken and sorts of shuts her down as well, you’re right, until she finally breaks.”

Aleksa: “Exactly.”

Me: Where there any initial plans to expand on that aspect of Claire as far as, you know, Sam not supposed to be there?

Aleksa: “I mean I wish like this was like a 5 hour movie and we could’ve gotten into all these little crevices. For my own, um, emotional continuity with Claire, I really wanted to play with the idea of the body holding onto a trauma. Um, the body having its own memory. And so her crack up for me, is, you know, as Sam is coming back to this new reality, there’s something in Claire’s body that has such a distinct memory of the grief and that makes her crack because her body has a different memory than what her current reality is presenting her with. So yeah, if this were a TV show, we’d have tons of time to go in and explore that. But, maybe we’ll make a TV show out of it.” [laughs]

Charlie: “Well yeah. I spent some time in development before we got into production, I was lucky enough to be invited into some of the story development and one of things that we really toiled with was, you know, just how clearly the antagonist will define itself in this story. I think it’s one of the really interesting formal experiments of the movie that is not likely to be seen in many others. It’s the way that, as an audience, we’re forced to create the connection between these events that are occurring and, um, decide for ourselves what’s manifesting them, what is causing this to happen. And I think that it’s one of the strengths of this movie that it strikes this balance between an antagonist who we don’t see in the flesh and blood, um, and who is there, but who isn’t so spoon fed to us such that we can, you know, can decide easily one way or the other about it. I think this is part of what leaves people thinking when they see this movie. Leaves people having a conversations and questioning their own ideas of what is, you know.”

Me: I agree. 

The Future

Me: Going back to what Aleksa mentioned a minute ago about if it had been a series, I did ask David if there were any plans on a sequel and he said that it would have to be the same cast and being reset. If he came up with another unique aspect to this, would you guys be interested in reprising these roles?

Aleksa: “Oh, absolutely. I think there’s so much more to mine there.”

Charlie: “So much more, yeah. I think there’s so many questions asked and posed in this first one. And you know, I would just jump at the privilege to work with this group of actors and Dave again and Steffen, because, you know, we care tremendously about the product, but the process is where we live our lives and going to work with people you love, to have the constructive confrontation of collaboration with people that you respect is, you know, is what we’re all trying to replicate through all of our projects.”

Aleksa: “Yeah, definitely. It’s a special group of people. Also, it’s kind of interesting to see where a sequel would go. Like, where it would start and basically, Brendan has crashed the world and its rebooted and the only thing we know is that Sam exists in it now but we don’t know what else is different.”

Charlie: “The rat can complete the maze in a faster time.”

Me: And if I saw correctly, when the world reset, Curious George didn’t have his tail.

Aleksa: “Right. Right.”

Charlie: “Good catch. Good catch. There’s lots of other buried Mandela effects in there.”

Aleksa: “Yeah.”

Me: Oh, I know, and this is a credit to all you guys. At first, I was sitting there taking notes on every Mandela Effect I was seeing, but then I got so drawn into the movie, I quit taking notes and I was just watching.

Aleksa: “That’s great.”

Me: I absolutely loved how the ending happened. I truly believe that this has the strength for at least a sequel.

Aleksa: “Wow, Cool.” [giggles]

And that’s it folks. I can’t tell you what an honor it was to get an exclusive screening of the movie and getting sit down time with David Guy Levy, Robin Lord Taylor, Charlie Hofheimer, and Aleksa Palladino. I sincerely enjoyed The Mandela Effect and I really hope we see more from this team really soon. 

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