Sometimes all it takes is picking up the phone to get Sophia Bush in your movie — well, at least that’s what happened to Bryan Greenberg.
“Everybody in this, for the most part, I’ve worked with,” Greenberg, 45, exclusively told Us Weekly on Tuesday, January 23, of casting his new movie Junction. “I’m not getting a cast like this if I didn’t make personal calls. You don’t get a cast like this on this kind of budget. It just doesn’t happen. So I am truly grateful for everybody who came to play and all my friends are super talented, including Sophia Bush.”
Greenberg, who wrote, directed and acts in the new film, explained that he instantly thought of Bush, 41, as one of the stars because she’s “very socially active.” The two actors previously worked together on One Tree Hill in the early 2000s. Greenberg played Jake Jaglieski from 2003 to 2006, while Bush portrayed Brooke Davis until the series’ end in 2012.
“[Sophia’s] been such a great leader for social justice and causes, so I thought this would really resonate with her,” Greenberg explained. “And thankfully it did. And she just brought it. She was so incredible in this film and heartbreaking.”
The movie highlights the modern-day opioid crisis in America from three different points of view: a CEO of a pharmaceutical company, a doctor and a patient. The project was inspired by Greenberg’s personal struggle with OxyContin after he had a routine surgery and felt “somewhat addicted” to the medication.
Greenberg plays Michael, while Bush portrays his estranged wife, Allison. Playing spouses was made easier by their past connection, according to Greenberg. “There has to be a familiarity there,” he told Us of the complex parts. “And I think because of our long friendship, you see that on film, the love comes off.”
The film also stars Greenberg’s real-life wife, Jamie Chung, as Katie and his former How to Make It in America costar Eddie Kaye Thomas as Rodgers. The cast is rounded out by Ashley Madekwe, Ryan Eggold, Michaela Conlin, Josh Peck and Griffin Dunne.
“I wouldn’t have cast all those people if I didn’t think they were amazing. So I kind of just stayed out of their way and I nudged them towards new ideas that I had,” Greenberg said of directing his inner circle, noting he tried to approach every department with “no ego” as it was his directorial debut and decided to let the “best idea” win.
He joked, “The only person that gave me a lot of grief was my wife, Jamie. No, I’m kidding.” Greenberg quipped, “I like being directed by me!” (Greenberg and Chung, 40, wed in 2015. They announced in October 2021 that they secretly welcomed twin boys.)
Junction premieres in select theaters and on-demand Friday, January 26.
With reporting by Travis Cronin