Phase9 Entertainment


Movie Interview by Neils Hesse

So what do you like most about your character in this film?

I like it when characters aren't easy and you have to work them out. A guy who is passionately, happily married and is ecstatic to be able to finally get a divorce is a weird thing to play, so we had a lot of fun doing that trying to make that real and believable so that you're not sitting there thinking what the hell is that, but that you're actually thinking I believe it, and you start to ponder why is he doing that. That's what is great about the job to be able to take something that on the face of it is too difficult to believe and to make it real. It is a great script and even though we were not paid, we were only going to be used for three to four days so it meant that we could afford to do it.

What was it like to work with Catherine Tate?

It was great - very, very good. She was a straight woman really in the film, and in this country her comedy is prolific, on par with LITTLE BRITAIN, THE OFFICE, she's just hit that plateau, catch phrases for different characters, not just one but loads. Yet she started out as a classically trained actress, acting with her was very easy.

In the film there are some moments were you are propositioned by a gay guy, has that ever happened to you in real life?

No it hasn't, I am yet to experience that.

Do you have anything big lined up next?

Since doing the last series of HUSTLE, before that I did this film, I did SPIDER-MAN 3 at that time and continued it months later. I did AS YOU LIKE IT with Kenneth Branagh, the Shakespeare film. I did a film called STARTING OUT IN THE EVENING which is about to go to Sundance [Film Festival] in January. I did a pilot for Twentieth Century Fox which they are still deciding on. I am now doing a film called CASE 39 with Renee Zellweger in Canada and I finish shooting that in November.

So which do you prefer the big THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW and SPIDER-MAN 3 films or smaller films like this?

I prefer whatever is going to leave me enough script and space to get my teeth into some good acting and some films you do for the taxman, for commerce so that you can be around, so that people can say, "Oh yeah I recognise that face". So you do some films for that and other jobs you do because it makes you a better actor. Films like THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW and SPIDER-MAN 3, are brilliant opportunities to be a part of but actually the complexities of a part like Henry the fifth or Hamlet compared to what I did in THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW are quite different.

Would you say that there is any one in particular who has had a big influence on you?

I don't really admire actors per se, but I admire performances. There are lots and lots of performances that have had a big impact on me. Strangely I admire people for doing something that isn't expected of them. I like Edward Norton. I liked THE BOURNE IDENTITY, they did everything by action, pairing it down to the point where they did almost nothing which was a new take on the secret agent thing which is why Bond had to flip and change. Performances like for instance Matt Damon IN THE BOURNE IDENTITY and SUPREMACY, playing someone who didn't know who he was, for a lot of it he remained quite blank which was quite a brave choice he didn't fill it up with a lot of physical exertions, even within a chase sequence he just looked like he switched off - very well done I thought. SEVEN was brilliant. Morgan Freeman I admire. Denzel Washington in THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE and in MAN ON FIRE. There's something unrepresentational that he's allowed himself to do, he's no longer wearing the mantle of having to be ambassadorial in his roles, he's allowing the true feeling of the underbelly of human nature to come through in those particular roles. He's done it before and he'll do it again but when you see something like that, when you see someone dig somewhere else and think I want to do this now.

Was that your own suit that you wore in this film?

Yes it was, but it wasn't my shirt or pair of shoes.

Was it your choice to wear a suit?

We decided that my character would be the kind of guy who had made a bit of money and what he wore was a part of how he worked, he wasn't in a kind of funky media work, so we tried to create someone who was a bit office bound and for Catherine's dress code as well she was meant to be someone who was free, well to do, so that as you puzzled about them you didn't settle on easy things as to why they were splitting up, we just wanted you to just see the characters.

Is there anything that you would have liked to have added to your character in this film?

No not really.

Is there any film particularly a British one that you've seen that you really liked in say the last six months?

I admire the way that British actors are getting everywhere, there's a heavy weight naturalism to your Brit actor. I like the way Batman was re-invented with a very strong British cast, all over it and because of that it had a kind of gritty realistic feel which BATMAN was missing and they kick started the franchise, I can easily imagine them doing another BATMAN film. I saw a good independent film called THE LAST KISS with Zach Braff, it is well worth the ticket price.

Any aspirations to direct?

Yes, I know I will at some point it's just a question of the project and when.