Saturday, September 25, 2010
Jack’s in his late forties, early fifties, it’s kinda hard to tell being played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, who has got to be the most unhealthy looking creature on the face of the earth. Honestly, he looks like an unearthed corpse, embalmed about a week ago; particularly with his hair matted and tangled with attempted dread locks.
For this sneak preview of Jack Goes Boating, the audience was treated to a guest appearance by actress, Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone).
Q: How was it playing opposite Philip Seymour Hoffman, while he’s also directing?
AR: To be directed by your leading man.. um… Well, we had the extraordinary experience of rehearsing this movie for two weeks before we shot anything on film… I think it’s just a shift in energy for me, it’s not a director yelling cut, he just says cut. And then he can whisper something to me after the scene, where other times on set you’ll hear cut and wait for the director to take that dreaded walk towards you as you’re thinking “what’s he gonna say?” Wondering if you messed it up or were on target. So it was truly more intimate.
Q: How did you prepare for a role where you had to balance being desirable and a little bit…
AR: You can say it (laughter)
Q: Let’s say incompetent.
AR: I rely heavily on the script, what the writer says about the character. But in places where it’s not written, I would ask Bob (Glaudini), he was there on set with us and during the rehearsal process, questions like why is Connie here, why is she so shy, why does she use language like this? And it would be very frustrating because in answer, a slow grin would spread across his face and he’d shrug his shoulders, basically giving me the freedom to come up with a back story of my own. But yes, it is a delicate balance.
Q: What is Connie’s back story?
AR: I see her not as someone who’s had something tragic happen to her in life. I think she’s just been terribly unlucky in love and has gotten accustomed to being alone, but also instinctively knows this has to change, this can’t go on any longer. And I admire that part of her, that strength to go forward when she’d rather be at home reading a book.
Q: When did you get involved in the movie?
AR: Phil asked me about a year before we started shooting and I knew I would do it… When I read the script, she um.. she confused me. And I like a challenge like that – when I read a script and I don’t know what to do with it on my first read sitting in my living room. And also I’ve never been in a love story, that was really new territory for me. I thought it was a beautiful world to explore.
Q: What do you look for when you’re sent a script?
AR: That I’m not repeating myself. After Gone Baby Gone all the scripts I was offered where drug addicted mothers and it’s like oooh there’s an idea (sarcasm). So I try to keep making right angle turns. From Gone Baby Gone, I went to The Office. I don’t think I’ll be able to avoid that all the time, because I believe there are only about 8 stories in the world, dressed up in different costumes. But for me, it’s an instinct, if I start imagining a character, the way they walk and talk… I close the script and later I may be walking down the street and I can’t get them out of my head; it almost like when you meet someone and fall in love or have a crush and literally you can’t stop thinking about them… But if I’m bored half way through then I know I’m going to be bored on set and that’s never good.
Q: The characters are so socially awkward, so many silences. Is that difficult to deliver?
AR: Uh… (beat) (silence) (laughter)
Q: Good answer.
AR: Yeah. No. not really. Whether you tell this story with paragraphs or with silences, as long as you’re on track and it feels right then you know you are in the right territory. But there are those moments that did seem stretched when you wonder if he’s about to say cut, but a lot of that gets edited down. I think the beauty of this film is showing how hard it is to find love later in your life. I have a lot of friends who have experiences like this, just being vulnerable, beating yourself up, and saying the wrong things on first dates…. Jack’s trying to find himself, he’s such a late bloomer… We want to know what’s wrong with both of them, but the truth is, they are just lonely hearts. They haven’t met the right one and it’s just a very painful process for Connie & Jack to open themselves up.
To read my complete commentary on the film visit PFS blog