Wednesday, December 08, 2010

*Live Blog* The Hollywood Reporter's Actors Roundtable

Y'all remember when I did this for the ladies so I figure it's twin-time. You have to have both pieces of a matching set. Not that I'm looking forward to this one as much. Impress or surprise me fellas! You're not actresses so you have to work harder to provide Film Experience jollies. (If you have time to watch the full video it's at the bottom of the post.)

1:00 Robert Duvall (Get Low) tells a rambling story about becoming an actor and reveals "my brothers were both professional singers." The Duvall Brothers, eh? I so wanna hear that record. Would it be like the Osmonds except with less smiling?

3:00 The discussion turns to acting as a rewarding profession. Colin Firth (The King's Speech) picks up this Duvall baton.
"You get to play all your life. Most people have to grow out of it. The fantasy thing stays alive which is wonderful. It can be a little hard on the people living with you..."
  He then reveals the dangers in staying a child when you're a grown-up. Those who do get very susceptible to external matters of fame; they become needy about attention and far too giddy if someone pats them on the back.

4:00 The first laugh of the hour comes from Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right) who pats Firth on the back. Right then.

Blazing young star and seasoned professional.

 6:03 Firth is still talking three minutes later but the thing that struck me here is realizing how young Ryan Gosling (Blue Valentine) is. He just turned 30 two weeks ago. I never think about this but seeing him in this context I'm suddenly like 'oh, yes. baby star' Sometimes I forget that though actresses are regularly giant stars in their 20s, the male actors take longer to ascend. 

7:00 This is funny. The reporters try to lead Firth to name projects he hated.

Reporter: Have you done a film or a role where you really felt it wasn't quality and you knew it?
Firth: Have you glanced at my CV?
Funny. Firth is still talking. I don't recall any of the actresses hogging the convo this much.

7:40 Linguistic Trivia! Firth claims that English civilians use the word "resting" to describe time off between actor's roles but he says that actual actors don't use the word as there's nothing "restive" about it. Ruffalo says he calls this "rotting."

9:02 The toughest moment in Ruff's career? He's talking about the bi-coastal issue of theater and the perception being if you're doing theater in LA people think you're a loser. It took him forever to get his first movie role. So he's doing theater and bartending (in LA) and going "Where's my Rumblefish?" This leads to an incredibly off moment where James Franco (32) suddenly gets confused about how old Mark Ruffalo is (43). Awwwk-kwward. (From the looks of things, Jesse Eisenberg doesn't know what a Rumblefish is.)

For the record Rumblefish debuted in 1983 when Ruffalo was only 16 and not legally allowed to serve alcohol. He meant it aspirationally rather than real-time concurrently. Duh, Franco!

10:49 Ruffalo says he's from Kenosha, Wisconsin. Wisconsin readers? Are you proud to claim the Ruff?

11:54 Now he is talking about seeing A Streetcar Named Desire on TV and realizing what acting was for the first time. This is the second random reference to Marlon Brando and we're only 12 minutes in. That man casts quite a long shadow with thespians.

14:00 Hmmm. Amazing descriptive nugget of great acting from Duvall "Terrific interior moment that works in the imaginary set of circumstances." I love that. But then he has to go and ruin it by bagging on critics for a split second. I hate when actors do this because it's so short-sighted. I always wish people would stop and ask themselves where the legends of entertainment would be, or rather, how large would their legend be if you removed the perceptive things that have been written about them over the years, the monuments to their performances and such. Not as legendary that's where they'd be.

17:24 Gosling explains that he worked on risky material now because of starting on undemanding television shows. He talks about growing up around a lot of crazy characters and not seeing them reflected on television or the screen.
They were good or they were bad [on film]. The people I was growing up around were everything all the time. They were good people but they were bad people. They were funny but they were doing terrible things. So I think I just naturally gravitated to those kinds or roles
He then talks about superhero films and the like and how he isn't sure he could do them and assumes they'd be hard to do, acting against nothingness rather than another actor. Brief shoutout to Michelle Williams for her difficult role in Blue Valentine.

20:54 James Franco claims that he no longer fights for roles. He thought he wasn't going to get 127 Hours but it turns out that the audition just went awkwardly because Danny Boyle thought he was stoned. The reporter, bless, says "were you?" "NO!" comes Franco's quick shocked response. Oh, Franco. Everyone always thinks you're stoned. It's the sleepy eyelids, glazed eyes and perpetual naughty smile.

21:53 Interesting bit on 127 Hours, where Franco likens the crew to actors since he had no one to act off of. So the cinematographer, director, etcetera felt like fellow actors to him.

25:37 Franco "I can only have one master." [*numerous hands raise for volunteering at computer screens across the world*]

26:15 The reporter brings up the not so uninteresting topic of disagreement with directors but these actors are too cagey to answer. Franco sees through this immediately and here is his silent response.

Firth makes an elusive stab at the question.
If you have faith in this person than you probably give your idea up for theirs. That's exhilarating. But that's awful if you don't trust the person which is not that unusual, really.
The King with the stammer then clams up after that tantalizing confession. So damn cagey. Why will no one answer? You don't have to name names. Speak cryptically to give us some guesswork at home. Think of the audience. You're entertainers, so entertain.

28:04 Ohmygod. It's weird. You know, I enjoyed watching The King's Speech but it's one of those movies that seems boring to discuss. They're talking about the research of playing a kingzzzzzzz. Biopics put me to sleep. Speaking of which why was Christian Bale not invited to this? Is it because he would hate this sort of thing?

34:00 We're still on researching biopics. I'm going to grow old and die while watching this. Cobwebs are growing twixt keyboard and screen. It's rather remarkable that Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) is just now speaking more than halfway into this thing and it's making me realize why the Actress roundtable was so much more interesting. And it's not, I swear, just because actresses are more interesting. I believe if you watched these back-to-back you would quickly realize that the actresses actually talked to each other. Banter sprung forth. This is just a group of six men waiting to be questioned. They're not interacting. Zzz.

Jesse says he was discouraged from researching Mark Zuckerberg but he found it impossible not to.
How could I not meet a guy I'm going to be playing?... I thought it would be limiting to play somebody real and so specific but it turned out to be really freeeing... maybe it would start as mimicry but then it would have some kind of visceral response and ultimately take you into it further.
36:50 Jesse talking about reading the script from Zuckerberg's point of view and feeling he was completely justified in everything. God, being an actor would be so weird, right? Constantly removing yourself and embodying other ethos and personalities.

38:40 There's a split second where I think we're going to get a good back and forth. Jesse glances at Mark and mentions that they've both worked for him (David Fincher though he is weirdly not named) but Ruff' doesn't respond. Duvall seems totally confused by Eisenberg's description of filming The Social Network ... since he keeps talking about 50 takes.

41:00 Gosling and Ruffalo are totally laughing about Eisenberg's candor and obsessiveness. He's telling about a director being pisssed at him for keeping track of which takes he thought he was terrible in and sharing his notes about which to use. (Not Fincher)

Duvall speaks his mind. He has opinions, this one.

42:05 Finally something interesting! It seemed like Duvall was deaf or confused by the Fincher discussion but it turns out he was listening. He says he turned down a role in Se7en (!) -- but mentions that he thought it was a great movie -- but is not happy to hear about Fincher's fondness for endless takes.
"Can I say one thing? To me 'The great Stanley Kubrick' was an actor's enemy. He was an actor's enemy. I can point to movies that he's done, the worst performances I've ever seen in movies. Terrible performances. Maybe great movies but terrible performances."
We'd probably have a spirited throwdown right then in a roomful of critics or chattier actors but these are polite hesistant interviews so he then trails off into discussing Brando again who has now been mimicked twice. Both Duvall and Ruffalo have done Brando during the first 42 minutes.

43:05 Finally some interaction. It took Duvall's Kubrick smackdown to wake them up (even if they didn't join in the fight) and they're actually talking to each other. Sometimes conflict on the set is good they all agree.

44:00 Franco says he's never had a director like that (hundreds of takes) but thinks that Fincher makes great movies.

45:00 God, I love Mark Ruffalo. He seems to be enjoying this the most (or is at least the most laidback of the six) and is describing those excruciatingly long days on Zodiac. 'You hit your stride and you're on take 25 and He starts walking toward you. You're thinking to yourself 'I hope he's coming over here to fire me' [laughter in room] And then he just walks past you and moves the extra behind you an inch...'

First there was no interaction and now physical interaction. Will there now be slash fiction involving Ryan & Mark? I offer this picture up for inspiration.

Ruff' says it's in moments like this that you realize that Fincher is a director who is always thinking of the entire frame and you are just happy to be taking up your small percentage of it. If this subject intrigues you and you're new to the Film Experience you might want to check out these recent comments from Jake Gyllenhaal on the same issue.

48:00 This leads to a bit about Gosling being fired from The Lovely Bones. Funny story about Peter Jackson and Gosling not seeing eye to eye on the character. "He hired me at 150 lbs and I showed up weighing 210 lbs" His diet consisted of melting down Häagen-Dasz and when he was thirsty he would drink it instead of water. YUM. Anyway, they had different ideas about the father and he was fired. "So I was unemployed and fat." He seems glad that he got fired which can only lead me to believe that he has seen the finished movie. The Häagen-Dasz saved him!

52:00 A question about expectations versus actual experience in Hollywood is asked but doesn't get traction. Jesse talks about his experiences as a child actor and trusting your own instincts about which projects to say "yes" to. He alludes to a horror movie (I'm guessing that'd be Cursed) that his agent and his dad were at odds about whether he should do and he went with the agent's advice but says his Dad was right.

56:00 The reporter tries to end with a "great takeaway from your life/career?" proudest moment type round table question.  Duvall brings up The Godfather but it sounds like he's bringing it up just because it's expected of him. What really gets his emphasis is the TV miniseries Lonesome Dove.

58: 21 Colin says he can't do it, can't answer this question. Colin is pissing me off. He talks so much but he won't answer the questions. Yet his refusals are complicated and verbose. Shut it Darcy.

59:00 Oh! Sorry. I didn't mean to force the issue. The video shut off on me just as I typed that. No joke. It's a sign from the blogging gods that I've gone too far; shut it Nathaniel.

Here's the complete video if you have a full hour free.

Footnote (just for the helluva it)
Movies/TV & Stars Name Checked

  • Duvall: Marlon Brando, The Great Santini, Eleanor Dusa, Sarah Bernhardt, Sandy Meisner, Othello, Stanley Kubrick, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Lonesome Dove, Se7en, The Godfather, American Buffalo
  • Firth: Christoph Waltz, Nostromo
  • Ruffalo: A Streetcar Named Desire, Marlon Brando, Stella Adler, Rumblefish, Zodiac
  • Gosling: Young Hercules, Michelle Williams, Peter Jackson, The Lovely Bones, Blue Valentine
  • Franco: Danny Boyle, Milk, 127 Hours, James Dean, Alfred Hitchcock.
  • Eisenberg: Adventureland, The Social Network


amir_uk said...

30 is not young, Nathaniel! I mean, come on, really?

(I say this as a 26-year-old who's already starting to feel a bit more invisible on the scene. The feeling reminds me of what Kate Bosworth once said with regards to Hollywood, and I paraphrase: 'When you're 19 everyone fawns over you; at 25, they no longer give a shit'...)

So sad, right?

Jorge Rodrigues said...

I liked the ladies better, but the one I liked the most was the writers' one.

Michael Arndt, Aaron Sorkin, Todd Philips, Simon Beaufoy... Amazing.


amir -- it's young for male movie stars.


i.e. people like leonardo who are massive bankable stars before they turn 30 (for me) are very rare. it's the 30-50 year old guys who are the major movie stars. (and the 20-40 year old girls.)

Iggy said...

I was most curious to see Gosling as I had never seen him in interviews. I liked him, but what's the thing with his hands? He keeps putting them in his pockets and then, watching this video, I remembered in many pìctures he's wearing gloves or again his hands are in his pockets. Maybe he doesn't like his own hands?

I would've liked to see Javier here, I'd like to see him interacting with other actors.

Iggy said...

And by the way, 30 is young for movie stars and for the rest of humans! It's not even half your average life-expectancy, for .... sakes.


David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rebecca said...

I have to say as a native Wisconsinonian I am VERY proud to claim the Ruff!

Anonymous said...

OT: Harvey Weinstein won his appeal with the MPAA for Blue Valentine. They took it down from NC-17 to R. He lost The King's Speech's appeal though, it's still R.


John T said...

James Franco is the most adorable human being alive. And yes, my hand was raised.

par3182 said...

now i want to see a laid-back contest between ruffy and james franco

we could be here a while...

mikhael said...

oh man, look at that Franco’s smile. It’s the highlight of the whole boring one hour interview. It seems like Franco looks tired and he’s actually not stoned or arrogant, but trying to stay awake.

anyway, where else can you get Gosling and Franco sit together in a room facing each other? They should’ve at least invited Dicaprio for this.

rosengje said...

You left out my favorite part! While talking about the difficulty of going against his experience as an actor to play someone who doesn't really express emotion, Jesse Eisenberg kind of offhandedly mentions how much he struggles with expressing emotion. LOVE. It was such a cute, honest moment.

AmaliaPorAmor said...

I really like James Franco as an actor, but gosh he looks like a crazy doped guy here... the kind of guy that is always acting (even in real life)... and he had to mention he's in film school.

I enjoyed how natural and simple Duvall and Colin Firth were.

Bia said...

I agree, this was one was boring and not good at all...but lets be honest, the actress discussion would've been flat if Annette Bening and Helena weren't there being so honest and pushing the ladies to open up. Also did anyone notice some weird tension between Franco and it because they compete for parts?

aclp said...

It's good to read that 30 is young. I've just turned 28 yesterday and I'm feeling older than my great grandmother.


ROSENGJE-- that must have been when i fell asleep during the 6 or 7 minutes of biopic discussions.

AMANDA -- it's all relative. Life expectancy in the US is 78 years old now. which means that you're not middle age until you hit 39 ;) enjoy your youth while it lasts!

BIA -- true. They needed at least one chatty life of party guy to stir this crowd up a bit. Instead they had laid back + stuffy + awkward = dead space conversations.

Volvagia said...

And onto robot news: Jesse Eisenberg will play the college flashbacks of Michael Bluth in the new Arrested Development movie.

Yancey said...

Gross mustache, Mr. Franco. Ugh.

I thought this roundtable was fine. Oh well.

karaokequeen said...

Colin Firth + Mark Ruffalo + James Franco in one room? Yes, please. Don't care how dull the interview is, it ain't dull to me.

Doesn't surprise me that Ruff was the most charming, though.


rebecca, yay! glad to hear from a wisconian :)