Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Meet the Filmmaker: Sam Rockwell

Sam Rockwell stopped by the Apple Store in Soho last night to talk about his new movie, Don Verdean, directed by Jared Hess, who is probably most famous for Napoleon Dynamite and previously directed Rockwell in Gentlemen Broncos. A podcast of the event will be available via iTunes but I'm not much of a podcast person (someday...), and sometimes I'd rather read than watch or listen, so figure I'd recap it.

After showing the audience the trailer for Don Verdean, Sam came out for a conversation and a QandA from the audience.

  • Spilled water on himself before coming out and wished he had peed his pants because it would have made a better story.
  • To research his character he googled a few biblical archaeologists. He categorizes those he found as some are genuine, some are con artists and some are just crazy. His character Don is a little bit of all of those. He also watched The Apostle a few times for inspiration. 
  • It was hardest to keep a straight face while doing scenes with Jermaine Clement.
  • In the film he wears a wig but it is his hair. When he worked with Jared Hess on Gentlemen Broncos he wore a fake beard and it was too much work (he got food in it, someone was always messing with it, and gnats were always attacking him) so he told him he would grow it out on his own. 
  • Currently on Broadway (one week remaining) in Fool For Love. Considers the stage "a gymnasium" for actors and film is more a director's medium. 
  • Did an episode of Drunk History and loved the experience. They put the narration on a loud speaker on a loop so the actors could try to memorize it as much as they can and lip sync. If he did it again he would try to memorize it a little better. 
  • There are five or so roles that he is very partial to including Moon, Confessions of Dangerous Mind, Conviction, Safe Men, Snow Angels, Choke, and Seven Psychopaths.
  • Projects coming up: Three Billboards and Adventures of Drunkie, an animated show for Comedy Central.
  • While filming Moon, both he and the director were in long distance relationships so they drew from that (being far from loved ones). He was attending a film festival in Greece (not the "nice part") when he read the script and because he didn't know anyone and was there for a while he related to the isolation in the script.
  • An audience member commented on how he's usually the over the top funny character in films while in here he is more the straight man and wanted to know how he reeled that in. Because he more sets up the jokes for the other characters it was easier for him to be the straight man and approached the character in a dramatic fashion. 
  • Advice for actors: Study, (he studied Meisner), get involved with theatre companies (he worked with the Labyrinth) and do as many readings as you can.
  • Started dancing as a way to meet girls in middle school.
  • Would love to play a role like Confessions of a Dangerous Mind again.
  • Though he could see himself writing, he has no plans to go behind the scenes, too much multi-tasking as a director. He loves talking with actors and would love to direct them, but isn't interested in the other things a director does.
  • If he could have anyone play him in a bio pic he'd choose Pauly Shore (he was joking), possibly Ben Schwartz because he'd make Sam laugh his "tits off" or somebody like that - Jack Black. It would be funny to just really send it up. 
To end this post, here's an amazing fan video of Sam's dance moves that are guaranteed to put you in a good mood:

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