How did you score this role?
I got the first audition through my manager. The audition was all three part scenes and I did the audition and it went pretty well. Then I got the call back, and I go upstairs and sign in, and Juliette Lewis was actually sitting in the waiting room.
Why was that?
She was auditioning originally for the role of Izzy. She was there and then I get in and John’s in there, and we worked on three scenes for about 45 minutes, and I got a call saying, “You’re down to the final two or three, you’re going to get a call from Nicole or you’re not going to get a call from Nicole. She is going fly over, you have one final audition.” Then I never got the call that night so I figured I didn’t get the part. I was shooting a short film with my buddies in Brooklyn and then John called me personally and offered me the role.
How did you separate Nicole Kidman the celebrity from Nicole Kidman the coworker?
I don’t know if that’s ever going to go away. It was very much a larger-than-life, surreal experience, you know, going from seeing these people that you’re a fan of and then you’re working with them. It’s similar with sports. You can watch these people growing up and then be in the same industry as them. But very rarely in any other profession does that happen, where people are out on this dais where you can observe and watch them and be a fan of them, and then have to work with him. That’s the weird part about being an actor. You come in and you have to be on the same plane as them.
What about when you get to the bench scenes with Nicole? They’re pretty intimate.
Each bench scene is like three or four pages and we would always shoot from beginning to end. A lot of directors like to go in there and cut, because they’re changing camera angles. Well, John never changed camera angles so we got to do the scene from beginning to end. And that was refreshing because I come from a theatre background. You have to start out in theatre unless you’re some weird child prodigy film actor. It’s three or four pages, so you don’t have to punch it right off the bat like you have to do if you’re only getting one or two lines. And with those scenes, the feeling of being overwhelmed and not knowing my place and not knowing how to talk to all just filters into the character. In the beginning, I wanted to be on set a lot. It was my first film and I was very nervous, like I didn’t know what to do with my hands, but Jason doesn’t know what to do with his hands either, because he’s with this woman who’s child he just took away from her. Real life played a big part.
Did you and Nicole speak between takes?
For the first scene we did, there wasn’t much talking between takes. By the second park scene, there was a little more getting to know Nicole a little bit, and by the third scene even more so. So really it was just an organic evolution of conversation, and getting to know someone. But by the end of it at the wrap party, we were bowling together and laughing and talking about all these things. She’s absolutely different.
- Read the full interview at blackbookmag.com