Gary Oldman - CRIMINAL


Gary Oldman

The charismatic Englishman, Gary Oldman, has been hailed for his versatility as an actor. One doesn’t have to look far in his collective film history to find his incredible talent awe-inspiring. His life’s work in film has been a cinephile’s anthology of eclectic characters painted on the open canvas that is Oldman. Diving headfirst into his undeniably compelling breakout role in ’86 as the heroin-addicted punk rock star, Sid Vicious, in the starkly realistic film, Sid and Nancy, the actor simply hasn’t stopped shocking his adoring fans since.

From playing a heroin addict to a gay playwright in the follow-up film, Prick Up Your Ears, both roles earned Oldman great praise. His ability to adapt to such diverse roles with simplicity only continued: as the spot-on Lee Harvey Oswald in JFK, a seductive vampire in Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stroker’s Dracula, a cocaine-dealing pimp in True Romance, Ludwig van Beethoven in Immortal Beloved, a very sexy pastor in The Scarlet Letter, a psychotic megalomaniac in The Fifth Element, a jaw-dropping performance as a corrupt drug-snorting DEA agent in The Professional…the list goes on.

Oldman does outrageous characters so well, it’s almost bizarre to see him as the dependable Sergeant-turned-Commissioner James Gordon in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Then, of course, we can’t forget his role as Sirius Black in the Harry Potter franchise. After over two decades of acclaimed work, Oldman earned his first Oscar nomination for his role in the 2011 remake of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy—a serious mistake on their part.  

We sat down with Oldman to discuss his role in the movie, Criminal, working with Costner and Jones some two decades after JFK.

STRIPLV: How have you described the film, Criminal, to audiences?
OLDMAN: It’s fast-paced. It’s got a lot of action in it. The center of it, this idea of memory transplant, if you will, is something that we haven’t seen before, and it makes it quite unusual and unique.
STRIPLV: Your character takes the memories of his deceased CIA agent and implants them in a convicted felon’s (Costner’s) mind. What are your character’s motives?
OLDMAN: Well, one of my operatives has certain information that we need to sort of capture our man who has fallen into his hands, and been brutally tortured and dies, and he holds the key. He holds the secret. And we are approached with this new science, this new technology that can transport a memory from one person to another, which I’m told is not so implausible. At least they have managed to do this quite successfully with lab mice and rats. Those poor mice and rats. So it’s not quite as sci-fi as it appears. But of course, you have to be a certain type for this process to work. And it’s something to do with some damage to the frontal lobe or… and of course, the perfect candidate for this is someone that my character absolutely loathes and despises and wouldn’t give the time of day to. But he’s a bit of a bully anyway. He’s quite a terrible boss to work for, so I guess it’s a little bit of karma that comes around, where he has to work with this character, Jericho. And that really, in itself, was part of what attracted me to the project, because it was a thriller, and this dynamic I’ve not seen before. It was quite unique.
STRIPLV: As a CIA agent, your character is very precise and logical. How did it feel to play this role against Costner’s unpredictable and dangerous Jericho?
OLDMAN: That’s the fun of it, that you’ve got this person who is, as you say, precise and methodical, who meets chaos, and gains in the end, really, a degree of respect for this guy—to the point where there’s even a possibility of a job offer. Kevin plays this sociopath, psychopath, this sort of brutal convict. But we see glimmers of maybe the boy in him, perhaps a glimmer of the good in him. We see obviously the nasty side of him, the very violent side of him. And then in and amongst that we see the personality that Ryan Reynolds plays. We see those memories that flash through with his wife and his kid. So Kevin Costner makes it look very easy, but he really pulls it off. It’s not as easy as it looks, the way that he sort of switches between the sort of violent Jericho, the softer Jericho, and the memories of…really the other personality, which is in the memory. I think he does a great job.
STRIPLV: What attracted you to the script?
OLDMAN: One of the reasons I wanted to do it was that I was intrigued by the material. I met Ariel, and said, “Look, you’ve got this hurdle, which is thing brain transplant thing. I mean, how are you gonna pull it off? Because if you don’t—if that doesn’t work, then the audience are not gonna go on the ride with you. It’s everything. It’s the showstopper.” He had such a great take on it, such confidence, energy and charm, that it won me over. I thought: ‘This guy knows what kind of movie he’s making.’ Kevin was already involved, so I knew that Kevin was on board. And it was one of the reasons why, that, with the enthusiasm of Ariel and the opportunity of working with Kevin again, and Tommy Lee, from reuniting from the JFK days. Kevin is a very hard worker. He’s very meticulous and thorough. He’s very present, working on this film and he wanted it to be the best it can be. And that’s infectious. It’s contagious—not just for other actors, but for the crew and the whole team sort of working on it. So he’s very gun-ho. He comes in with great energy and ready to work. And I like that. I respect that. I’ve worked with some people who, they’re lazy, or they don’t know their lines. So he’s very professional in that sense. And it was great to sort of see him. And you know what? It was (snaps his fingers) like that! It was like we had done JFK yesterday!

CAPTAIN AMERICA: Civil War - Chris Evans/Robert Downey Jr. & Cast






Superheroes have taken over the planet—in both the box office and in the new Marvel film, Captain America: Civil War. And that strong presence that fans just eat up can be found tenfold in the new movie—with literally ten Avengers battling not just evil, but one another—and not just for the greater good (as Captain America usually enforces), for the morality of each individual, personally. Civil War absolutely slays fans with its incredible action-packed scenes, while mixing in the sassy, comedic lines that we all have come to love and count on from the Marvel franchise. An added highlight are some heartfelt moments between our favorite superheroes, that are surprisingly multi-dimensional and beg for yet the next film spectacle.

STRIPLV: Tell us a little about what the film’s about.
EVANS: Basically, certain governments around the world are expecting the Avengers to take responsibility for their past actions. We’ve saved the world a few times, but we’ve left a lot of damage in our wake, and I think certain branches of the government aren’t necessarily comfortable with us operating as this independent unit anymore.
STRIPLV: What’s going on behind the superhero of Captain America and in the head of Steve Rogers in this film?
EVANS: What I think is nice about where they’re pushing him is that it’s the first time Steve doesn’t really know the answer. I mean, the first Captain America, it’s pretty clear – Nazis are bad. We can all agree with that. Captain America 2 – S.H.I.E.L.D.’s being run by HYDRA. No conflict there. The Avengers movies: aliens are no good. (chuckles) We want to fight them. You know it’s always pretty cut and dry for him to know which side of the coin for him to fall on, and this is why this is tricky. This conflict is a little more akin to day-to-day struggle that we all go through. There’s no right and there’s no wrong. There’s a point of view and I think it’s hard for him to understand what the right thing to do is and what his role is.
STRIPLV: The superheroes are having a hard time getting along in this film…
EVANS: But that’s what makes it such a good conflict. It’s not enemy versus hero or villain versus hero. It’s friends. It’s family. This is sometimes the most traumatic conflict, when it’s people that have actual history and care about each other, consider each other brothers. It’s that much more difficult to navigate.
STRIPLV: How do you relate to your character, Steve Rogers, and do you bring any parts of him home with you?
EVANS: He’s a good man. Anytime you get to go to set and try and live in a headspace for a certain amount of time and process scenes through the eyes of someone who sees life a certain way, you can’t help but take some of that home with ya’. And why not take home a little bit of Steve?
STRIPLV: How is this superhero movie different than other superhero films?
EVANS: It’s a grounding story. The Russo’s, you know, they make human stories with a superhero feel, as opposed to a superhero movie, you know, with a human touch. It’s real storytelling about genuine family conflict. That’s what makes it so great.
STRIPLV: This is the fifth time that you’ve donned the Captain America suit. How did you feel when you stepped into it this time?
EVANS: A lot more comfortable. The first couple times you’re terrified, and you want to make sure that you pay the character the right respect that it deserves. But now I feel a little bit more comfortable doing it. It feels exciting. It just feels like home now.
STRIPLV: So your character goes on a different and unexpected moral journey in this film. How did it feel as an actor to explore this side of Captain America further?
EVANS: It was great! You know, they always make Cap’s decisions very… He’s a very binary guy, you know. It’s this or that. He’s black and white. And this is the first time it’s kind of been an uncertain decision, in terms of what the right move is. And it’s self-serving. So it was exciting to kind of see him have a struggle that wasn’t so clear.
STRIPLV: Tell us about the relationship between Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes.
EVANS: It’s very relevant; a very personal struggle for Steve. Steve always tries to take his emotions out of the equation. He always tries to think of the greater good. When it comes to Bucky, it’s a very personal situation. So it’s easy to become human and to let your emotions fog and cloud your judgment, and Bucky represents something from his past that no one else can match. I don’t care how strong his bonds are with his current family—Bucky is his original family. And that can take precedence. 
STRIPLV: Captain America usually protects the true “All-American” values, but this time he’s rejecting the government control and the U.N.  
EVANS: Well, that was always a concern—whether or not the name America would kind of polarize certain audiences. But the truth is, the name “America” and what he stands for is something that’s ubiquitous across the world. What he believes in, you know: honor, morality and values—that’s something you can find anywhere. But his character has always kind of fought for the greater good. He’s always trying to put the needs of the masses before his own desire and that’s exactly what’s different in this film. Instead of kinda dedicating himself toward what others need, in this film, he kind of prioritizes what he wants—which is a departure from what he normally has an allegiance to. So I think it colors the character in a really nice way. You have a guy who’s this incredibly austere and moral character. It’s hard to try to find ways to make him layered and dynamic. And I think, in this movie, he becomes, potentially, selfish—where he kind of puts his own desires first. But it’s rooted in family, which is, I think, a through-line that I think we can all relate to.
STRIPLV: Usually Avengers fight shoulder-to-shoulder, united. What was it like to film a battle scene where you guys are all going against each other?
EVANS: Filming a movie where the Avengers are all crumbling from within is strange, but exciting—because you know that the stakes are gonna be cranked higher than they ever could have been prior. And it’s far more akin to struggles in life. I think anyone can agree that a fight you have with your enemy is nowhere near as dramatic as a fight with a family member. You know, when it’s someone that you simultaneously hate and love—I mean, it just makes it that much more complex.
STRIPLV: Who is on Team Cap and who isn’t that you wish was?
EVANS: On Team Cap we have me, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Ant-Man, Winter Soldier, and Hawkeye. Who do I wish were on Team Cap? You know—Hulk would be nice. He would really just bat cleanup and just take care of this whole mess.
STRIPLV: So was there any friendly rivalry between Team Cap and Team Iron Man off-screen?
EVANS: I don’t think so. We’re all so close and we’ve all done multiple movies together now. I mean, it’s funny to even come to set and even remember: “Oh yeah. We’re not on the same… I fight you. Do I fight you tomorrow?” You know, it’s a strange thing because again, we’re all so used to making these movies together as a unit—and doing press as a unit. It’s strange to come to work and remember: “Oh yeah, we’re on opposing sides tomorrow, aren’t we?” So no, it didn’t feel too much like the rivalry carried off-set. 
STRIPLV: You guys slam on each other so much. Were there any stunt mishaps this time? 
EVANS: There are some tricky things, you know, because a lot of these characters are physical fighters. It’s not Iron Man, Vison, guys like Thor—these are all CGI-based combat characters. But Black Panther, Winter Soldier, Hawkeye, myself—these are characters that fight with hand-to-hand combat. So when you have these giant running scenes, you need to hit. You need to collide. I saw a few stuntmen take a few nasty tumbles, you know, like, really really hitting the ground hard and brutal. It’s all in the movie.
STRIPLV: Did you learn any new techniques for this movie specifically?
EVANS: No, Winter Soldier is where I really tried to kind of broaden my palette in terms of skill set. You know, with regards to parkour and gymnastics and jumping and flipping—but a lot of that stuff stuck. So it was pretty easy to kind of pick it back up on this one.
STRIPLV: You took it a lot easier on doors in this film.
EVANS: (laughter) Yeah, like: “Hey, hey—just turn the knob, dude. Take it easy.”
STRIPLV: (laughter) Can you talk about working with Joe and Anthony Russo?
EVANS: Yes, they were great. The biggest thing, in my opinion, for an actor on a set, is trusting your director. As an actor, the worst thing you can do is play it safe. The worst thing you can do is go to set and think that this is my instincts—and I’m only gonna stick to my instincts. And you know, if we have three or four takes, I’m only gonna use these takes, to get on film what I think the character needs. The best stuff comes from those risks and those chances—the stuff where you kind of put yourself out there. You don’t tend to do that when you don’t trust your director. And, oh, I shouldn’t make it a negative. When you trust your director, that’s when you go for it. That’s when you really take chances. And the best thing about Anthony and Joe is that I trust them so completely, so fully, that I’m willing to just say: “Listen, can we do one more? I’m just gonna try something. And if you don’t like it, you don’t like it.” I don’t have to worry that they’re gonna use it incorrectly.
STRIPLV: Tell us about the airport sequence and how that was for you. What was the most challenging part and were you satisfied when you saw the finished product?
EVANS: Yeah, it was great. I mean, it was hot! It’s Atlanta in August—so I think everyone was toasty. There’s only a couple of shots where, you know, you might have that one 50/50 where everyone was running together, but for the most part it’s just picks and pops and you’re just getting pieces. So it’s a lot of waiting around. But you really have a confidence that this is going to be something special. You can see in Anthony and Joe’s face, and Kevin, and these guys get so excited when these moments work. It’s a meticulous process because it’s such a grand scheme. So, on the day, it’s not as cool and romantic as you think it would be. But there’s an energy on set and an excitement that keeps you invested, knowing that it’s going to be something epic.
STRIPLV: What can fans expect when they go to see this movie?
EVANS: You’re gonna have the experience of a comic book movie, but it’s not gonna feel like a comic book. The Russo’s do a really great job of taking movies where people fly, and shoot lightning, and you do very heightened things. But it feels grounded. It feels relatable. It feels like a normal human story, a human struggle—with a little streak of comic book in it. It doesn’t feel so completely overwhelmingly “comic-booky” that it’s no longer identifiable. 
STRIPLV: If you could sum up this movie in one word, what would it be and why?
EVANS: (chuckles) I would say: “legendary”—but I’m a little biased. (smiling)

STRIPLV: Robert, when you first read the script for Civil War, what part of the storyline did you find most appealing?
DOWNEY JR.: What I like is there’s all these concentric circles of events that are occurring and it finally answers the question: “Why doesn’t anybody bug out on these adventures when they lay waste to these places while they’re saving the world?” (gesturing both ‘thumbs-up’) I thought: ‘Well, cool. It’s about time.’ But then it creates this new problem set that needs to be addressed.
STRIPLV: What’s your personal thoughts on the growth from your first Marvel movie, Iron Man to Civil War?
DOWNEY JR.: I read The Extremist series, and I was thinking about that from Iron Man 1 through Iron Man 3. The Avengers stuff was always really, kind of this colossal, ambitious thing. But to me, the civil war was this smart, sexy Marvel idea, you know?... about really having a rift between two characters that you kind of, you don’t want to see them… You want to see some friction, but you don’t want to see this terror in the fabric of their relationship, because you know how pervasive it can be.
STRIPLV: When you first started reading this one, did you ever think that there’d be this fight—with Avengers versus Avengers.
DOWNEY JR.: Well, I want to say, you know, that I had it all mapped out in my head… I’ve just been on the whole roller coaster for ten years now. It’s just been great. I remember the comic book series, Civil War, and I thought: ‘Man, if we could pull that off, that would be swell. But it was never really in the docket of like: this is a definitive, gonna happen Marvel movie—so no.
STRIPLV: Was there a time when you got to the set this time around that you said: “Not the suit again!” Or is it fun to put it on?
DOWNEY JR.: Well, what I realized is there is safety, fun, and a relief in numbers. For instance, I’m sure that Chris would tell you that he’s in every shot of the movie practically. Now, I’m on the poster, but still, whenever you put the suit on and they’ve improved it over time, it is always that thing. But I thought that, rather than do that typical thing of really fortunate people complaining about their circumstances, I have come to love the suit.
STRIPLV: Does putting on the suit bring out the nine- or ten-year-old Robert in you? Do you ever see it through a kid’s eyes?
DOWNEY JR.: (chuckles) I do. You know, now there’s kids that are visiting the set for a bunch of different reasons. And back on the second Avengers, The Age of Ultron, my son, Exton, was visiting the set, and he was going bananas for all of the Hawkeye stuff. He’s kind of over it now, ‘cause he knows that dad’s deeply invested in it, so it’s a little bit less, you know, luminous to him.
STRIPLV: I just like that the wonder is still there.
DOWNEY JR.: Yeah—still there.
STRIPLV: We know you play a great Ironman—what do you think makes Chris Evans a great Captain America?
DOWNEY JR.: I really couldn’t imagine anyone else in that role—and from the first outing. I think also, it’s probably the highest degree of difficulty of all the superheroes in the Marvel world to get right. And so I think there was just a certain confidence and humility you had to have, going in. And Chris has gotten more and more detached from his own neurosis or judgment as the years have gone by. I mean, initially, you’re like: “Oh, my God! The thing with the shield, and what if?” And then, once it was so embraced by the movie-going public, I think it’s also really afforded him the opportunity to a lot of other stuff he wants, with directing, and all that. He just has a great… first of all, to look good in that helmet—is like, I don’t know—they should have done like a random, facial pattern search… you know? He was just the right guy for the job.
STRIPLV: (laughter) How do you think audiences are gonna react to their two main heroes going against one another?
DOWNEY JR.: I think people are really gonna be pleasantly surprised and intrigued by the journey of the choices that Cap makes and the fact that you kind of stay with him. It’s familiar and easy to kinda go on the Tony “serendipitous (gestures finger quotes) hero” side. We’re always gonna mess a bunch of things up, but his heart’s in the right place. And you kinda wonder, like: ‘Where is Cap’s heart right now?’
STRIPLV: Tony Stark does a flip-flop when he sides with the government. As an actor, how did you make that change seem grounded and intrinsic for the audience?
DOWNEY JR.: What’s funny, I was thinking a couple of days ago, in Iron Man 2, I’m saying that the government can’t have the suit and it’s my private property and all that stuff. And now I’m saying, “We’ve got to sign it all over.” But I think about it—I was just relating to it as it just being a function of age, like the things you’re so determined and passionate about in your thirties and forties, when you starting. Looking at the back nine—you’re like: “Or… maybe I’m entirely wrong.” (chuckling) You know, because you don’t really have the time and energy to stay rigid.
STRIPLV: You say thirties and forties, but this movie takes you back to when you were a teenager. I want that camera in my life every day! That’s great special effects!
DOWNEY JR.: I know, right?! But it’s kind of like, it would be like some healthy hallucinogen wearing off, and then you’re like: “Oh, no! The real world again.” (smiling) 
STRIPLV: (laughter)
DOWNEY JR.: Yeah, I don’t even want to know how they did it.
STRIPLV: The conflict seems so real in this film. Tell me about the conflict you had with Steve Rogers, which is pretty emotional in this film.
DOWNEY JR.: Well, I mean, there’s so many people to credit. There’s the way Jon Favreau set up the first Iron Man movie, that it seemed like anything that’s gonna hinge off this world we’re gonna pretend that somehow or however it can belong in this world. And then from the first Avengers film, Joss Whedon was, to his credit, and Marvel and Kevin and everybody, were like: “We just want to kind of feather this in and lightly insinuate that there’s gonna be trouble down the road. And so I think, you know, the prologue to it has been really well executed, which to me, is just for the movie-goer, someone who just loves movies and follows things and series, and gets strung out on all this stuff. I just appreciate the care with which it has been executed. But then, I guess, too, like, sometimes Tony feels guilty about the jealousy or envy he’s had for other people’s relationships with the world, or just that childish thing of: “Why?” You know? …And because Tony’s dad, Howard, so felt that Steve Rogers was the definitive American, he was like a son to him. And then there’s always, as usual, all this kind of dark tragedy around everything, so it was in there. It was always in the comic books. I credit the Russo’s for really being able to again, keep it grounded. And once they took over the Captain America side of things, I felt like they were kind of pretty close to Favreau’s original ideation of how things should be played.
STRIPLV: Two directors this time. Do they always work in sync? What’s the difference?
DOWNEY JR.: Well, first of all, there’s no good cop, bad cop. They’re both really flexible in the way they work. But then there’d be certain things, like if I was doing the hug-work, where I’m like sitting with a camera five inches in front of my face and it’s really just odd and uncomfortable—usually Anthony would be the person to deal with that, because there’s something just a little bit more receptive about him. But Joe would have done great, too. It got me thinking: Every film should have at least two directors, because you can’t get mad at everybody all at the same time.
STRIPLV: Were there ever any times that you didn’t agree with their direction?
DOWNEY JR.: There’s nothing I don’t like about them as directors. A) There’s just kind of this simpatico with the way that I like to influence things and then step back and really follow their lead. It’s just this kind of creative dance you want to have. And the other thing is it’s not like Anthony’s in charge of talent and Joe takes care of all the technical stuff. There’s a lot of alacrity, and they’re both really versatile, individually.
STRIPLV: Do you ever get bored with performing the same role?
DOWNEY JR.: There’s times where I’m sure in the arc of doing a character on a long-running series or whatever—the mind can start going: ‘Oh, what else is there?’ or whatever. It’s just been such a great experience for me and I’m super-grateful.
STRIPLV: The new Avengers—were they predictable choices or were there surprises?
DOWNEY JR.: I wouldn’t say any of them are predictable, per se, but I mean, to me, going back to the second Iron Man, which seems like ages ago, Agent Romanoff now, obviously, Black Widow. It always seemed like just everybody wanted her to not like me, or me to not trust her. So I thought it was really smart and again, you know, the thing Marvel does so well, is if you’re going to have an expectation or start divvying up who you think will be on what side, there’s always a couple of surprises.
STRIPLV: The epic battle scene between the two teams becomes emotional, because you kind of like each other, I guess. How did you feel squaring off against Team Cap?
DOWNEY JR.: Well, part of it is… I hate to say it—it’s a very Western thing. You know, when you’re on a team, you’re on a team, kind of like a platoon. And automatically, if you’re looking over the trenches at anything else, you tend to get in that kind of competitive spirit. Regardless of how we were playing it, I was just looking at… I mean, now you look on this poster and there’s 10 individuals on it! And I’m like, “Wow!” You know? I’m just glad I’m, you know—still relevant!
STRIPLV: What was the most fun thing of the entire shooting experience for you?
DOWNEY JR.: There’s one sequence where, without giving too much away, there’s a threat and we have to try to contain it. And things have gotten to the point that there’s so many suits and heroes that we were thinking: “What if he just has a watch that kind of turns into a weapon for a second?” So there’s still always this innovation that occurs. So we basically literally had, in this one sequence, Tony has this watch that kind of turns into like a one-shot Derringer. So it’s gone from the point of where it’s like a 20-minute sequence used to get me excited—and now [it’s] one, little frame.
STRIPLV: The Marvel fans are unlike any other audience! Have you figured out what that is? And have you ever sat in the back of a theater to just to enjoy that response?
DOWNEY JR.: I have. And I suspect I will with this, too. And I think there’s just this kind of fraternity of people who don’t poo-poo this kind of genre movie, and I met a fair amount of them the first time I went to Comic Con, and I am friendly with people who kind of peek out of the closet, and go: “Dude, I’m crazy about the Civil War,” or whatever. I think again, that because the movies are just executed very well, they exist as just pure entertainment. But then there’s this little constellation that gets lit up in people who are fans of the comics back in the day or just love this kind of storytelling. So I’m all for geeking-out on Marvel pics.
STRIPLV: What can fans expect when they see Captain America: Civil War?
DOWNEY JR.: They can expect the unexpected, with that trademark Marvel entertainment and sophistication and storytelling and just really strong performances.
STRIPLV: If you could describe the film in one word, what would it be and why?
DOWNEY JR.: “Rad.” I’m from New York, but I’m in Californian now. (chuckles)

STRIPLV: Joe, speaking to you as a director, but part of a team: That’s a pretty rare thing, especially in a major motion picture, to see two directors taking on several movies. Do you feel that you have particular strengths and Anthony has different particular strengths?
RUSSO: Hmm, that’s a tough question. You’re putting me on the spot, aren’t ya?
STRIPLV: (instructing the team of actors) Just call it out... What does he suck at? (laughter) Just kidding.
RUSSO: No, we’ve been doing this a long time together. We grew up watching movies together. We have a very similar aesthetic and we were working in TV for a long time together. I don’t think that there’s… There is no true division of labor for us. It’s just a pure collaboration really. And what we say—the only thing that’s tricky for us—is who has enough energy to get out of the chair to go speak to the actors after the take. (laughter) But other than that, everything is shared equally.
STRIPLV: How difficult or challenging was it to bring the unique action of ten superheroes in battle to life?
RUSSO: You know, action is very important to us. These movies are about action. The characters express themselves through action. Action has to have storytelling to it or it’s superficial. And you’ll get tired of an action sequence if it’s not either defining the character or moving the story forward in some way. It takes an incredible amount of effort, and thank God, we have such an incredible team of collaborators, including Kevin Feige, and Marcus McFeely and Nate Moore who work at Marvel, as well, who can work with us and keep us honest, in terms of the storytelling, and this cast, who are also the caretakers of their characters in a way we never could be. So, you know, it’s by far in a way the hardest thing to do on a film. The easiest thing to do on a film is when you have a Soderbergh-level of cast like this to put down the dramatic scenes on camera, especially with actors of this caliber who have been playing these parts for this long. Those are some of the easier things we do. Some of the hardest things we do is executing the action. And I think the toughest sequence by far in this film, which we literally probably just finished a week or two ago, was the airport sequence. It’s filled with a lot of moving parts, a lot of different characters. You want to move each character forward. You want to make sure you’re not leaving anyone behind. And I think we went well into the post process still reshaping and rethinking and reconfiguring that sequence to make sure that it had its maximum storytelling thrust to it.
STRIPLV: Paul, when you say, “I believe this belongs to you, Captain America,” was that improvised? And how many other different lines did you possibly add some of your witty personal improvisation to? Did you try out several different ways of saying that line—because that just seems so “you!” (laughter) 
RUDD: No, I think that was always in the script. We sometimes would play around with lines while we’re shooting it, and these guys would suggest things. And sometimes we would come up with things after the fact. One of the great things about having a mask is that if you think of a great joke afterward, you don’t have to match it to anything, so you can add stuff even in ADR. But I think that was one that was always in there. 
RUSSO: He’s being modest. Paul is one of the great improvisers that you could hope to work with. And it is true, when you have the mask, and that was a great benefit to us in the post-process, in terms of modulating the tone in that section of the movie. But you know, we had like endless amounts of jokes that we would sit in the edit room and laugh about for hours, and try to figure out (it was not an easy task) which one was funnier than another. He just gave us a wealth of material.
STRIPLV: How did you feel about being the “fan-boy” of the group? How excited were you to be able to meet everybody?
RUDD: How I felt, as far as being the fan-boy of the group—that was not really… There was very little acting required in that scene for me. (laughter) You know, they’ve all worked together and done this before. I’ve just seen the movies. So to be there on the day—I kind of couldn’t stop geeking-out about it. And I thought: ‘Oh, my God! There’s the shield!’ (laughter) And I thought: ‘There’s that arm!’ (showing how he reached and grabbed and squeezed the arm like a fan-boy) He wasn’t looking. (roars of laughter) And I thought: ‘Wow! God-dang, man!’ When I was getting the suit on, there’s this area where we get changed and stuff, and I was like, “Well, there’s Iron Man’s suit.” (pretending to reach out and touch the suit) “Woh!” And there they all are. I did feel that, that excitement of “What?! I can’t believe that I landed here. This is nuts!” So it was really cool.
STRIPLV: Kevin, you and the Russo brothers introduced a lot of the bug-centered superheroes into the mix of this film. We saw Ant-Man, Spider-Man, but no Wasp. Can you explain the decision behind not bringing that female character into this particular film?
FEIGE: There were drafts where Wasp participated in the splash panel fight (the airport battle). And the truth is you took away the fun of seeing her suit up for the first time, of seeing her on that road to being a superhero. We experienced that with Ant-Man in his own movie. We experienced that with Spider-Man in many movies. And we have big plans, and we later announced the title of Paul’s sequel, which is Ant-Man and The Wasp. So we have very big plans to unveil her in her own movie, where she can be in the entirety of the movie, and not a “moment” in an action scene.
STRIPLV: It’s kind of hard as an excited fan to live in the moment of the movie, because once you’ve seen it, you’re like: “Oh, my God—what’s next?” Right? And I was wondering as the Marvel Universe expands, like with some of the Netflix shows being considerably darker and having a different tone—do you feel that ripple effects are going to be felt from shows like that in the further cinematic universe?
FEIGE: There might be. But what I love is you’re now seeing in the film medium, in the television medium, the reflection of what the comics have always been. There’s always been that great diversity of tone within the comics. And I love that we’re seeing more of that on various screens. 
STRIPLV: So is that a yes?
FEIGE: That’s a sure!
STRIPLV: Jeremy, tell us a little about the different teams, and from your personal perspective of your character, why do you feel that Hawkeye joined Cap’s side immediately?
RENNER: He’s the one who called. (laughter) I didn’t write it! Talk to these guys—they wrote it. (roars of laughter) No, I think probably retirement was quite boring. And then, you know, go help a friend. The moral compass is not a far cry from Cap’s sort of thinking as well—at least that’s how I see Hawkeye to be—sort of principled.
RUSSO: He owes a debt to Scarlet Witch and her brother. So, she’s under duress, and it’s a call to arms for him.
STRIPLV: Speaking of Scarlet Witch, a question for you, Elizabeth: In Age Of Ultron, you’re scared of your powers. And then in this new movie, Civil War, you started to gain some confidence, but still could not really control them, making you terrified of your outstanding powers. Do you think Scarlet Witch will ever be able to have any real confidence with her powers, or do you think this is the peak of her confidence level?
OLSEN: I think what ended up happening was that she was starting to feel confident, but it wasn’t about her powers. It was more about the conflict she had with making a big mistake. But I think what’s interesting is every superhero has a weakness, and I’ve always thought of hers as she’s the person who gets in her way. She’s kind of limitless. And so, to me, I think that’s sort of an interesting character trait. I don’t know what we’re gonna do next, but I think of her as being an incredibly strong, powerful person. And it’s also fun, because I think she could flip either way because of her mind. I think there are a lot of things that could be possibly played with, but I’m not in control of that. But I think this film was a lot about just conflict, in general—of what’s right, how to use your abilities, or whether you should or not. I think that was a consistent theme throughout the whole film. So I think it was just consistent with that, as opposed to her just being “not confident.”
STRIPLV: Actors always fill in the gaps in the backstory in their head, of stuff that informs the character, that isn’t in the script, and we never see. I’d like to pose to all of the cast: What is something that you know about your character that we don’t know?
OLSEN: I think that’s an “I’ll nev-er te-ll,” (like nah-nah, nah nah-nah) kind of moment, right? (laughter)
RENNER: Yeah, I ain’t telling you, man. (laughter)
OLSEN: (chuckling) Yeah, that’s how I feel… I don’t know…
EVANS: That’s a good question. Yeah, I kind of go on board with you (replying to Olsen) with that—I think to some degree. I mean, this is almost like the way that it is being an actor, in general. Certain things you want to share, and certain things you don’t. I think to some degree, it’s almost nice having certain parts (holding hand to his chest over his heart) of the character that are intimate. And ultimately, at the end of the day, these guys do a good job of fleshing out the tones that they want you to see better than we ever could. That’s one of the things…when I was just doing an interview with you guys, you two, and Kevin and the Russo’s. And they were just talking about how they formed these stories and formed these arcs, and you really think these things… (I’m kind of deviating from the question, but it just feels worthy to bring up—because it blew my mind). I’ve been doing these for a long time now and we were having an interview, and they were talking about how they were going to a meeting. And sometimes you think with these movies, these giant Marvel movies, any big movie where you think there’s a thousand cooks in the kitchen, you assume that there’s some sort of formula, some algorithm that kicks in and there’s like 30 people in suits saying like: “This is what it needs to be.” But the truth is, it really is Joe and Anthony and Kevin and Nate in a room, mapping out stories for so many characters, so many arcs—and they’re making them real. They’re making them actual, fleshed-out arcs, and conflicts that are worthy of a film. All the explosions in the world aren’t going to make you care. And it’s nuts to think that it really comes from a few people’s brains. Again, this is not exactly the answer to the question, but I think it was worth bringing up, because it blew my mind how it really does start from just a few people.

DUANE SCHERER - An Artist and his Whimsical Clocks


An Artist and His Whimsical Clocks

By Marla Santos

We first met Duane back in Detroit in the eighties, when he and his identical twin brother David were performing live in their eclectic band, Glassings David. Duane on vocals and guitar, and David on vocals and violin, the twins’ unique style of singing and songwriting caught the ear of STRIPLV’s own sound engineer/producer/songwriter, Santodonato. Working with late producer and friend, Frank Fisher, Santodonato recorded the group and released the album, Love and Pain, on Santonato’s record label, Overture Records. It received favorable response on college radio, charting on CMJ. The band toured extensively as an opener for ‘80s hit acts. To help bring in money to pay the bills, Duane started his own decorative painting company, painting faux finishes like marble, to complex murals looking like a Picasso or replicating Mona Lisa. While experimenting with different media, he started creating his wonderfully whimsical clocks that incorporate sunbursts, stars, hearts, birdhouses and butterflies. It is this touch of nature and the colorful shapes that make each one an interesting, unique piece of art. 

“We had a new music production deal for Glassings David. I was writing the best songs of my entire life and my guitar playing was the best I’d ever played. We had all these meetings and one night I just turned to David and said: “I can’t do this anymore. I’m sick of being poor. I’m quitting the band.” I quit and went back to college. After spending a year and a half to finish up my college degrees at Wayne State University, my decorative painting company just exploded.”  

“College really didn’t help me at all. The only thing that helped me was my tenacity, work ethic and discipline. It helped me psychologically get out of the addiction of music, because I was completely compulsive-obsessive about it. I would absolutely not recommend it at all, unless you wanted to be an art teacher. If you want to be an artist’s artist, then save your money and you can learn on your own. I hate to put a wet blanket out there, but there’s something that can be said about the artist of the street: someone who makes his bones by existing on his art, his wit, his will, rather than having a teaching degree and launching your art from that point of view. I prefer the artist of the street. David is one of the most dynamic artists and most productive artists, with his range and the uniqueness of his things… He didn’t go to college. College can’t teach you or give you creativity. You either have it or you don’t, and if you’re savvy enough, you can apply that type of talent into figuring out your place in the world. I remember taking my first painting class and I thought: “I’m not going to pay this joker thousands of dollars. I can paint on my own. Give me something that I can’t do on my own.” I did a double major on printmaking, because of the solutions, and sculpting where I was pouring bronze, aluminum and iron. Obviously, a poor starving artist doesn’t have access to a foundry, and Wayne State has a great foundry.”  

“David and I came from a disadvantaged family with divorced parents, and we were left on our own a lot. I remember being at a party when I was in 11th grade and looking at the artwork and lyrics on Bowie’s “Diamond Dogs” album, and I remember going: “Oh, my God!” and how it made me feel. I knew there was a bunch of people out there kind of like me that had this cultural or emotional void, and for that moment, a light went off. I thought to myself: ‘Wouldn’t that be awesome to be that kind of lighthouse, guiding people through the world of imagination? And this artist was hitting it.’ The visual, the lyrics, the music was so different—the production and everything. So I started writing songs, and when I was eighteen I started taking piano and guitar lessons. Then you guys met me a few years after that. After the ‘Love and Pain’ album, my creativity started really gaining momentum, I started getting into a mature phase of creativity. The music wasn’t getting me enough of a venue for the explosion that was happening in my mind and in my life. I needed another outlet, and that’s when I started painting. As the music part started fading, the visual art aspect started taking over.”  

“I think that I am gifted with this thing where, if you want hot water, you just go to the faucet. If I want to create, I just go to work. For me, the idea of being inspired has been: I looked for beauty filled with the joy of life, flowers and children’s laughter—all these same things that are out there for everyone to take notice. I’ve been practicing that for so long, that it’s just so much a part of me. So, the idea that any isolated incident would inspire me, it just doesn’t do that anymore. It’s one of those things where it just flows out of me.”

“I’ve created tens of thousands of paintings, drawings and sculptures. I’ve done all sorts of experimentation on so many different levels and so many different materials. I’ve done a lot of wild experimentation with things that sometimes don’t go over, but the hearts, stars, flowers, and nature, that gravitates and resonates with people, so I’ve learned how to manipulate it in my own unique voice in a way that really appeals to people. People come up to me all the time at shows saying, ‘My parents, or so and so, bought me a clock last year and it makes me so happy.’ That’s really nice having all that. My little ‘Sweet Petite’ line is a really strong seller. I’ve had my clocks in galleries in all 50 states, Canada, Japan and Europe. A businessman imported them for shows in Frankfort and Paris.”

“I started doing wholesale shows in New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago and Las Vegas. I would bring in my product line, and galleries and stores come from all over and place orders. I’d go back to my studio, replicate them, box them up and ship them. Most of the time when I would do shows in the Midwest and the East coast, I would load up my van with my product, do the shows, and then I would basically work out of my studio filling the orders. Even though I have a great work ethic and I get the job done, it’s not like going to a 9-to-5 job and really locked into that type of thing. My studio now is in my home in Lathrup Village in Detroit. I don’t have any employees right now. It’s the first time, since the band days, that I don’t have a single employee. From 1998 until 2014, I had a studio in downtown Royal Oak.”  

“My advice for budding artists would be to really keep an open mind. Have a very disciplined work ethic, and stay out of debt. Experiment a lot, and if it’s meant to be in your life, you’ll figure it out. But unless it’s a driving passion for you…don’t do it.”  

“My favorite thing to do is hang out with my kids. They give me a peace of mind and well being that is truly a blessing. I love traveling, going for walks, fishing, taking out my bike, and going out to eat great food. I’ve been a devoted father and I never wanted to get a divorce, but Susan moved out three years ago. We’ve remained friends and have an excellent family dynamic. Now I want to be excited about things again. I think I might try my hand at designing toys. Recently I was at the International Toy Show in New York. I think there’s a lot of opportunity and I think it might be very exciting to be involved in a different business dynamic.”

“If I were to win the lottery, I would take a deep breath and probably grab the kids, grab the ex, get a group of people together and do a 2-week trip to Italy. I’ve always wanted to go to Venice. I’d fly into Florence, spend a couple days there, then go to Venice, and then take a ferry over to Croatia, where there are all those islands in the Adriatic. There are all these old castles and Roman ruins. I would take a gaggle of people that I love and do that.”  

“When it comes to identical twins, David and I are the yin and the yang.”

Duane’s clocks are available for purchase at: • • •

DAVID SCHERER - I Am What I Am, I Do What I Do



I Am What I Am, I Do What I Do

By Marla Santos

Identical twin brothers, David and Duane Scherer, are two American Artists, whose unique clocks and art pieces are sold all over the U.S., Europe and the world, even in mainstream big box retailers such as Walmart and Sears. Their art has become collector’s items in numerous private and corporate collections. If you have a passion for modern art, you will find their work both unique and extraordinary.

David works in a variety of mediums, bringing an intriguing, distinctive style and vibrancy to all of his pieces. He’s well known for his 3D works of art. Reverse paintings on acrylic panels are attached to a canvas, giving them a multi-layered contemporary feel. David’s art is diverse, consisting of black and white drawings and paintings filled with beautiful, dense colors. The titles are as diverse as the creations, such as: “I’ve Run Off and Joined the Circus” and “Birth of an Arabian Ghost over the Sea of Spikes”. He has also created quite a collection of musical pieces, as he is also a musician, which is how we first met David and his identical twin, Duane.

“Art has always been there in my life. I started making things when I was a very young kid, probably eleven or twelve. I loved making things and putting things together. I started playing hockey when I was thirteen. When it came time to find a mask, there wasn’t anything that would really fit. There was just a plastic thing that you’d see at different sporting goods stores. I had a conversation with one of my teachers in my shop class telling him about my dilemma and he told me they had the technique to make a fiberglass mask that would be custom fit to my face. So, we made one. It was really exciting making the mold and forming it. So I had this little fiberglass mask playing in the hockey league, and there really wasn’t anything like it. All the other kids had those plastic ones. The next year I had grown and was playing with older kids. I made a full-scale head protection and a company named Goldie Mask painted it for me. That is what really got me hooked on the idea of making something really cool and then selling it. When I would make something in art class, it was always: ‘Can I sell this?’ I wondered: ‘What is it in me that I can create and sell, that would pay for other things that I was interested in?’ I loved dirt bike riding, playing hockey, skiing and traveling. I worked from that position rather than being an inspired artist.” 

“My reading about science and physics and astrophysics inspired me. I remember my science teacher saying: “Out beyond our planet there is a void. There’s nothing out there.” I didn’t understand that because, if there’s nothing out there, what about temperature, or light rays? There’s gotta be stuff out there. As years went by and the different discoveries came out that space is just one huge, multidimensional fabric, the idea that there is something everywhere appealed to me. There were a lot of extra realist (using detail textures for extra realism close-up) and abstract images in paintings that were an inspirational launching pad for me. When I was in my early twenties, I came up with this idea that I called: “Visions of Energy and Color.” Some of the sculptures that I do now, all these years later, are in a way, an offshoot of those earlier Visions of Energy and Color. It’s got a feeling of the multiverse that we live in. “  

“I had started doing paintings on wristwatch dials. I sold thousands and thousands of those watches. I had a customer that bought quite a few, and she asked me to do a wall clock for her kitchen. I went to Kmart and bought an electric clock, took it apart and did a painting on the dial. As soon as I did that, it got me into designing the clocks.”

“I was part-time bartending at Joe Lewis Arena for the hockey games and different concerts. I started getting to know some of the Detroit Red Wings and I met Dave Lewis, a hockey player that had turned coach. I hit it off with him and he bought a bunch a wristwatches from me, and one evening he said: ‘You know, I have this friend, Martin Blinder, who owns all these galleries called Martin Lawrence. I’m going to give him a call and tell him about you. So get together a package, bring it in, and I’ll mail it out to him.’ After seeing the artwork, he said the wristwatches and clock would fit in with what he had going on in his galleries. They ordered some pieces to test out, and about six weeks later, I receive this huge order from them for their eighteen galleries. That order and the subsequent orders after that funded me to do all kinds of shows with the paintings and the clocks. So that’s how I marketed myself in the very beginning. By doing all the shows and placing ads in various magazines is what got me going.”

“The clocks were really born from desiring to have a more consistent business. Early on, the clocks were very sculptural and more of a one-of-a-kind piece. But as I started dealing with more and more galleries, I had to figure out how to reproduce these pieces 12 times or 80 times. It went from just a few galleries to where I was doing wholesale shows. And galleries from all over the country are now placing orders with me. Just as I’m adjusting to dealing with the production part of art, and I still wanted it to have that hand painted quality, I discovered the laser. The laser is a machine that cuts all kinds of different shapes and parts out of all different kinds of materials. Once the paintbrush was a marvel of science. Without the paintbrush, the Mona Lisa would have never been created. I looked at the laser, and the way my brain works, it’s the same thing. Without the laser, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do. All the drawings are still done by hand and all the painting, too. So it does have that quality to it.” 

“As I’ve gotten older, my brother Duane told me years ago to just wait until you’re in your fifties. My brother is a very big supporter in recognizing what creativity I have. Now that I am older, my creativity is just off the charts, and has been for quite a long time. I just have this thing where, if I want to create something or if I need to design my clocks in a different direction, it is like pulling on a switch. For me, it’s been this way for a really long time. I don’t have to ponder at the blank canvas or a piece of paper in front of me. I start to do something, this thing just opens up, and it’s kind of amazing. I do know that certain people get to a point in their careers, (writers, painters), and they get the block. That’s it; that’s the end. They’re the one-hit wonder, or the one-hit painting wonder. For me, it just doesn’t stop. I guess I’m blessed with that. I love what I do and I’ve been very, very blessed with a career that has lasted as long as it has. The job of making art, sculpture, the clocks, and for me making the commitment 30-some years ago that this was what I was going to do was a blessing. There was a little bit of stress, because I knew that I would get to a point in my life where it didn’t work out, or if I got burned out and couldn’t come up with any new ideas, what would I do? That was a stressful period and it lasted for a while, but here it is over 30 years later and it’s a moneymaking business, so I’ve never come close to that.”

“For all the young budding artists: I think a good work ethic is really important—but love what you do. Pablo Picasso’s work ethic was outrageous, but he never did anything else. I wouldn’t want to live a life like that. I love to do what I do. For me, when I wake up really early in the morning, I love every single day—because I’m drawn to it and there’s an excitement and wondering: ‘What is today going to bring me?’” 

“When I was 19 years old, I had this fabulous idea of constructing the world’s largest canvas and I would do this amazing large painting and auction it off and use the money to solve some of the world’s problems, like trying to feed everyone who’s starving. I couldn’t wait for my brother to get home so I could share it with him. My brother came home and he thought I was crazy. Then, as we talked about it, I realized I could never do it. The cost would be prohibitive. That’s something that’s always been an underlying current with me. If I were to ever become fabulously wealthy, I would still want to do something like that. If I won the lottery, I would probably buy a building in Las Vegas or New York and I would create an audio-visual multidimensional experience, like a 3-dimensional painting for people to walk through, because anything like that doesn’t yet exist.” 

David’s artwork is available for purchase at: 
Firenet.TV • • •

Jake Gyllenhaal - Demolition




Sure Jake Gyllenhaal is good-looking and a great actor—yet in his many recent interviews, this 35-year-old actor has revealed a much deeper side to his personality.  

In his new film, Demolition, directed by French-Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club, and Wild) he portrays a man struggling to deal with the grief of his wife’s recent death. In a car accident, in an instant, this man loses his wife. Vallée seems to be drawn to this type of material. He is an atypical director who employs a hands-on type of style in his moviemaking. He is a “run and gun” type of director (much like our own publisher of this magazine) taking many situations that most of us wonder silently how we could cope if we were the characters that he brings to the screen.

When Vallée sent Gyllenhaal the script for Demoliton, the actor quickly accepted the role. The unique director takes the audience into the tragedy of losing someone so close and so fast, helping you to feel the pain as if it were your own, then spins your emotions with the oddly surprising humor that can arise as we human beings experience grief. Gyllenhaal’s character, Davis, is so distraught after his loss, that he really doesn’t know how to feel, as the story begins with him writing a complaint letter to the company whose vending machine failed to dispense the package of Peanut M&M’s that he purchased. Finally, after receiving multiple letters, the woman from the company (played by Naomi Watts) reaches out Davis, to see if he needed someone to talk to. As a result, he finds a way to grieve, along with a finding a path to healing. The process seems to be infectious and ends up helping the son of Watt’s character to find a better way in his life, as well. The beauty of films like this and others that Vallée has directed is that they take you on the journey that a character is going through with such truth and beauty—yet helps you to feel the absurdity that life can throw at you from time to time. Ultimately, we get through these tough times in a way that may seem or feel unfathomable to someone else. It’s the cracks that make us whole sometimes. Look for Demolition due to be released on DVD soon.

STRIPLV: Tell us a little about the story behind how you were brought in to do the film, Demolition?
GYLLENHAAL: My process of getting involved in this movie was really a simple one. It involved, really, Jean-Marc sending me the script. He had a few months before shooting the movie, and he offered me the movie, and I read it and I was deeply moved by it. And within a week, I was in it, working on it with him. I was really sort of impressed with his point of view and how he wanted to make the film.
STRIPLV: What was it about the script that intrigued you, and what was the final catalyst that made you decide to take on the role of Davis?
GYLLENHAAL: What drew me to it was that, as I read the screenplay and as we made the movie, every time I thought that I was moving into something that was “eye-rollingly” conventional, the script would kind of lead me into a totally different place, and I was always surprised at how unconventional and surprising, and also really how uplifting and funny it was.  

“ There’s the initial moment for everyone in the audience when they see this movie where they, you know, they kind of cover their mouth and go: ‘Oh, God—should I be laughing at this?’ ”  

GYLLENHAAL: And then all of a sudden as they give in, almost more than half the movie [later], there’s significant laughter. And I think it’s because there’s a joy in being part of a universal feeling, which is: we don’t walk through this world without experiencing loss, and hopefully we don’t walk through this world without experiencing love. I know there are people who haven’t [experienced love], and Davis is potentially someone who, at the beginning of this story, could be one of those people. And as a result of taking everything apart, he’s not. He learns how to love.
STRIPLV: What do you think it was that Davis did or didn’t do to create this void in his life?
GYLLENHAAL: You know, I think he’s a guy who’s followed all the rules, who’s said: “Oh, I’m supposed to be married at this age. I’m supposed to be making this much money at this time.” And I think because of who he is and the way our society works, he’s been allowed to, in a way. But he’s lacking the richness of a real life somewhere, and I think this tragedy that happens opens him up to all the things that life can offer. And as a result, I think he’s, throughout most of the movie, really trying to search for what feels right to him—and tries to find himself again.
STRIPLV: What parts of your character do you think audiences will be able to relate to the most?
GYLLENHAAL: What’s relatable is that he is struggling. He is struggling to find who he is. I think that’s… seems to me, I don’t mean to be like... (throwing hands up in the air—shrugging) I speak for myself when I say this. We’re all searching for who we eventually want to be. The life that we think we want to have is not always the life that we actually do want to have. And I think that’s incredibly relatable.
STRIPLV: What was it like on the set working with the incredibly brilliant director, Jean-Marc Vallée?
GYLLENHAAL: You know, Jean-Marc is… he’s just…. He’s adversed to vanity. He’s adversed to the sort of Hollywood system. He’s adversed to convention, generally. And yet he has a huge heart and doesn’t stray away from the harder things to handle and his feelings, but ultimately always comes back to this sort of semi-conventional idea that love, kind of, and honesty and truth, kinda conquer all—and that the truth kind of does set you free. Working with him in his process is a whole other thing. I love… I’ve never been on a set before [like his], and I’ve made many movies, where you come to work and there is no: you walk on set, you put on your wardrobe and then you start working…  

“ There’s no makeup or lighting, and everything is handheld, and [Vallée’s] moving in for a close-up, and then the next take he’s running across the street getting a wide shot. It’s really the type of process. It’s how I work as an actor—how I wish to work as an actor. It is not cumbersome. It’s agile, and he’s always looking for an honest moment. 

STRIPLV: Can you tell audiences who may not have seen the film yet, why the title, Demolition?
GYLLENHAAL: Demolition is, in this movie, about demolishing things that existed before—things with history, whether it be happy times or painful times. And I think that the destruction and demolition of his life is obviously literal and it’s also figurative. And so it’s his internal life and his external life. I think he misunderstands it when people tell him, “You know, you have to take things apart in order to put them back together.” And I think he sort of assumes: “Oh, I’ll do that in the real world. I’ll literally tear my house apart.” The demolition of a house or a structure holds, they say, all the energy that you’ve had in it. And I think it’s also an inner journey and a metaphor for the demolition that we have and we must go through to change. And in this case, the humor comes when “demolition” becomes literal. (chuckling) You know, like, that’s the part that I love about this movie is that situations happen in life where we grieve and we have to change. In some ways, we know that story. We’ve seen that story. But in this case, this character sort of misinterprets it and kinda gets it wrong. And so he literally tears down his house (chuckles again) and everything around him, and I think that’s funny. You know, I think there’s a real sense of humor in that, in the misunderstanding of what healing is about. And what he’s trying to get to is: feeling. He’s trying to understand why he’s not feeling. Within the journey of him trying to figure that out, he discovers his feelings.
STRIPLV: It sounds like this movie really touched a chord for you. Was there a particular moment in the film that really struck you the most?
GYLLENHAAL: I think what moved me really was, so often we are told how to experience a situation, how we’re supposed to experience a situation, we’re supposed to feel—not only literally somebody telling you that, but just convention. You know, the movies we see, the books we read, the magazines we read, on the Internet, whatever it might be—we’re told: “This is the way it should be.” And every human being is so specifically and individually themselves—and I think that doesn’t leave much room for reacting however you would react as yourself. And so this is a movie really about the specificity of one guy and how he responds to grief, and the things he loves and losing them and trying to put his life back together. And I like that, because I like things that feel new and different, particularly when you seemingly are grappling with something that seems typical and is done in a totally typical way. I think that’s just great. I think it’s wonderful.

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