A: What’s interesting is that you would joke that it was your “practice movie,” because you were about to go shoot a movie that actually had a budget, “Mortal Instruments.” We actually had to start six days earlier then we intended to because you were going to go off and shoot that movie. The practice movie got shoved into a new position, so we scrambled to try to get the shoot going so that we could finish in time to release you to your multi-million dollar extravaganza.
R: Oh! And we’ve all seen the benefits of that, haven’t we? We’ve all seen the benefits. Oh God! I’m the new… I’ll tell you…I’m the new…
A: The new Robert Pattinson.
R: Yeah, my profile rocketed after that baby came out. I’ll tell you that.
A: I would love to hear about working with someone like Rory Culkin, who is so different from you in himself and as his character.
R: It was interesting because of our wildly different energies, myself and Rory. Rory has a very intriguing, very engaging shyness that just emanates from. I think people find Rory very intriguing because, I suppose to some extent, he offers just bits and bobs here and there, insights into the world and to his reality. And so people have the tendency to bridge the gap, but they bridge it in very exaggerated ways. So there’s a certain kind of mythology that he’s inadvertently created for himself.
Best friends do tend to be chalk and cheese. At first it was trying, to be honest with you, it was a bit trying because my character was always wanting more from him, even though he was just being, which was lovely. I was probably over-compensating because I was like, “You know come on! We should both be high energy!” You know?
A: You have a guy, this depressed kid whose father has just committed suicide and is naturally shy gravitating towards someone who’s like a wild lion. And the wild lion is constantly saying, “Get up! Get up! Get up!”
R: It was lovely to let that whole relationship breathe. Then all the stuff with Mary Beth, who plays Rory’s character’s grandmother Charlie. She’s like this icon of a different age. She’s this very authoritative, matriarchal figure. With her scenes it was just like doing a play.
A: That was a really great thing for me – to be able to just set the camera and let it run. It’s such a pleasure as a director when you spend so much time preparing something and then you get to this point and you can be just hands off, you get to watch it. And that last scene where you guys danced together…
R: That’s one of my fondest fucking memories.
A: The whole crew was totally transfixed and felt like we weren’t meant to be there. It was like a private moment between you and Mary Beth. And that scene, we would let it run for like four or five minutes, the conversation and in the dance.
“You can’t watch a film objectively that you’re in, because you’re just watching yourself and constantly thinking, “Is that alright?”
— Robert Sheehan
R: She took me by the hand, and she just led me into that scene. I was like a child and I just completely went with it. It’s a testament to her, she completely takes the lead in that scene. And it was beautiful, it was beautiful. I think at one point I’m crying. That was completely natural, I just burst into tears. I got reduced to an infant.
I was reading an interview with Irish actor Cillian Murphy and he said, “The great thing about theatre is that if in a run of doing a play for, say, three months, you get just a handful of moments where you’ve utterly transcend time, space, everything… despite the fact that it’s a contrived experience, where there’s an audience and a stage…if you as an actor can completely forget about all that stuff and just be in the ether of the moment, then it’s worth it. That’s worth twenty years of practice.” And I kind of feel that that scene was one of those moments.
A: It felt like it, from the outside watching and filming it, it felt like both of you went somewhere else. You went into the life force, you went into the water as it were. Even though that scene wasn’t on the water, it felt like you touched the life force. And that’s beautiful.
R: And bear in mind, we’re talking about this, but this was two years ago, wasn’t it?
It feels like longer because of course, we’ve gone away, we’ve done different stuff. Whole life shit has happened in the mean time. I’m so fucking intrigued to see this film from start to finish with all the bells and whistles in place.
And you know, the thing is, I called it the “practice film” because after I went off to do the studio film. But a film like this, I’m much more intrigued to see this film than some kind of big budget studio effort, because you’ve got much more emotional investment in something like this.