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The Nice Guys - Joel Silver and Matt Bomer interview

The Nice Guys, Matt Bomer

Interview by Rob Carnevale

PRODUCER Joel Silver and co-star (and movie villain) Matt Bomer talk about some of their experiences of making The Nice Guys with Shane Black and Russell Crowe.

Joel reflects on his 30-year relationship with Shane Black, as well as the key casting of young co-star Angourie Rice, while Matt talks about his villain and having to throw a young girl through a plate glass window. They were speaking at a UK press conference…

Q. Was this an easy one to produce? Or was it more complicated than it looks on screen?
Joel Silver: There’s no such thing as an easy anything. Shane and I go back a long time – 30 years. He was a 21-year-old college graduate from UCLA when he wrote Lethal Weapon in 1986. We made that in ’87 and, of course, we went on to do Lethal Weapon 2 and he was actually in the Predator movie that we made in ’87. Then came The Last Boy Scout, after which he took a period of introspection, which I wasn’t part of. And then we did Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang in 2005. But he had written The Nice Guys before that, like 2001, and we had tried a few ways to do it. But he had also decided to direct Kiss Kiss, so we made that one first. We then tried to do The Nice Guys as a television series, or as a mini-series, but then finally after he made Iron Man 3 which was essentially one of those get out of jail free cards in that whatever you want, you can do, so he said he wanted to make The Nice Guys. So, we started talking about it and within a quick period of time Russell [Crowe] said “I like it, I think it would work”. And at the same time, Ryan [Gosling] said, “Well, I want to work with Russell, so I like it”. And then we had a movie. That part was easy.

Q. Matt, John Boy is terrifying without saying anything. It’s more his demeanour. Was that fun to bring to life?
Matt Bomer: Oh yeah, it’s always fun to get to paint with different colours and to get to play this kind of role, which you’re not typically pegged as. And to get to do it with these people, I mean I’m essentially a fan boy who is lucky enough to be along for the ride. Shane and Joel are a huge part of my cinematic upbringing, from my childhood, and to watch two of my favourite actors create this incredible, symbiotic, comedic performance where one doesn’t work without the other, and it’s so present and every take was different, was an incredible education for me.

Q. What was it like working with the younger cast?
Joel Silver: We’re blessed with an incredibly talented… that goes without saying. Just brilliant performances from everybody. I mean, my young friend, Russell, was great. But the little girl, Angourie [Rice], is 15-years-old now but was 13 when we made the movie, and she is incredible. And all the little girls around her, all the friends… we have Jack Kilmer, who is Val Kilmer’s son… we really were able to fill the stage with very talented people. It didn’t hurt that we had Russell and Ryan, who had done this a few times, so there was always this tremendous ability to get the job done but also do a great job with it.

Q. How easy was it to find her?
Joel Silver: Ryan [Gosling] has a history with the Mickey Mouse Club. He was a child performer himself. And he took the time to get to know people. We had a lot coming in from the States and we thought we’d be fine with that selection. But then this little girl came in from Melbourne who we didn’t really know, but we thought that she could be magical, so we said ‘let’s bring her in and see her’. We had a whole day of auditions and she was the last one in and she blew us away.

Q. Matt, we’ve been talking about the younger actors, so how was it throwing a 13-year-old girl through a window?
Matt Bomer: Well, I was going to comment on that when we were talking about Angourie. But she’s such a consummate professional. That scene was the first thing we filmed and I had to, like you say, throw a young girl through a plate glass window. I immediately felt the need to ingratiate myself to these two young girls and let them know I was a parent, and that wasn’t my level, and that we were just playing pretend, and they just both stared at me very blankly, like: “Yeah, so, you think we don’t know this? We want to know what you got? That’s it! I want another take!!” So, they took me to school [laughs].

Q. Did you have to practice it?
Matt Bomer: Not really, no. We did a cold, dry run with the stunt department. It was all very professional and carefully prepared. And it was a stunt double.

Read our interview with Shane Black

Read our interview with Russell Crowe