Compiled by: Jack Foley
Q. What is it that you look for in a role? What attracted
you to this movie?
A. I look for something different to do – that's
the first thing I look for in a role. This role was certainly
different than a lot of the people that I've played before.
For whatever reason, every part that I've played has this golden
heart at the end of the day, and it was great to play somebody
that was – if he has a golden heart, it's pretty tarnished,
It was nice to play a leading role in a film and be given that
responsibility and to sort of be the driving force in the movie.
It was a lot of fun but it was also a lot of responsibility because
I didn't want to let anybody down because there's always pressure.
As an actor, you show up and when the cameras are rolling, it's
game time and you have the luxury of time to kind of work it out.
No one ever told me that I was the lead of the movie and to start
acting like it, it was just more like creative discussions about
the scenes, things like that.
Q: How much did you research for this role?
A: I did a bit of research. I met with police officers,
vice policemen here in Los Angeles that deal with people that
do this stuff for a living. Um, the actual people who do it are
kind of hard to get a hold of (laugh) but in fact there was one
guy that the policeman knew, a gypsy, and we were trying to track
him down, but he's got a case pending in Portland and he's wanted
in Texas and he owes alimony in Florida, or something…this
guy had a really complicated life.
Then he started asking for money and we offered him some but then
he wanted twice that amount of money. So he was trying to pull
us into the typical con web. But yeah, it's different and like
I said, some of the reasons I was attracted to the part was that
it's different than a lot of the stuff I've done.
Q: Did you learn additional tricks except for those shown
A: Yeah, well, I did a movie called Hard Eight where
we did a little bit of that stuff before but this was a really
compressed time frame when we made this movie.
From the time that they asked me to do it to the time that we
finished shooting it was a really tight schedule…28 days
shooting. So there wasn't a lot of time to be doing extra credit
It's natural that journalists are interested in the research that
actors do for roles but, from my point of view, the best research
you can do is reading a well-written script, you know? So I was
lucky to have that in this case.
Q: But you had rehearsals?
A: Yeah, we rehearsed for about a week.
Q: Do you feel sorry for your character?
A: Sure, I feel sorry for him. You know, despite the
fact that this guy is sort of ethically challenged and there are
a lot of big differences between us in the way that we conduct
ourselves but there are a lot of things we have in common too.
The life of a con man is not that different from the life of an
actor in a way. They’re both like small, independent business
men who are trying to make a living and work in all these different
places, with different people.
Con artists just do it in a much more negative way. He sort of
preys on people. An actor also cons people, but I let you know
before you come to the theatre and you agree to be conned.
Q: Did you start acting from
a very young age? Did you start because of your parents…
A: No, no one in my family is an actor. I think my grandfather
was a bouncer in Vaudeville for a while. He was the guy that stood
at the front of the stage and made sure no one ran up on the stage
when the girl was flinging her pasties around or whatever.
Yeah, I don't know. I think it was more just a natural channel
for my kind of restless mercurial nature as a kid. I was starting
to get into a drama class in Chicago and I started doing musicals
and honestly, what really attracted me to it was the sense of
More so than the adoration of an audience or even the work itself.
It was more like feeling like I was normal, you know? Because
in sports settings and academic settings, I always felt like an
odd ball, but with people doing theatre and stuff, I felt like
these are my people.
Q: So did you pack your bags, move to LA and start from
here and do odd jobs?
A: I started in Chicago, doing theatre professionally
when I got out of acting school. And then I was cast in my first
film while I still lived in Chicago. In fact, I did my first three
films while still living in Chicago.
I was travelling a lot and going on location, but I was just really
lucky – I got cast off a video tape that I sent from Chicago
to Brian De Palma for Casualties of War which was my first film
and they cast me from that video tape as a tiny part in the film.
I originally was going to play this guy who gets injured in the
first battle scene of the movie. And then during the course of
rehearsal, they decided to change the cast around a little bit
and they ended up giving me one of the leads of the movie.
It was a complete collision of, what do they say – luck
is when preparation meets opportunity?
It was really one of those situations. I was really a theatre
actor and I didn't even see a future for myself in movies. That
seemed like too much to ask for. I would have been happy doing
that for the rest of my life and then Hollywood came knocking
and one thing led to another.
Q: Are you still doing theatre?
A: Yeah, I do theatre a lot. If it works out, I'm gonna
do two plays on Broadway next year.
Q: When you saw the movie finished, was it what you expected?
A: Yeah, well, every time I watch a movie that I'm in,
I get a splitting headache. I don't know why but even with this
film, I had to tell myself that I wasn’t going to get a
headache this time, it's gonna be okay. And by the end of it,
my head was throbbing again.
I think that has to do with the first time you see a film that
you're in it seems like a scrapbook of your life out of order
– nothing makes sense and the story seems out of order,
even though it is in order. It's because you shot it in a different
You know, our last day of shooting is the opening scene of the
movie. So that's always a jarring experience, but then what heals
those feelings and what makes it okay is when you see it with
an audience and you hear the laughter and the surprise and you
can start to see it through the eyes of someone who is not on
the inside of the movie like you are.
Q: How was it working with Diego Luna?
A: It was great. He's one of the most charming people
you'll ever meet. We have that weird thing called chemistry. I
don't know why, I wish I could understand what it is that creates
chemistry because I would create it every time with everyone that
I work with.
But I just immediately felt affection for him. He has this look
about him which my character Richard, in the movie, really uses
as a tool against people. You just want to hug him or you want
to save him or something, like an orphan. He has this kind of
forlorn sweetness to him. And it's true of him in real life.
Q: What do you think about the film?
A: I love it. One of my biggest hopes for this movie
is that we did for LA what the original film, Nine Queens, did
for Argentina. You know, capture that place at that time and what
it really feels like to be on the streets of LA.