Compiled by: Jack Foley
Q. I've talked about getting under the skin of the characters,
but for you was it even more of a demanding task, given that the
man you're portraying is such a complex individual and the journey
that he goes on is quite incredible?
A. Really trusting the script and trusting Terry. I mean
I knew there was a certain amount of preparation that I had to
do to understand the historical context and to really educate
myself about the militia of the history. But a lot of what happened
in the film, from a narrative, the character didn't know, or the
character couldn't prepare for, so I tried to just keep myself
as ignorant as I could about situations so that I could really
react and really respond truthfully to how a human being would
respond in those moments.
And also having Paul there to ask - I never really asked him specifically
about those 100 days but more trying to understand who he was
as a person. He can tell you that when I first got the role, I
began emailing him right away and asked him a thousand questions,
probably some that seemed ridiculous to him, but just trying to
get an idea of his interior life and what kind of a person he
was in his spirit so to speak.
Q. And the body language? Because you totally become
different during the course of this movie?
A. Well I absolutely watched Paul. I also, once I got
the film, Terry sent me some footage that he had taken of Paul
on their trip to Rwanda and there was hours of that and I would
just watch that over and over and over again. And then when we
both were in South Africa together during the rehearsal period,
we'd go out to dinner, or we'd just be walking around the set,
I would definitely watch Paul a lot and sereptitiously try and
get a handle on him and a read on him, including gestures and
body language and all of that.
Q. Where were you when you heard about the Oscar nominations
and how did you react?
A. When I first got the news, or when they first announced
the news, I was on a plane in Africa, on a UN plane back to the
hotel with Paul. I called my wife and once I'd figured out the
time I knew it was early in the morning and she was awake, so
I knew that someone had called and woke her up, because she wasn't
going to get up and check the names. So I knew somebody had called,
and I figured that if somebody had called then they had probably
called her to say 'hey, Don got nominated', so she said 'did you
know you got nominated' and I said 'oh wow, that's great'. And
then she started screaming and said 'and Sophie was nominated!'
And that was really the icing on the cake. And then she added,
'oh yeah, and Terry was nominated'.
Q. Audiences are so used
to watching manufactured heroism in all sorts of movies, but this
is totally different because it's so real. Has it changed the
way you approach films now or in the future in terms of what you
A. What's the most fun for me is to change it up. So
I would actually like to do something as far away from what I've
just done, just for my own personal joy and growth, for what I
want to do. And also I wouldn't want to attempt to compare this
to anything else; this is a singular sort of moment, I think,
in my career and one that has allowed me to have audiences...
as I said, Paul and I have just got back from Sudan, and we went
to Sudan with a congressional delegation, on a military jet, and
there were two star generals there and high-ranking representatives
from NGOs and Night Line followed us, and we got to show, centre-stage,
something that's going on today in the Sudan that has really frightening
parallels to the situation in Rwanda. I was on CNN and I'm doing
all these shows that aren't entertainment puff-piece shows about
something that's very relevant and pertinent today. I've never
been a part of a film before that sort of platforms into real
issues and something that raises social awareness and has the
potential to change things. I say potential because I don't really
hold out a lot of hope that film can do that - I hold out hope,
but don't really have high expectations.
But I attribute all of that to this film, the real heroism that
you speak about, that Paul has, not the Rambo or Die Hard kind
of manufactured heroism.
Q. But is entertainment like that just as justified for
A. Absolutely. I understand working all week and Friday
night just wanting to go and leave your brain, check it at the
coat check, and go 'just thrill me with something', and have some
nice popcorn and have a date. That absolutely has a place as well.
I enjoy those movies and I love those movies and I want to be
a part of those movies too. And they tend to pay [coughs] a little
better too! It's all a part of the big sort of career path.
Q. You've made very good career choices, what drives
A. I always feel like I've been very blessed because
I don't read that many scripts a year that I think are that good,
but I have been fortunate enough to be a part of a lot of the
ones that I think are. Also to make connections with artists and
filmmakers who are out there doing things that I feel in sympatico
with and been able to work with them, so that's just been a fortunate
set of events. I mean I've worked with Steven three times and
the movies couldn't be more different, so that was just finding
someone that I jive with in that way. And it was my first time
to Africa, and I've since been back, and we're going back again
next month to take the film back, and I have a feeling that's
going to be a recurrent theme in my life.