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Mystic River - Tim Robbins Q&A



Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q. This is one of the more passive roles you've had, it's very reactive, and very dark. Did you attempt to get into it, or did they approach you? How was the process of you joining the movie?
A.
I read the script, and I knew Sean was involved, and then I met Clint and he gave me the job.

Q. And the character, was it so different for you, is that what attracted you to it?
A.
As actors we're always looking for something we can get our teeth into, and this had so much to it; so much past experience that plays in the present, in a kind of expressed way. To be able to read the book and to understand the psychology and the subtext, and to be able to play that kind of subtext, you don't really get that type of opportunity to do it. For me, it was a great opportunity and challenge.

Q. What did you make of Clint Eastwood's directing style, and was it different from what you imagined, or exactly what you expected?
Adds Clint: And you can lie [laughs].
A.
That's actually the nice thing about doing press for this film, is that I don't have to lie.
I learned a lot. There's a certain quiet confidence on the set that I had never experienced before. There wasn't any kind of Hollywood tripping, any kind of attitude, or gossip, no games being played; it was very calm, very professional and very efficient.
The great revelation for me was that you can do one take and get the performance. You don't need to torture yourself; you don't need to do 20 takes.
The revelation there also is that when you only do one or two takes, you really remember what you did three weeks ago. Instead of trying to figure out which one of those 20 takes three weeks ago was the good one, and how to tie your performance together, with this one, it was like, 'oh yeah, I did that, and I'm sure about this too'. It gives you a sense of confidence, especially as you're working with people he has worked with for many, many years; so you feel like you're being invited into a family. It was a very warm environment...

Q. What did you think about shooting in a very authentic location, and what do you think it gave the film?
A.
Well, I love working on location, especially when it's the real location. Over the past few years, I've been asked to go up to Toronto and Montreal and imagine that those cities are New York, and they just aren't. There is no way that you can get the feeling.
We were working with local actors who were from Boston, and crew members, and it has that feel, because we were there, and we were in the streets.

Q. What do you think about the new governor of California?
A.
I think the whole idea of a recall is a dangerous idea, because politicians and the word courage don't often go together, and it's gonna be less so now, because, in order to lead, sometimes you have to do unpopular things.
And if everyone's going to be looking over their shoulder, at the electorate, if it's all about polls, I can't see much visionary leadership. The bad thing is that it could be six months down the road that they might recall Schwarzenegger, and then we'll get Jean-Claude Van Damme! [cue laughter and round of applause]

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