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Seabiscuit - Tobey Maguire Q&A



Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q. It was big decision to make this film and I wonder whether you considered the risks involved in taking on a part like this? You ad to do a lot of scenes on horseback, for instance. There's always a danger they could go horribly wrong. We all remember, sadly, what happened to Christopher Reeve, for example?
A.
I talked to Gary about how that was all going to be done. I was on horseback, I was on a racehorse, and I did get to go on the track and gallop a racehorse. I was never in the most dangerous situations, as that would not only have been dangerous for myself, but the people around me. These guys are professional geckoes and I don't belong in a tight pack with them.
So, to be honest I never really considered the risk involved. I guess it would run through my head, but it never occurred to me to not do it because of that.

Q. Given the success of a movie like Seabiscuit, I guess you can have pretty much your pick of roles?
A.
It sounded like a statement, not a question. I didn't hear a question?

Q. Do you now feel secure of your position in the pecking order?
A.
I feel fine. I can be competitive in a healthy way, and I think I'm more competitive in games, or sporting things, than in my career. I've always felt comfortable. I've never really had a tremendous amount of fear that I wasn't going to be able to work, maybe even in a way that I didn't deserve to have that attitude.
Listen, I'm very grateful for my opportunities, I think it's a good thing, and it's a good thing to be able to work with people I want to work with. That's the thing for me, you know, I get to come and work with Gary again, and work with Jeff Bridges and Chris Cooper, and the kind of crew that we had. That's what's amazing to me, and what I feel great about.
In terms of pecking order, and other actors out there, listen, you know, there are certain actors that I look forward to seeing their movies, so I feel fine about all that.

Q. But wasn't there a time last year when you might have felt threatened?
A.
Threatened? In terms of what?

Q. Because of your health problems?
A.
No, not at all, and if you're referring to Spider-Man and what was made in the media, versus what actually happened, if you're curious about that, then I'd be willing to tell you about it.

Q. Yes please, it is the £400 question...
A.
Ok. Well, I had some discomfort that I've had for several years and it goes up and down, depending on what I'm doing. In terms of sports, you know, if I'm playing lots of basketball, or running a lot, it can aggravate it.
So before I was to do Spider-Man, I had been experiencing some discomfort for a while and I looked at the script, and saw the storyboards, and saw that the level of stunts I was going to have to do was many times more difficult than the first Spider-Man, so I felt it was my responsibility - to myself, my own health and the studio - to say, 'hey, you know, I'm a little concerned, I want to make sure I can do this stuff', and they wanted to make sure I could do it, too. I went in and did some test days, where I was testing myself, and they were making sure I could do it, and then several hundred people wrote a few stories about it , and there you go...
Ross: Can I also speak to that point, which I never have before? I don't really think its a £400 gorilla, I think it's about a £3 monkey. To be absolutely frank with you, this is a normal conversation that should go on, responsibly, before any movie. Tobey and I had this conversation before Seabiscuit. I woke up this morning with a back worse than Tobey's, you know, because I rode a bike yesterday? You've probably had a bad back too, at times, right?
So, you know, this is something that goes on, it's a very normal conversation, he had it responsibly with the studio, and the only thing that was irresponsible was the media coverage of something which is just a normal part of the filmmaking process. I think, frankly, a lot of the stories that went on were absolutely reprehensible.

Q. Were there any amusing mishaps while shooting, or encounters?
A.
Gary Stephens, who plays George Woolfe in the movie, is a jockey and was acting for the first time and, I think, did a fantastic job. He was green to the profession, and he did the scene in the jocks room, where I'm telling the story, and he kind of ruined the story for me, and he did such a good job on this one take, that everybody was applauding, like the crew and everybody there was applauding him, because he was so good.
So, I went up to him afterwards, and I said, 'Gary, that was really good, really good, but I understand you don't get the etiquette of how things work here, but you're going to have to tone your performance down. It was a little much and you're stealing my thunder..."
And he thought I was serious. He was looking at me, like, 'oh my God, man, I'm so sorry'.
And I said, 'no, I'm kidding!' But that kicked off a really fun relationship for us, where we would tease each other all the time.

Q. Did Chris Cooper give you the benefit of any of his cowboy experience?
A.
I did experience Chris Cooper, but I also experienced Tom Smith. The way we shot was somewhat chronological, at least from the beginning, when we were doing our own scenes and then came together. So, I kind of met him in an odd way, in terms of acting, in that we didn't really spend any time preparing with each other. So I met him similar to Red and Tom Smith meeting. We had our own things going on.

Q. Having built yourself up for Spider-Man, and then knocked yourself down for Seabiscuit, I wonder, now that you've had to get into shape again, when was the last time you weighed 115lb?
A.
The last time I weighed 115lb? Probably 17 years ago. I dipped under 140 for this; I never got to 115, I don't think that would be possible. It was tough, but it was just work, and part of the character, and I got into it. It was something that was necessary to me. I do look forward to finding some sort of a role where physicality doesn't take part in it, but it was good.

 

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