Compiled by: Jack Foley
Q: Given the secrecy surrounding the secrecy in the making
of The Village, what can you say about the movie?
A: Let's talk about the process and Night's idea of us
all getting together prior to filming. There was a sort of 19th
Century boot camp, which I loved. We were living in the woods,
camping out in tents. It kind of forced you to get know everybody
really well, which I loved.
It created a sense of community and, at the same time, we were
learning about these kind of Utopian societies and communities
and their structure. You saw people becoming their roles in front
of you, which was fantastic. Including myself, I wish I could
tell you my experiences there.
But I can't. Though I can say that my character was rebellious,
so I didn't have to follow the game that everybody else had to
follow. It was in character, so I had an excuse to go off and
have a blast. It was a thrill, it really was.
Q: So at boot camp did you live life without the benefit
of modern conveniences?
A: Yes. We used candles for light, a quill and a pad
to write with. It was the first time in ages that I was without
my cell phone. I didn't miss the cell phone to tell you the truth.
There were no electrical lights and virtually no heat.
We had a little gas heater because it was cold at night. We used
hot water bottles. Tea was made over big kettles. Food was cooked
for us. We weren't about to start preparing our own meals, I think
that would have been a lot to ask. At one time we did an Indian
At first, this was something about which I was a bit sceptical.
I wondered if I wanted to do that... a bunch of white actors doing
a Native American thing. I didn't want to be disrespectful. But
it was actually very spiritual. It was probably the intense heat
and the inhalation of all that smoke that made me more connected
to the Earth.
But, at that time, I did feel more connected to the Earth than
I had ever been in my entire life. We were in this little sweat
lodge that we had built, and had put in these hot stones in this
pit. And afterwards, we left and we were by the lake and I knelt
down and literally hugged the earth.
I felt this connection to the roundness of the Earth. It was amazing.
There was a full moon. Also, at boot camp, I went out on a canoe
and there were wild animals around. It all felt like a Summer
camp in which I couldn't get into trouble. It was something that
I didn't want to end.
It was one of those great moments. Then during the filming of
the movie we stayed in communal living. The whole core group of
actors lived together in a farmhouse. We had separate rooms but
we had dinner together and lived together like a family.
Q: It's been suggested that the film refers to both Wuthering
Heights and The Crucible?
A: I can't say but I do think it is a metaphor for society.
The dark forces beyond our borders that we are fearful of in the
film are very similar to what we are experiencing in the world
today. The film is one of those journeys that makes you think
about the state of things, but it is not forcing things down your
throat. It is entertaining and it is a thriller.
Q: Is it scary?
A: It is scary - there are scary moments. I do like scary
movies and I like as an actor to scare people. I think Night likes
that idea, too.
Q: What makes Night such a special film maker?
A: He is one of the most unaffected human beings I have
ever met. He lives a very simple life with his wife and children;
he doesn't leave his home too often, unless he has to. He was
lovely to work with. I definitely felt I was working with him,
not for him. There are similarities in our age and it was amazing
to see this guy tackle so much with this kind of ease. It was
inspirational to me.
Q: Did he give you access to the entire script or were
there bits he kept secret?
A: I had access to the entire script. My agents didn't
have access to the script.
Q: Do you get a particular
kick knowing you are part of a film that is so mysterious?
A: Yeah. I like that very much. I like the twists of
films. I have had to keep The Village's twists a secret from my
girlfriend, my representatives, my parents. No one knows. Ultimately,
I made the decision entirely on my own to take this role.
Normally, you have a lot of people telling you what to do. It
came after the Oscar, and I was being offered things, but not
what I wanted. If there had been something great that was a leading
role, then I would have been doing that. But I didn't find that.
I was not about to be fearful of playing a supporting role in
a movie like this, because I responded to the role. It has been
how I have chosen my roles in the past. I find a director who
is interesting and the kind of role that I will learn something
from and grow from. It inspired me, so I said I would do this
It is an interesting thing that happens after you get that kind
of recognition (with the Oscar) - you can get paralysed with the
desire to make all the right moves, to get to the next level,
or stay at that level. You can be afraid of knocking yourself
to a lower level. I don't believe in that. If you do a bad movie,
then that is not good for you.
But I have read enough to know what I am getting involved with.
To do a bad movie just because it is a big movie is a mistake
that a lot of people make, because they think that being in a
big movie is going to do what they think they need for their career.
I've been fortunate to not have to do that.
Now my real studio debut as a leading man, King Kong, has all
the right elements. I think I am very fortunate.
Q: Is there a lot at risk in doing an iconic film like
A: I'm confident. Peter Jackson is a great film maker
and if anyone is to tackle that film, then it should be him. It
has been a passion of his for years.
Q: You must be looking forward to being in New Zealand
for the film?
A: It probably is going to be life-changing for me. Most
things seem to be. I'm open to it. I think, at times, being that
far away from everything will be very difficult. But who knows
what that brings? It is going to be a cleaner life for me. So
it is an interesting time.
There is a lot of pressure. So it will be nice to focus on work,
on music, to have time to read and watch films and be with nature.
To have a little simpler life away from Hollywood, away from a
lot of the bullshit. That is a dream come true, really healthy.
It feels right.
Struggling with The Pianist for
six months, in Eastern Europe, was not very healthy but it was
worthwhile on a lot of levels. Even with all the struggling that
I did, it has made other experiences, like Night's movie, like
most of the things I do, a lot easier.
Q: Where do you keep your Oscar?
A: I have given it to someone to hang on to. I could
put it somewhere safe but I decided to let it be with some people
who enjoy it.
Q: What has the Oscar changed for you?
A: I think it has probably changed a lot, interestingly
enough. Your life changes and people around you change - so how
can you be the same person when the world changes?
It has changed some things for the better. I am still me, in the
midst of all this chaos. It is amazing to see how people approach
me differently, and how their perception of me has changed. But
I have not changed that much. I still live a pretty simple life.
I don't have an entourage. I am very fortunate, in a lot of ways,
to know what my priorities are.
Being exposed to the nonsense of the paparazzi behaviour ,and
the frenzy for it, has taken away the mystique and allure. I feel
grateful and honoured, but when you are living in the middle of
something it is very different to what it seems like to other
people. Things look extremely glamorous and some are.
Like I'm about to drive in a car rally, from Paris through Spain
and Morocco, and then to Cannes. Why am I doing it? Because they
can't stop me. I love cars. I could fix an old car, but not in
the middle of Morocco.
My point is I probably would not have been able to do this before
the Oscar. This was a real last minute thing. They fitted me in
and someone is loaning me the car. That moment, at the Oscars,
has made me more famous than all the movies combined.
With that kind of fame, there comes familiarity and you'd loan
a car to someone that you are really familiar with. You wouldn't
loan a car to an actor that you hadn't heard about. But you saw
me kiss that girl (Halle Berry) - you know the guy.
Q: What was the most fantastic thing on Oscar night?
A: A combination of the moment and having the clarity
of thought to express what I wanted to express. It was to be able
to speak about things without over-stepping my boundary, and without
gushing and losing my mind, because it was an overwhelming thing
to stand in front of the world. It was the highlight of my career.