From The Film Stage:
Getting to the casting, Guy Pearce is just so fantastic in this movie. Every glance he has, he conveys so much. I’m curious since Robert Pattinson is such a great counterpart to that. It definitely feels like in the last few years he’s trying to segue into more films like this. When you met him and what he brought to the table, how much was on the page versus the many nuances he brings to his character? What was the process like of casting him?
One of the things I liked about Rob, right from the outset — other than meeting him and just finding him beguiling and fascinating — was that when he came to test for me, he came both with a really beautifully considered and specific reading of the character, but also a full understanding that on the page, the character can be played a hundred different ways. So straight away that said to me that I had in him a collaborator who would help me find the character. I talk about the fact that I kind of tested him over two days for something close to four hours, but I sort of knew that I wanted him in the first five minutes. The other three hours and fifty minutes were him and I exploring the character. He had a lot to contribute on that front.
When he came to Australia about two weeks before we started shooting we had lots of conversation about things that were seemingly cosmetic. Hair cuts and wardrobes say a lot about the character and the character’s backstory and the character’s sense of the world and he had lots of things to say on that front. He was the one who initially agitated to have his monkey haircut. That rationale for it, in a way, was that this was the point of his character. Unlike Guy, this is a kid who still feels like there’s something out there for him and his monkey haircut is his delusional way of styling himself on the off chance that there’s a kind of pretty girl in the next town that he might fall in love with.
I loved the selection of the Keri Hilson song. It starts as almost a fun idiosyncratic kind of way and then you cut right to Pattinson’s character and it’s sad because it’s part of a life his character will never come back to. Can you talk about using that song and you obviously knew about it beforehand because he sings it in the movie.
Yeah, the motivation there is not dissimilar to the one I was describing before with regard to his haircut. It’s just a reminder at a particularly crucial point in the movie that this kid is a kid who, unlike Guy’s character, still weirdly has a sense of the world being a place that is still to be explored, that he still has music that he likes. The ways in which those sorts kind of cultural interests feed into your whole sense of your place in the world and perhaps the girls he might meet, all of which is stuff for Guy’s character has just entirely evaporated.
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