This might be a little too meta, but did you see any parallels between the fact that your character is someone who is seeking to assume other peoples' identities and your own profession as an actor?
I’d never even thought about that, to be honest. My view of acting, and it's difficult to say anything about acting without sounding like a wally, is that everybody acts all the time, every human. You are a different person with your parents than you are with your partner, than you are with a friend in a bar, than you are with your boss. We’re all slightly different people all the time. I just think actors get paid to notice that.
You always hear the saying that playing the villain is the most fun. Did you have a great time shooting this role, or was it taxing emotionally in some kind of way?
The first part of the answer is yes. Playing the villain in this was very good fun. But it was surprisingly tiring in that, because it was a very low budget independent film, Josh had cleverly written around all maybe five main scenes, each that were about eight or nine pages long, so we would shoot those scenes in one take. I haven’t seen the film, so I don’t know how they cut it up or whether they lingered on any of those shots for a long time.
One of the suggestions when we were shooting was if it were even possibly to show the entire scene from one wide shot. You had to feel like the whole of every take worked. Some of that stuff is quite intense and high energy, so doing that eight times a day was tricky, and right at the end I remember there’s a bit where I... get shot? Is that what happens? Well, I fall over -- there was a chair there and I fell and landed on it and broke a rib and we had to keep going because we had like a day and a half left to shoot. But I can’t tell you how incredibly painful that was, and it was my fault. The one place in the room where there was a chair, which in reflection I shouldn’t have done. But it presented some challenges and some things that are incredibly exciting, as if I was doing theater in some way. I really enjoyed it, I had a good time.
Did you suffer any injuries on the set of “Cloud Atlas?”
No nothing on “Cloud Atlas.” “Cloud Atlas” was injury free. Halle Berry got all the injuries on that film.
I love that on this 18 day shoot you suffered a rib injury, but on “Cloud Atlas," an epic blockbuster, nothing happened.
Well, Russell Crowe had the same thing. On “Master and Commander” absolutely fine, and then he did something to his shoulder on a film called “Cinderella Man,” which I know now is a boxing film, but at the time it made me laugh.