Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

'Stoker' Star Matthew Goode On the Joys of Playing a Sociopath and Working for Park Chan-Wook

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire March 5, 2013 at 12:00PM

Matthew Goode puts his angelic good looks to sinister use in Park Chan-Wook's dark and defiantly odd coming-of-age fable "Stoker."
1
Matthew Goode at a New York special screening of "Stoker" hosted by Fox Searchlight and the Film Society of Lincoln Center
Dave Allocca/Starpix Matthew Goode at a New York special screening of "Stoker" hosted by Fox Searchlight and the Film Society of Lincoln Center

Matthew Goode puts his angelic good looks to sinister use in Park Chan-Wook's dark and defiantly odd coming-of-age fable "Stoker."

In the "Olboy" director's English-language debut, Goode plays uncle to India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska), a young troubled woman with harboring some daddy issues after the surprise death of her father (Dermot Mulroney). When Goode's character, Charlie, returns home under mysterious pretenses for his brother's funeral, his arrival causes friction between India and her widowed mother (Nicole Kidman), throwing India off the deep end.

Indiewire sat down with a dapper-looking Goode in Manhattan's Crosby Street Hotel to discuss the sociopathic nature of his character, the pleasures of working with Park, and why "Oldboy" makes for a great date movie. "Stoker" is currently in limited release.

"Watchmen"
"Watchmen"

“Watchmen” obviously wasn't the first thing I saw you in but I did draw some parallels when watching this performance -- you have a knack for playing duplicitous characters. Why is that?

Oh, Christ, I don’t know really. In some sense one is deeply sociopathic and the other one I always thought was the most intelligent man in the world making a decision, somewhat mathematical, so I never looked at him as morally ambiguous as much as everyone else did. Everyone wants to save the world, he just does it. The world’s going to end anyway, everyone forgets that the doomsday clock is at midnight and so that’s it.

But with uncle Charlie -- I don’t know. I wouldn’t say I’m drawn to dark roles, and it’s not like I pick and choose. But I love Park, the role became open, and I loved the script. The character was fascinating and the story was fascinating. There’s such a small amount of actors, and it’s quite meaty, although there’s not a lot of dialogue. So all of those things together mix up, and you’re jumping through hoops trying to keep your name in the hat for as long as possible.

It’s a bit of a lottery really, but it’s nice when it's a director like Park. For him to choose you to be in his film, it’s quite something. It was a long time, I remember them saying, “Oh, I’m sure you’ll hear this week,” and two months passed. It got to the point where I was like, “Please just tell me I haven’t got it already.” And luckily they gave it to me. And then you have to go do the job after all that. But it’s a good thing, and many people would cut off their arm to be in the same position.

"Stoker"
Fox Searchlight "Stoker"

Actors are prone to saying they can’t judge a character to truthfully portray them. Did you find yourself doing that with Charlie?

Yes, I’m not a method actor, I think that would be rather exhausting on this sort of a project. But I don’t judge the character; I think that’s safe to say. You’re conning yourself between action and take. I don’t think about it too much, I just do what you have to do. You know there’s a camera in your face, and there are times when you can just get completely lost in it and the take is over. Then sometimes it’s very choreographed and you have to get your head in there to match with someone’s eye line, and I love that. I love the technique.



But ultimately you’re there to do a job. It’s a director’s medium -- I’m there to please one person and I don’t go AWOL. Sometimes you don’t see what someone wants you to do and in your mind you think, “I don't know if that’s right,” but you still have to commit to it. It’s their vision. So with a darker character like this, it’s quite fun. It’s something that’s very different to who I am. I’m not a sociopath and I don’t go around strangling people. It’s just like kids playing. That’s really what our job is. We haven’t grown up.

It kind of harks to the twist in the film.

Well, that’s true. That was also what we wanted to try to implement with Charlie. We didn’t want to answer every single question about him. I think with all of the characters there’s a certain interpretation. Some people think it’s "vampiric" in ways, which it is. I don’t eat, really, and I wear sunglasses. There are all sorts of little things that are sort of interesting.

But as much as it's a coming of age story for Mia’s character, I always felt that Charlie was stuck in the past. There’s a sort of childlike quality to him. Not an innocence, but the loneliness. They’re all very lonely characters. It’s an isolated location, a Gothic horror kind of thing. Although it’s set in the South, it’s not set anywhere. It’s not given a discernible time period, but we know its sort of ‘90s, ‘80s, somewhere around there. And the way that I dress sort of reflects that. Seems sort of washed and from the past. A sepia quality to the clothes I wear. We wanted him to be masculine, male and adult and then a childlike innocence back and forth so that you don’t necessarily know. It’s oft-kilter watching it and it’s quite disturbing because you don’t know what he’s going to do.

This article is related to: Stoker, Interviews, Park Chan-Wook, Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More