You may know him from HBO’s critically acclaimed “In Treatment,” or as Cricket in “Lawless,” or as the “monster” in “Chronicle.” Or you may not be able to place him yet, but that will soon change. Actor Dane DeHaan is not one to shy from a challenge and continues to impress filmmakers with that aspiration. In his latest role in “The Place Beyond The Pines,” the actor plays **MILD SPOILER** the son of a waitress (Eva Mendes) and motorbiking bank robber (Ryan Gosling), who begins to travel down the similar path of his father, one paved with juvenile delinquency and motorbikes. Dane plays a pivotal role in a film about family and legacy, specifically the inherent impact a father has on his son, even if he’s not around (which inspired our list of 22 Great Father & Son Movies). If you want more of a taste of ‘The Pines,’ check out our TIFF review, and our interviews with Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes, and the movie’s director Derek Cianfrance (part 1 and part 2).
In this Q&A, Dane DeHaan discussed his first reactions to Cianfrance’s script for ‘The Pines,’ choosing roles that terrify him and why that’s a good thing, how well he meshed with Cianfrance, his upcoming role in the rebooted “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” and more.
"If I can look at a role and say, 'How can I do it? This terrifies me,' then that’s what I want to do."
To start off, how did you get involved?
Well, I read the script when I was in Cape Town shooting “Chronicle
” actually. The script was sent to me and it said take a look at the role of AJ (which Emory Cohen
eventually took), but after reading it, the character whose soul really reached out to me was Jason. Even though in the script he's described as a really buff half-Hispanic kid, obviously I'm neither of those things, but there's something about him that really resonated in me. And so I didn't make a tape for AJ, I just made a tape for Jason and I sent it and kind of took that gamble and I guess Derek really responded to the tape. Then I met with him on my layover back to LA after shooting “Chronicle” and then all of a sudden, he wanted to work with me just as much as I wanted to work with him, so that was great.
That's so weird. I couldn't picture you in the other role.
couldn't, it wasn't the one that I responded to either.
Except for “Kill Your Darlings,” the roles that I've seen you in so far you seem to gravitate towards those introspective characters who’s got an internal life going on.
Maybe, Cricket is certainly unlike that as well, from “Lawless
.” I do play a lot of very complicated individuals, but they're different kinds of complicated.
How was it working with this cast?
It was really amazing. Derek creates such an amazing, viscerally real environment, where he really gives us permission to dig deep and bare our souls and entrust in one another, so it becomes an extremely rewarding and collaborative process with everybody, you know? Like truly across the board, it was an amazing process.
Did you do anything specifically to prepare?
Of course, I always do a whole lot to prepare for roles. Aside from the things I always do, like for this one, I build my bike. That BMX bike in the movie I built myself and learned tricks on it, because I wanted the bike to almost be Jason's best friend, for him to have a really real relationship with the bike and I thought the only way I could really have that come across on-screen if it was like a baby that I made almost. And just stuff like that, we hung out as a family a lot in our house and went through walks in the park or went bowling and one time Eva made me watch her get a pedicure and just put me through things that like a mother probably put her son through. Just sitting and waiting… Aside from breaking stuff down and normal character work that I always do, I always try to find some actual thing I can actually do that will help deepen my performance.