You said that you break down the characters, but what is some of that process?
I start out looking at the script as a whole and breaking it down in terms of like central themes and central driving force of the script, if you will. And then I just start to get more and more specific. I start to look at my character, like what my character does, why they do the things they do and how they do it, and then ultimately try to form kind of a semblance of that character’s spine, like what drives that character, and then the work becomes more and more and more specific until I have almost a Bible for the movie and then I throw the Bible out the window and then I show up on set and trust that it's there and go to work.
"I look at 'Amazing Spider-Man 2' as a really exciting challenge as an actor."
Do you do that for every role?
I think it shows because some of these roles are small, but I guess “Chronicle” opened up a lot of doors for you, right?
It did. I mean I shot “Lawless” before I shot “Chronicle” and then I shot this a week after "Chronicle, "so all of these three movies I did back to back to back. I was cast in “Kill Your Darlings” before “Chronicle” came out, as well, but obviously "Chronicle" has put me into the public eye much more and I'm very grateful for it for that, but I honestly think it wasn’t until when “In Treatment
” came out, that's kind of when the film world really started to notice me and I started to get a lot more opportunity.
“Kill Your Darlings,” that I just saw at Sundance, was very different for you. It's like you're a different person; that must have been fun.
It was a lot of fun. Yeah, it was a total blast, for sure.
What drew you to that role?
Again, like a complicated dude, I don't know if I can pull this off, this terrifies me. How can I do it? If I can look at a part and say, “I don't know if I can do that,” that’s what I want to do.
Is that the draw?
Definitely. It's the task of tackling something I’m not actually sure I can accomplish. Because ultimately I think that's what will help me grow the most.
You worked with a lot of great filmmakers recently, Derek Cianfrance, John Hillcoat and more. Is that also part of the draw when you're going up for something?
Absolutely. I mean especially with a script like this. It's such an ambitious script, but when you know Derek's the one directing it, you know he can pull it off. “Blue Valentine
” had the kind of viscerally, eerily real performances from Michelle
] and Ryan, that's what I strive for in my work. So the fact that I would have the opportunity to work with someone who could get that out of me was really exciting.
Let me ask you about ‘Spiderman,’ it seems like another neat detour for you. What's in store?
It's a long, complicated story how it happened, but I’m super excited about it. It's going to be really awesome for sure.
Are you willing or ready to step into that world which can transform a person outside of the watching world with such a big movie?
I look at it as a really exciting challenge as an actor. To me, it really is the same thing as any other role. I'm sure it will have a bigger impact on how the public sees me than ever before, but if that's the price that comes for being in an awesome movie like that, it's not such a bad side effect.
And it's also a great cast.
It's amazing people, amazing director, amazing cast. The script is awesome. It's really exciting.
“The Place Beyond The Pines” opens in wide release today, Friday, April 12th. -- Interview by Rodrigo Perez