Be­hind The Scenes

On the eve of the re­lease of his lat­est film, the Aussie ac­tor dishes on his schem­ing char­ac­ter

Woman’s Day (Australia) - - Contents -

Play­ing charis­matic and ma­nip­u­la­tive cult leader Billy Lee in thriller Bad

Times At The El Royale is like noth­ing he’s ever ex­pe­ri­enced. Chris tells Woman’s Day about the chal­lenges, the dark side of hu­man na­ture and why he loved work­ing with Jeff Bridges.

What ini­tially in­ter­ested you in do­ing this film?

My agent said he’d read a script that was one of the best he’d ever read, a Drew God­dard film. I’d worked with Drew be­fore and I’m a huge fan of his work. I read it and loved it.

It sounds as though it was a par­tic­u­larly chal­leng­ing role

It was chal­leng­ing. I spoke more in this film than I’ve ever spo­ken in any film be­fore! I had a scene that was about 14 pages long where I had to drive ev­ery­thing and I spoke for 90 per cent of the time. I tried to stay “in it” as much as I could. I drank a ton of cof­fee. I wasn’t eat­ing a whole lot, so I didn’t have that usual post-meal slump. I was very jit­tery and wired, which was what I wanted the char­ac­ter to be.

Billy finds peo­ple’s bad side – do we all have a dark side?

I do think so and part of the tal­ent of this char­ac­ter was that he would lo­cate that dark side [laughs] in other peo­ple; he would prey upon it – whether it’s your dark­est se­cret or your big­gest vul­ner­a­bil­ity or your fears. I think we all have many sides and un­cer­tain­ties that we dis­cover at dif­fer­ent mo­ments in our lives that we didn’t know we had. We can all be pushed in the wrong di­rec­tion or the right di­rec­tion and in­flu­enced in right or wrong ways.

What was it like work­ing with Jeff Bridges?

Well, you know, he’s Jeff Bridges and it was very in­tim­i­dat­ing to walk onto a set with some­one who’s that tal­ented, who is such a great ac­tor. You’re in­stantly ab­sorbed into the scene be­cause of what he’s do­ing and how present he is. It was a pretty spe­cial ex­pe­ri­ence.

How do you choose roles and find balance?

That’s the big­gest chal­lenge. I told Drew this was the best script I’d read in prob­a­bly 10 years. I also told him time with my fam­ily is very im­por­tant. He said, “I have a fam­ily,” and the pro­ducer said the same thing. They said, “We un­der­stand that, so let’s make it work,” and I’m so thank­ful for that.

IN CIN­E­MAS Thurs­day

Chris plays cult leader Billy Lee.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.