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Clive Owen Interview on ‘Nearer,’ Karlovy Fluctuate Award: KVIFF 2024

Clive Owen has by no means been fascinated by being snug.

From Spike Lee’s Inside Man and Alfonso Cuarón’s Kids of Males to Robert Altman’s Gosford Park and Steven Soderbergh’s The Knick, the actor has labored with a variety of filmmakers throughout an expanse of initiatives over each movie, tv and the stage.

“I like to decide on issues that scare me a bit bit, one thing that I haven’t completed earlier than. Whenever you take a look at every little thing I’ve completed, it’s a really blended bag,” says Owen.

When it got here to the Mike Nichols movie Nearer, it was one of many few situations the place Owen was keen to retread some identified territory. He had starred within the first staging of the Patrick Marber play concerning the intertwining lives of two {couples} on the Royal Theater Firm and, lower than a decade later, he bought phrase that Nichols want to forged him in a movie adaptation, however in a completely totally different function. The movie, which starred Julia Roberts, Jude Legislation, and Natalie Portman, earned Owen an Oscar nomination.

Owen and his various profession can be feted on the 58th version of the Karlovy Fluctuate Worldwide Movie Pageant within the Czech Republic, the place Nearer will display. Forward of the fest, Owen talked the The Hollywood Reporter concerning the movie, his on-set routines and what’s subsequent for him.

I used to be studying in our Drama Actors Roundtable that you simply eat the identical factor on set and sleep each lunchtime. How lengthy did it take you to develop your routine?

I discovered some huge classes fairly early on. I bear in mind the very, very first movie I did approach again within the day, the primary ever present. And it was a movie referred to as Vroom that Beeban Kidron directed. I used to be very excited and I used to be speaking rather a lot and he or she got here as much as me after a few weeks and he or she mentioned, “You’ll want to save your power, we nonetheless bought a approach to go.” That basically stayed with me, the concept in filmmaking, particularly should you’re doing an extended job, you actually need to tempo your self. It’s about self-discipline, and it comes right down to a conserving of power and understanding what’s wanted and when it’s wanted.

You may have labored with so many unbelievable administrators. How do you determine a filmmaker you need to work with?

You need to ensure you are on the identical web page. Almost all the time you get despatched the script first, and I need to ensure that the director has an identical thought to what I’ve once I learn it. I would like us to be on the identical web page. However I hear quite a lot of actors speaking about actors’ administrators — they discuss rather a lot to actors and take care of actors — and I really feel that filmmaking is usually a really sensible factor and the best administrators, those who actually know what they’re doing, they’ll create an atmosphere the place the actor can do his factor. I like to look at the character, and a few of the best administrators I’ve ever labored with don’t get entangled within the course of. Means again within the day I did this movie Gosford Park with Robert Altman and it had an unbelievable forged. He pulled all of the forged collectively and the very first thing he mentioned was, “I don’t need you to return to me to speak about your character. You all know why you’re right here.” I’m a fantastic believer in a director who actually is aware of what they’re doing and creates a very nice construction and framework for an actor to have the ability to do their factor.

Relating to Nearer, which is screening on the Karlovy Fluctuate fest, I learn that when the play was being staged you had been fascinated by taking part in Larry however you had been too younger and so had been forged as Dan.

There are a handful of scripts that we learn the place it’s actually, actually robust the way in which it impacts you and resonates with you. Once I’m sort of reminded of why I do what I do. Nearer, the play, I bear in mind the place I used to be, the place I used to be sitting, and what I used to be doing once I learn that piece of writing. I went up and so they had been doing a workshop, they weren’t even placing on the play, The Nationwide Theater simply had a take a look at the play. [Playwright] Patrick [Marber] mentioned, “I believe you’re too younger.” So I left. Some time later my agent got here to speak to me about one other play, I believe it was a David Hare play, and I mentioned, “That play Nearer was the very best play I’ve learn in a really very long time.” He mentioned, “Properly, Ciarán Hinds is taking part in Larry. The opposite half is free. Do you need to play that half?” And I believe they’re all nice components. So I performed Dan within the unique play and 7 years later I bought a name saying Mike Nichols needs to satisfy you for lunch and he provided me Larry at this luncheon. It was like a present from someplace.

Did Mike Nicholas know you needed to play Larry initially?

No, as a result of I solely talked about that years later. Marber knew as a result of he directed the unique workshop, so he knew the way to play Larry and possibly there was a dialog with Mike Nichols, who noticed the unique manufacturing. However I don’t know.

What conversations did you’ve with Mike Nichols over that lunch that made you notice you had been each on the identical web page about Nearer?

With Mike Nichols, it’s about maintaining with him. [Laughs.] He has such an excellent thoughts. He is among the most clever human beings — by no means thoughts administrators — I’ve ever bought to know. We did a rehearsal interval for that movie, which was just a few months earlier than we began capturing. It was simply a few weeks in New York the place we sat round. We might learn a scene within the play after which simply focus on the problems that it introduced up. We wouldn’t focus on the scene itself. We wouldn’t work the scene. After which he left us simply to soak that up for just a few months. He was one other one which didn’t overly speak about all of it. He warned us that he could be doing very lengthy takes, and the topic was to ensure you’re ready and prepared. They usually had been actually lengthy takes, typically it was the entire scene. He was one of many highlights of my profession.

Was there anyone piece of route from Nichols that sticks with you twenty years after making the film?

There’s a scene with Julia [Roberts] that will have ended the primary half of the play the place we have now that ferocious argument. [Roberts’ Anna admits to Owen’s Larry she had an affair with the younger Dan.] It’s very troublesome to movie. The language is so graphic and brutal. It’s a brutal scene. We had been studying it and it was feeling uncomfortable in some methods, after which Mike determined to maneuver across the condo. Julia goes to maneuver and I observe her, and we go upstairs and we return down. Mike was a fantastic believer in scenes occurring whereas issues are occurring. Not simply standing there reverse the opposite actor and saying strains. You’re concerned in doing one thing after which the scene begins to play and breathe by that. That motion within the scene fully launched, it freed it up. It jogs my memory of a remark that Altman made once I was doing one of many scenes in Gosford Park. He stopped and went, “Oh my God, no, this the nightmare. Two actors dealing with one another doing dialogue.”

How was it to play reverse a personality that you simply as soon as performed?

I used to be so conversant in the language as anyone who was within the unique manufacturing. We examined it out in entrance of an viewers and realized what actually resonated and what didn’t, the rhythms, the humor of it. If I’m studying a script, I’ve to know the half that I’m being thought-about for. I can’t learn till I do know it, as a result of I’m trying on the entire world by that particular person’s perspective. So to out of the blue spin it, and take a look at it from a unique place, it’s unbelievably acquainted and but completely new. It felt like such a present. It was such an uncommon expertise.

Did you and Jude Legislation ever speak about Dan because you as soon as performed him, or did you need to hold a barrier between the play and the film?

The [latter]. I can consider nothing worse than me going, “Properly, after we did the unique…” [Laughs]

Trying ahead, are there any filmmakers or genres that you simply haven’t labored with and in that you simply want to?

I’d like to work with Paul Thomas Anderson and I’d like to work with Jacques Audiard. They’re the primary two that I consider. And I suppose I’ve all the time needed to discover a comedy that can swimsuit me. I’ve completed issues with humor and I’ve been provided [comedies] through the years however I’ve by no means discovered them significantly humorous. I’m not a fantastic fan of broad comedies. It will be one thing I’d be eager to do, actually good comedy.

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