Today I’m bringing you my chat with ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ co-star Jason Clarke. I had the pleasure of speaking in person with him a few weeks back at a luncheon in New York City, and Jason was kind enough to schedule a longer talk over the phone shortly thereafter. He’s a lot of fun to just shoot the breeze with, but he also has plenty to say about the Oscar hopeful film he has out now, as well as what’s coming up next for him.
Jason Clarke: Hi Joey, how are you mate?
Joey Magidson: I’m doing well, how about you?
Jason: Good, where are you?
Joey: I’m actually back in New York…
Joey: Indeed, since I saw you last at that lunch…
Jason: Oh fuck, now I know who you are! Yea yea, good good good. How’s your dog?
Joey: He’s doing much better. We were at the emergency room actually right after that, but he’s fine now. He’s apparently much younger than we thought too, so it’s really like having a newborn in the apartment.
Jason: Oh my god.
Joey: It’s rough, but he’s super smart, so that’s good.
Jason: (laughs) You going to give a Mensa test to your dog?
Joey: Well, he’s learning things disturbingly fast…
Jason: Ah, good.
Joey: So, I know I told it to you in person, but congrats on the movie again.
Jason: Thanks mate.
Joey: You guys are having a great run. Pretty much a new award by the day. It looks like the film is going to be the critical darling of the year, which is always nice. Obviously it’s never at the forefront of your mind when you get started…
Jason: Of course it’s not, yea.
Joey: Indeed. I just want to go back a bit though now and ask…how did you first get involved with the project?
Jason: I got involved when they let go of the Tora Bora film and this was going around. I had a meeting with Greg Shapiro, who produced ‘The Hurt Locker’. It was just a general meeting where you say hi, but we talked about books and the region, and we really got on. Kathryn had known me from an audition for a film that didn’t work out and I went and did ‘Chicago Code’. She and I wound up having a good chat, and her and Mark and I workshopped a few scenes, and after about three weeks she offered me the part.
Joey: That’s certainly the way you want it to go.
Jason: Yea, especially after two or three of those and you really star to believe that it’s possible.
Joey: It’s interesting to watch you in this role, which is very different from most things that you’ve played previously, though going down your filmography I noticed that you do have a gun in your hand a lot…
Jason: (laughing) Is that right? I never really noticed that, but I guess so, yea.
Joey: From ‘Public Enemies’ to ‘Lawless’, and even ‘Texas Killing Fields’…
Jason: ‘Chicago Code’ too.
Joey: Yea. It’s interesting to see you here, and especially since most people don’t know that for the first third of the movie, you’re basically the co-lead.
Joey: I sat there and was blown away. Last week I told you how much I had liked you in ‘Trust’…
Jason: Yea! I remember! You know, I need to watch that movie.
Joey: To see you in that movie be only somewhat an effectual agent of justice, and then in this movie to see you play the opposite of that to a degree. The character has both a different set of rules and a similar one, which the movie says beautifully.
Jason: You’re right though man, the movie does say everything.
Joey: That’s a testament to Mark Boal too. Despite the little bit of controversy hinted at with torture, he’s really just about the facts.
Jason: Yea, and that’s the thing about Mark that I love. He has an understanding of psyche and emotion that’s amazing. I was stunned when I first read his script. It’s just pared back and he’s a real serious sculptor. We shot what was on the page and it was incredible.
Joey: Somehow when Mark and Kathryn work together, something clicks and they’ve made a pair of modern classics in my mind.
Jason: I totally agree man, I totally agree.
Joey: People have responded to this movie in an incredible way too.
Jason: I really forces you to respond too!
Joey: Yea. They’ve done much more than capture lightning in a bottle, and it’ll benefit everyone, including you I think. Just wait until people see you next year in ‘The Great Gatsby’ for example…
Joey: Real quick, how was that?
Jason: It was great! I loved Baz and he’s a great director to work with, and hey, it’s just a fucking classic novel. I loved the character, so it was a great opportunity to play Wilson. He’s possibly, possibly the only good man in the story.
Joey: Personally, I’m also curious about ‘White House Down’…
Jason: Wait until you see the fight scenes between Channing and I! They are nasty.
Joey: Getting to see you be a villain…
Jason: Yea man, we just throw it down.
Joey: And then to round it out I had read that you were going to be in a Terrence Malick movie…
Jason: I did two, one that he directed and one that he produced. The second one, I play Abraham Lincoln’s father, it’s about his father and two mothers. Beautiful.
Joey: The other is ‘Knight of Cups’ right?
Jason: Yea, with Christian.
Joey: Fingers crossed that you make it to the final cut!
Jason: (laughs hard) Well, it is what it is, but I had a great time with Terry.
Joey: You look at your career so far, and you’ve worked with a ton of great filmmakers. Oliver Stone, Kathryn Bigelow obviously, and I think David Schwimmer is an incredibly underrated director.
Jason: Yea, he really is.
Joey: Michael Mann…
Jason: John Hillcoat too.
Joey: Indeed. He’s going to get a film one day that he’s absolutely going to stun people with.
Jason: You know it, right?
Joey: He’s got a masterpiece in him.
Jason: I totally agree man.
Joey: Going forward, is there someone you’re dying to work with?
Jason: Hmm…Michael Haneke?
Joey: I can only imagine what he’d put you through!
Jason: I’d say Ken Loach too, and of course the Scorsese’s and the Spielberg’s…maybe Paul Thomas Anderson. It’s an interesting time for filmmakers.
Joey: I agree.
Jason: And I loved working with Roland too, plus I loved his last film ‘Anonymous’.
Joey: He certainly knows what he’s doing…
Jason: I’ll tell you, he knows what he’s doing more than a lot of people.
Joey: It’s easy to make fun of ‘Independence Day’ now, but let tell you, when I was a kid, you ate that movie up.
Jason: Exactly right, you ate is up! That’s a good term for it.
Joey: Even ‘Godzilla’, it was just fine at the time.
Jason: Plus going back to ‘Universal Soldier’…
Joey: I just saw the newest one too!
Jason: They’re still going with that?
Joey: Indeed, and it’s something else, believe me.
Joey: I think in the next few years, you’ll get to work with some legends…
Jason: Steve McQueen too is another one. I just watched ‘Shame’ recently.
Joey: That was my second favorite movie of last year!
Jason: Oh really, what was your favorite?
Joey: It was ‘Drive’.
Jason: Ohhhh, interesting! Interesting…
Joey: I dig Ryan Gosling.
Jason: Yea, and I love ‘Bronson’. Hardy is great there.
(The PR rep then gets on the line to tell us to wrap up)
Joey: Well, it was a pleasure sir.
Jason: Thanks man. Enjoy New York and I’ll see you soon and say hey!
Joey: Definitely. Take care.
–Thoughts? Discuss in the comments!