Press Archive 2009

 

Interview with Matthew Goode and Nic Hoult – Wonderland November/December 2009

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Based on the 1964 novel by Christopher Isherwood, A Single Man marks the screenwriting and directing debut of fashion icon, Tom Ford.  Having debuted earlier this year at the Venice Film Festival to a standing ovation, the film has continued to impress audiences during screening at the Toronto and London Film Festivals.

Joining lead actor, Colin Firth, on screen are fellow Brits Matthew Goode and Nicholas Hoult who discuss the film, Tom Ford and being British in LA.

ON A SINGLE MAN

Nicholas Hoult: The only time I saw Matthew was when we were getting our spray tans.

Matthew Goode: Which were more regular than we were expecting.  I got on a plane with Colin [Firth] and then literally the moment we arrived, got in the car together, went to the hotel and suddenly – it’s like ten thirty at night – we have to go to Colin’s room where we’re having our spray tans .  Colin Firth is in his pants, I’m in my pants and it stays that way for an hour whilst we wait for this stuff to set.  He’s fucking great.  I love Colin.

We [Nic’ and he] never had a scene together but we were there the whole time.  I was only really fitting in around these guys.  Nic had a damn sight more to do than I did.

NH: No I just did more.

MG: [Laughs] It was a really fun shoot. I mean, maybe I’m looking back with rose tinted spectacles, but …

NH: It was a good fun shoot. Everyone enjoyed it.  I remember the night in Venice after seeing it in front of all those people and just lying in bed thinking ‘that’s something I’m proud of’.

MG: It’s seriously impressive. You watch it and you care and, it doesn’t happen to me a lot, but I watched it and thought ‘I’m in something that doesn’t stink!’.  I’m proud of that.

NH:  That’s a nice feeling when you’ve done something and you can say ‘yeah, proud of that’.

MG:  Fucking hell – sorry to interrupt – but I was reading a magazine or a paper or something the other day and it said “A Single Man obviously being screened and whenever Nic Hoult was on screen there were gasps over his beauty” [laughs]. And I was thinking, fucking Hoult is going to LA and get so laid! [Laughs]. He is going to be turning bush away left right and centre!

NH:  It’s all down to the fake tan again.  That’s where the performance stems for me.

MG:  That is a review!

NH:  Nothing about the acting, right?

MG:  They didn’t review the film.  It just said “I saw it.  I’m going to be reviewing it at some point, but let me tell you there were gasps over Nick Hoult’s beauty!”

ON TOM FORD

MG:  Tom is immediately interesting. If it’s all about someone’s cannon of work then most of the time you wouldn’t work with a first ime director, but if the script is good and you have a chat with them and they know which end is up and which is down, then great.

NH: I didn’t know who Tom was when I met him.

MG: Nick “fashion forward” Hoult!

NH:  I’d gone over to LA got off a plane and had dinner with him.  And I asked him how he’d got into directing and why he was doing this!

MG:  I love that.  Isn’t that great?  And that’s also like Tom.  He’s not the sort of person who is like, ‘well fuck you!’.

NH: He explained very humbly what he had done and I thought OK.  And then I looked him up after dinner and was ‘oh jesus!  He’s actually accomplished quite a lot’ so probably quite a stupid question, but he was very honest and modest and made a great director.

MG: It’s so good.  And so good for Colin.  And Julianne [Moore] is bloody great in it as well.  But the real star of it, it has to be said, is Tom. It silences immediately the people who were going ‘you self indulgent cunt.’  It’s like two massive fingers up to them as it is very, very accomplished.

NH:  It’s very personal to him as well.

MG:  Hugely personal as the main story sort of mirror images the relationship between him and Richard.  There’s a similar age gap.

NH:  He would always say my character is him when he was 18.  He’s connected to every character and he knows them.

MG:  And he wrote the screenplay and it’s starkly different from the book.

NH:  Matthew’s read the book, so –

MG:  That’s right!  I have. It is different.  I am always about the script, really.  But one of the really nice things about being involved is that it is a love poem to Tom’s partner, Richard.

NH:  Tom is very good in the sense that he is an actor’s director and knows what he wants you to do but is very giving to let you go off and explore things and try stuff out.  And you don’t feel too much pressure of failure.

MG:  That’s very true.

NH: ‘Cause the second you’re on set – especially when there’s only 20 days to shoot – to not feel the pressure, that’s a good atmosphere he created.  Something his assistant was saying the other day was that he’s very good at holding his hands up and would admit when he wasn’t sure what he was doing and kept everyone on side and made it a really great team effort.

MG:   I love it when someone’s like that.  It’s so far away from self indulgent as well when someone’s shooting into the 19th hour of the day and the ship isn’t sinking, but there’s a leak and it’s far better to say we do have a leak and I’m trying to sort it out rather than leaning on one side and saying everything is fine.  He is fucking great.

ON COLIN FIRTH

MG:  Colin was great.  I knew he was going to be good.  The moment I read the script, I was like, ‘this is something you haven’t done in a long time’ – just something he could really get his teeth into.   He’s such a subtle actor and it’s been a long time since I can remember him having something that central and serious.

NH:  It was a great moment when we went to the Venice Film Festival and got the message Colin was winning the best actor award.

MG:  I know.  The previous evening we had sat there and we knew it had gone down well because there was a NINE minute standing ovation.  And particularly when you’re not in the film as much as I am, then I feel like a fucking charlatan.  I stood there and am looking down and smiling and embarrassed.  Colin’s quite emotional and I tell you what – four minutes of a standing ovation gets a bit uncomfortable, but NINE?  ‘OK, Colin… fucking move. Let’s go. Let’s leave.’ And he couldn’t tell us that he had won and so he was being shy about it.

NH:  Yeah, he kept it very quiet.

MG:  The moment we found out and we were on the boat we were like ‘What the fuck?  You’ve won and you didn’t tell us!?  And he was like ‘ I know, I didn’t wanna.’  He was humble.

NH:  It was great.  It was a bit of an odd first day like you had in the sense that I had to strip off in front of Colin on my first day.  It sounds a bit seedy when I say ‘strip off in front of him’.

MG:  It does!

NH:  It’s part of the film, I swear!  And it’s handled a lot more tastefully that that might seem, but yeah it was a bit of an odd first day.

MG:  Everyone is going to say ‘oh it’s a gay movie’ which we then counteract with ‘no it’s not, it’s a film about love.’  But there is nudity and a bit of man kissing.  Frankly Colin kisses like a nymphomaniac on death row, but it was a real pleasure!

NH:  He’s got a lot of love!

ON JULIANNE MOORE

MG:  She’s a fucking hero.  She’s lovely. I didn’t have any scenes with her. I mean I’m only in flashback, so all my stuff was with Colin.

NH:  All my stuff is with Colin as well.   The first time I met Julianne was in Venice.

MG:  Yeah, she was probably in the middle of juggling six projects or something, you know, she never stops working.  She came in and shot two scenes, which were about 20 odd minutes of the film, and they did that in two evenings so she was in and out.  I never got a chance to meet her until I was at some party in LA and she is just fantastic.  And she’s married to a guy called Bart Freadlich who is a director in his own right.

NH:  He’s a hero.

MG:  He is actually fabulous!  My girlfriend spent the whole evening calling him Bert instead of Bart and he was like ‘you know, actually I prefer Bert!  Don’t worry about it’.  He’s lovely. They could throw their weight around, but they are actually family people and live in New York – they’re kind of anti Hollywood.

ON THE LIFE OF AN ACTOR

MG: There are a lot of Brits and Aussies at the moment who are working.  I don’t know what that means.  But we never think of ourselves.  When you get off the plane and you’re in America they ask ‘what’s the best thing about being a movie star?’ I am a jobbing actor, they have no idea! They make it sound like I get 500 scripts and am sitting there going through them all. If something comes up and they are stupid enough to give it to us or you love the script and audition but someone of a huge stature can come in and take it like Brad Pitt. Or Judi [Dench] – we’ve been up against each other a couple of times.

NH: I’ve never lost out to Judi yet.

MG: Only in a drinking contest! The vicious alcoholic that she is!

NH: Sam Worthington was telling me when he was in LA someone asked him why there were so many Aussies over there doing so well and his response was that it’s an awful long way to go to fail and not give it your best shot, basically.

MG: Oh. I was expecting some sort of knob gag in there, but yeah.

NH: It’s very true. I just got back from LA and every TV series has an English guy in the lead. Joseph Fiennes, Matthew Reece [RHYS]

MG: We’re good. We’re quite good…

N H: I can’t say it’s the training, because I don’t have any.

MG: You’re doing well! You make people gasp! You complete cunt. I hate that!

NH: You’re coming across very eloquent.

MG: That’s very nice of you.  OK, who used to live with Ewan McGregor and Jude Law and he has a TV show? You’re right about that. Though it makes it sound like ‘Oh you’re English.  Have a TV show’.  I’m sure they all have about ten auditions.

NH: I had an interesting day recently when I was at a BBQ and Jimmy Page and Roger Daltrey were there.

MG: Wow!

NH: I sat there and was very quiet because I thought if I speak to them I’ll make a fool of myself so it’s best to keep out of the way and then they can’t have any bad thoughts although they probably didn’t know I was there.  But I knew they were there so it was a good BBQ for me.

MG: I’d love to learn guitar. It’s one of those things I’d love to do. Though it’s not like I don’t have the time…

NH: [Laughs]

MG: I’d like to know all the chords.

NH: It’s difficult to get the fingering right… That’s what she said.

MG: And back to Dame Judi!

NH: [Laughs]

MG: It depends if you have a high action or a low action in terms of the strings.  It hurts. You’ve got to build up the calluses. If you get a low action one that would be easier.

NH:  Are we still talking about women?

MG:  Yes! [Laughs] I remember Billy Crudup got the part in Almost Famous and he had lessons with Peter Frampton but had to have lessons on the side because Peter was like ‘you are fucking terrible’. But that’s one of the nice accidents of the job is you can get training in things. And random travel.

NH: I got to do archery.

MG: You did! That was The Weatherman!

NH: No, for Clash of the Titans. I didn’t use it once.

MG: Oh yes, it was the daughter in The Weatherman.

NH: Yeah man, keep up.

MG: Sorry mate. That’s how pretty you are. I confused you with the female lead.

NH: He’s seen all my work.

MG: I have! I’ve got to learn how to do it. You are a master.  I did a Spanish film and it was all in Spanish [!] – I learnt it phonetically. Jesus, that’s my only skill.  The major skill I picked up is I can pay my rent. The older you get the more you realize there are a lot of people who hate their jobs.  I’m so glad I’m not – ha!  Famous last words! – it does seem to be going OK for now.  But bringing it back to what do you like about acting – to be honest, everything.

ON BRITISH TALENT

MG:  I think there is an element that we’re just so happy to work.  Certainly as for getting into film it was such an accident because I hadn’t worked in front of a camera.  For a while it was like what is the secret code to working on screen?  I have no idea what it is… but even ten films in I’m still sitting here renting and not owning a house.  I think that keeps you grounded.  As opposed to some American actors who are on a hundred thousand dollars doing some TV.

NH:  You don’t get comfortable so you feel you’ve got to keep on striving.

MG: I think we’re overrated. [Laughs].  There is an element over there if you walk into a room of Americans that they’re suddenly like ‘oh fuck they’re British and we’re steeped in tradition.

NH:  It’s odd that Tom got so many English actors for the film – we’re both playing American.

MG:  And Julianne is playing English.

NH:  it’s good he trusts in us to pull of the American accents.

MG:  Yeah, I mean – idiot!  In fairness you’ve done it before and I have done it a couple of times.  But it is odd.   If you think who he probably could have had –

NH:  He probably could have done better than us!

MG:  I’m sure he could have convinced someone with a much higher stature.  I think it was just we were willing to work for free, effectively.  And that’s also what makes Britain great.  We want to work and we want to please the director and often at times, yes we might have strong thoughts on character and script, but we turn up and are like, this is your vision and you are the director and we know where we fit in. Certainly the Brits, I find, we want to be told what to do or how it’s going to work rather than, ‘I’m the fucking star!’ I tend to find we leave our ego at the door. We tend not to pussyfoot around. We all like a drink. We’re steeped in that tradition as well. There’s a certain forbidden thing in America if you drink you’re an alcoholic. No I’m not, and I generally wait until at least half past one.

NH: On weekends. Weekdays, 11.

MG: There is a reason pubs are opened at 11 and it’s because you are allowed to start drinking at that time. Otherwise, they wouldn’t do it! Christ, can you remember back to when – you might not remember, actually. I gasp at your beauty as I try to remember!

NH:[laughs] I’m never going to live this down!

MG:Do you remember when pubs shut on Sundays at, like, 1 for two or three hours? Maybe I’m showing my age now. That is fucking madness. There would be a riot now.

NH:  So basically, we haven’t found a conclusion to what makes Britain great…  You’re a big X Factor fan though, aren’t you?

MG:  My girlfriend loves it.  She’s got me into it.  I mean it’s fucking hilarious.  You literally sit there and you don’t know any of these people but the music comes up and they get selected and you can be in tears and so happy that these people have been selected for the live shows.  I really like the over 25’s this year.  They’re fucking great.

NH:  Matthew Goode on The X Factor!

MG:  ‘He’s very much into the over 25s and what is funny is they are all male’.  But it is great.  But then it’s such a machine.  There is such a turn around.  Sometimes the winner gets completely forgotten and they have no career and then, obviously, sometimes they go shooting up.  But it is great telly!  Saturday night, a couple of beers and The X Factor.

 

Scan – Natalie Fairchild ohnotheydidnt /Transcript – Britgirl.

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Arena – April 2009

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