An epic interview with Noah Emmerich on 'The Americans,' 'Jane's Got A Gun' and more
CANNES - This is not Noah Emmerich's first trip to the Croisette. The character actor who has appeared in films such as "Little Children," "Super 8" and who now stars as FBI agent Stan Beeman in FX's hit series "The Americans" journeyed to Cannes for the premiere of Doug Liman's "Fair Game" three years ago. Now, he's back to support the ensemble of "Blood Ties" where he plays a NYPD police captain caught in the middle of two feuding brothers (Clive Owen, Billy Crudup) in Guillaume Canet's English-language remake of the 2008 French film "Rivals." It's a nice break for Emmerich whose in the middle of shooting the troubled and controversial Western "Jane's Got A Gun."
In a wide ranging conversation, Emmerich discussed working on "Blood Ties," spoke indepth about the production process on "The Americans" (a must for any fan of the show) and gave his opinion on "Jane's Got A Gun" (he's having a great time).
Q: What was it like compared to Fair Game because here you’re coming with…
Guillaume and Marion [Cotillard, his partner]. It felt like a royal wedding or something. I mean, Cannes already feels like a royal thing to me somehow compared to like an American – have you been to the Palais for a premiere? It’s incredible. We walked – I mean, it’s a pageant. It’s a total pageant. It’s sort of old Hollywood glamor that doesn’t exist in Hollywood like it does here.
Q: Except at the Oscars or something.
Yeah, yeah. But, I swear, I mean the journalists, the paparazzi are wearing tuxedos. You know, that doesn’t happen [in the states].
Q: Well, you know the rules, right? They’ll only let you in…
Yes, I’ve heard them. Because, you know, when I came here with 'Fair Game I didn’t have a bow tie with me. I didn’t have a tuxedo with me. I was sort of last minute hopped on. I wasn’t really officially invited. Doug Liman who was the director invited me and said, “You’ve got to come to Cannes.” I said, “Well, I wasn’t invited.” He said, “So what? You can crash in my room.” I crashed in his hotel room. I didn’t even have my own room. So I was, and I really was like, “I’m not gonna get into this thing.” You know what I did? I just put my arm in Naomi [Watts']. I figured if – they’re not gonna kick me off Naomi’s arm...
Q: No, they would not.
And that’s what happened.
Q: I was talking to someone the other day and he was wearing brown shoes and they pointed it out. I mean, they were shoes. They let him go in but they were like, 'Next time, no.' And the best thing is you can only wear sneakers or something like sneakers if you’re the director of the movie
Q: Yeah, that’s it.
That’s incredible. It’s very French.
Q: It’s very French. It’s not…
You know what? I have to say my first time here I was just like, “This is fucking ridiculous. And what is this French shit.”
Q: Now it’s fun.
You know, this time I thought I understand it more because if you’re not adamant, everything devolves into casual. In the modern world there’s no such thing as formality. A dinner jacket used to mean a tuxedo, you know? I mean there’s all this formality. And there’s something quite elegant and beautiful about it. It’s really simple. Wear a tuxedo. You know what I mean? And I get it. I mean, I can’t believe I’m actually saying this but, you know, it’s like, 'Oh no, I’m wearing jeans with a tuxedo jacket.' Like, 'No. A tuxedo.' That’s the dress code for this event. Like it’s really simple. If you want to like try and push and finagle and like say well, I’m wearing a tux but I have converse on. It’s kind of a cool look. No. A tuxedo. Like it’s just really simple. And if you start to make exceptions, everybody would all of a sudden they it would no longer be like that.
Q: You know what? I’ve worked in the industry a long time and like I’ve been to like ten Sundances and Torontos.
Q: And you’ve been to Sundance before, right?
Q: O.K., it’s like there’s this casualness. Like it’s about the movie. It’s not about the…
Right. That’s the American [thing] and I love that. By the way I love that, too. But that’s not Cannes.
Q: No, it is not.
Cannes is about the tux.
Q: It is.
And you have to have a billion dollars to get here and to have the yacht and, you know…
Q: So here’s my question. Compared to your night of extravagance for 'Fair Game' what was it like for 'Blood Ties' last night? More low key?
No, it was higher key. It was like being with the prince and princess of France because Guillaume and Marion are sort of that. It was like being with a French movie. The film’s an English language film but it’s virtually a French film. So, to be in Cannes with what is essentially a French film was different.