Q: Has he thought about going back and doing that –  bringing those characters back again in a new movie?  

I mean, he could.  It's just been talked about.  It's been circling, you know.  Rick's always kind of dabbling and working on different things that he likes – he's got many other films he's done.  He just did the third in the series of ‘Before Sunrise.’  He's got something he's doing with his daughter that's tracking her life every eight years.  So, he's like following timelines, you know.

Q: As somebody who's been in the business this long, can you reflect on how shocking it is that somehow Richard Linklater made a third 'Before Sunrise'/'Before Sunset' movie and no one knew it was being shot? Somehow it didn't get out in the media. Did you know about it?

Well I knew just 'cause of him and all the sudden I was talking to him [and] the next day he was gone and I heard he was in Greece.  And he was.  So, he went over there to shoot and evidently he loved it.  He loved shooting over there and he loved the people and then, as Rick and I do -- and neither one of us are working we don't even speak, don't call or nothing.  In fact, if I called Rick on day one of shooting when he was in Greece and left him a message I wouldn't get a call back until he got back to Texas and checked the message. We're both good that way.  We check out and say, ‘Hey, I hadn't talked to you in five months.’  But no I didn't know about it.  I only knew about it from him knowing that that's what he went over to do.  He had a few things kind of percolating and this one hit and was able to be made and so he headed off and did it.

Q: I just think it's amazing that somehow there were no trade reports.  

So nothing came out?

Q: No.  Not until it announced that he was going to sell it, that it was done.

Yeah, there you go.  That's very Rick, yeah.

Q: Yeah, speaking of Rick and you guys together, another movie that I was so happy did so well was ‘Bernie.’


Q: A great movie and a word of mouth hit on the art house circuit. Were you pleased with that success?  Was it nice to know that a movie that some mini major sort of ignored sort of did its own thing?

Yeah.  Absolutely.  Look I got fortunate with almost all the movies I did.  I did five in a row and they were independents and the thing with independent is usually a passion project, it's something you like, something that the big studies have passed on so you're not going to get a huge studio behind it that's going to get it out there.

Q: Yeah.

And at least give it a chance to open.  So you need word of mouth; you need specific interest that people go, ‘You know, I'm going to go down here to the Art House Theater and watch that.’  Man, that's tough to pull that off for something to work.  ‘Bernie’ did.  ‘Bernie’ kept going.  ‘Magic Mike’ we made for $7 million [and] it's up in the $120 millions or whatever.  That had more obvious commercial ways to market it and sell it than say ‘Bernie,’ but the other great thing about ‘Bernie’ is I've had many, many people come up to me, stop me, get in front of me, make sure they're perfectly in front of me and going, ‘Hey, Bernie.  I've seen it four times.  I love that movie.’ And a lot of them are Texans that know those people and stuff, but there's some ‘Bernie’ fans that stop me and don't just throw it off, like, ‘Hey, man, love that movie.’  They look, stop, look me in the eye and go, ‘Bernie.  I love, I love that movie.’ And it's people that like it really like it.

Q: Does that give you a sense of satisfaction that even critics or traditional box office doesn't give?  Is that interaction with fans or people who respect your work or love it that much?

You know, the best compliment is one when they say something like that really translated.

You know [sometimes] what I get from them, and it happened with ‘Dazed,’ another Rick film, people will see characters and they go, ‘I know that person!  I know him.’ This one ['Bernie'] , they went, ‘I knew that story, but I didn't know exactly how this all went down." ‘Yeah, they're just like the people in my home town.’  And that's one of Rick's real talents of capturing people in place, and it translated to other people around the country that may not live there but go, ‘I know someone just like that.  That's exactly how they view the situation.’ You know what I mean?  ‘Exactly how they talk, whatever it is.’ So, I love it.  It's great when people come to me about a character and go, ‘I know that guy.  His name was so and so in my school, you know.’ Or they'll come and they'll go, ‘You know what that character was?  He was this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this,’ And I'll go back and look at my diary and they're saying to me exactly what I wrote down as I define the character before I ever shooting.  So then I go, ‘Oh.’  What you set out to do translated and someone's coming back to you with the same vernacular and defining the character that you wrote down for yourself in private.  And you go, ‘O.K., things were lining out.  What I wanted to do is evidently closer to what I did.  And what I did came across, translated.’

Q: And that has to be the ultimate satisfaction.

It's one of them.  It's one of the ones that there we go.

Q: Speaking of satisfaction, when ‘Magic Mike’ came out, I remember that first weekend and just random people would be Twittering about it.  People on my Twitter feed who weren't even in the industry [saying] ‘Matthew McConaughey, he should win an Oscar for ‘Magic Mike’ and that you were ‘so awesome.’  That's how much they loved the character.  Do you sort of take it with a grain of salt when they talk about you being a legit supporting actor contender?  Does it get you excited or are you're like, ‘Eh, we'll see how it goes’?

Well, I mean, definitely excited.  It's exciting.  This is the first time I've been flown into Los Angeles to do interviews specifically about being a contender as a supporting actor.  That's a new thing and that's something I'm like, ‘Yeah, right on.’  And it was a role that allowed for that sort of real identity in the form of an expression.  It was a wild ride of a guy.  It was on the page [and I] had a lot of help creating this guy and bringing him to life.  I'm glad it resonated and translated because Dallas is a life force of his own, and he's not someone – he's not who I am.  But he was sure fun to get in those leathers with.

“Magic Mike” and “Bernie” are now both currently available on Blu-ray and DVD. “The Dallas Buyers Club” is shooting in Louisiana.
Prev 1 2 3 Next
With over a decade of experience in the movie industry, Ellwood survived working for two major studios and has written for Variety, MSN and the LA Times. A co-founder of HitFix, Ellwood spends his time relaxing hitting 3’s on the basketball court and following his beloved Clippers.