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Q: Well, what about your other films here at the festival: "Horns" and "The F Word?" If you hadn't made "Kill Your Darlings" would you not have gotten them? Or had you already shot those and worked on those before?
You know what, no. "Horns" I had to really sort of fight for I think a little bit because there were -- I think at the time that they were casting it, possibly [director Alexandre Aja] had originally thought of somebody slightly older for Ig. And somebody more closer to probably Alex's age. He's only 30 or 31. But the late '20s, I think, was how they were thinking originally. So, I think I had to convince Alex a little bit that I had the maturity and that I could play that as well. But also I went into that meeting and I happened to have a little bit of an obsession with the way the devil is portrayed in the popular culture. And "The Master and Margarita" is one of my favorite books and I spent a lot of time reading, or having bits of "Paradise Lost" explained to me at school. The Devil's kind of a great character. Traditionally he's a much more interesting character than anybody else in the Bible. You know, Milton wrote "Paradise Lost" and he made [such a different] Devil. That's sort of where the idea of this kind of very charismatic Devil sort of initiated from. But then he had to write "Paradise Regained" 'cause he was so upset by himself at how appealing he had made the Devil. And, you know, and so in that sense I was able to go in and talk a lot about the script and about themes and about things like that that I was really into.
And with "The F Word," I think I've got it in the back of my head somewhere that it might have come about because of [my hosting] "Saturday Night Live." I'm not sure but I have a feeling that that's where maybe like Michael Dowse might have seen me do that and thought, "Oh, he can do some comedy. I wonder if he'd be more interested to explore that as well?" It's interesting 'cause literally every job I've got for the past few years has been as a result of somebody seeing me do like "Equus" or one of the things that, you know…
Q: That you wouldn't expect.
…that you wouldn't expect. And, in retrospect, "Equus" was a brilliant decision. Not just for me to make at the time so that I got better as an actor, which I did because I learned so much from it, but actually just as a statement of intent about what I want my career to be. I think it made everyone sit up and take note and go, "Oh, you know, he might do this. He might do 'Kill Your Darlings.'" Because there's some people that would've probably said, "Oh, this guy's coming off a big franchise. He'll never want to do this." But I think doing stuff like "Equus" showed people that I was actually serious about it and that I was more about script than I was about money or anything else like that.
Q: It's been nine months since "Kill Your Darlings" premiered at Sundance. And the festival is always full of casting directors, producers and directors. Did the movie's response in Park City provide you with offers you hadn't gotten before?
I'm definitely being talked about in a different way, I think, now, and that's really exciting for me. But yeah, there have been offers of lots of different stuff since Sundance, lots of sort of very intense stuff. A couple of other gay characters. [Laughs.] But, you know, yeah, it's been great. I think once these films start coming out that's the next step. But since finishing "Potter" I've been thrilled with the great variety of scripts that I've been getting and the fact that they're all totally different and I'm very pleased by that because I think it means that people are sort of getting the message that I want to do diverse things.
Q: I actually spoke to John at Sundance and we had this long, like, 30-minute conversation about "Darlings." And, you're right, his energy is just like, boom! He was talking about the fact that he had shot this in 27 days or so, sort of guerrilla style, which is very hard for a period piece. In theory, I'm still confused on how that actually happened.
So are we.
Q: I don't think you'd made a movie like this beforehand. Even though you trusted John and the movie had a great cast, were there moments where you were like, "Is this gonna actually happen? Did you ever doubt, like, "Is this gonna come together?"
Not about the film as a whole, more about certain scenes. There's one scene in the film that I won't say the scene because if you're looking for it you can see it. But if you don't look for it you won't see it. But there's one scene in the film, which we started shooting at 10:00 PM at night in pitch black and finished shooting at 6:00 AM in the morning in broad daylight. And we definitely walked away from that day going, "How the fuck will that scene ever work?" And it does.
Q: They just cut it around it?
They cut around it, they graded it, they did all kinds of stuff. They were very clever and our DP is a fucking genius. Frankly Reed Morano deserves a shout-out for that scene alone. I'm not gonna tell 'em which one it is Reed, don't worry. I'm saying that to Reed 'cause if she's reading this she'll be, "Don't fucking tell 'em which one it is, Dan!" It's more like where if John comes in saying, "OK, we need a close shot, we need the close shot, we need the close shot." And somebody says, "We can't. We have to move on." Then as an actor you leave set going, "How are we gonna cut it together? We didn't get the close shot," you know? "We can't use all that one take." So there's stuff like that, but ultimately those things can always be fixed; if you have a clever enough director and a clever enough editor and a clever enough DP, you can always fix that stuff.