Interview: John Goodman on 'Argo,' 'Flight,' Eastwood and awards season wagging the dog
Is there a financial benefit? Goodman's not so sure about that, either. "Maybe it gets a little bump," he says, "but not too much. And as for actors, maybe your price may go up and you'll get cast a little more once, but it seems to level off. I mean, it'd be nice and everything, but I don't know that it's that beneficial."
Maybe Weinstein could attest to that, as "The Artist" didn't end up pulling in the revenue anticipated after such a financially successful awards season run with "The King's Speech" a year prior.
"I not only like to work with him, I like to watch him work," Goodman says. "Just really well-prepared, and like a good magician, you can't see the tricks. There are no tricks. It's seamless."
The character he plays in the film is a charismatic, iPod-listening, Atlanta-area drug dealer. It was well-drawn on the page by screenwriter John Gatins, and so for Goodman, "it was just a matter of hitting my marks and having fun," he says. "In the two scenes I was in I had to do some very specific things, and it was just a matter of getting that blocked down and just relaxing with it."
He was only on the set for a couple of days, so it was an easy enough shoot, but not as easy as last year's "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close." Blink and you'll miss Goodman's handful of moments as an apartment building doorman, but the length of the role didn't matter to the actor, even as it started to shrink more and more. He just wanted to be a part of it.
"I was very moved by that script," he says. "They ran out of time and had to squeeze me out more, and they asked me, 'Do you still want to do this movie?' And I said, 'Yeah, you know what, just to be in it.' And it only turned into a day, a couple of little scenes, but I just wanted to do it. I liked the kid a lot and I liked the story a lot. And I'm glad I did it."
The film was a bit of a surprise Best Picture nominee for some, but per his view of awards season, Goodman says he doesn't really put too much stock in that kind of thing. Nevertheless, it was, as he says, a nice roll of the dice to be in those two Best Picture nominees.
Swinging back once more to this year, there was also Robert Lorenz's August release "Trouble with the Curve," with Goodman starring opposite Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams. And like so many who have said "yes" to a Clint Eastwood project, the opportunity to work with the man is what made Goodman sign on.
"It was almost like I didn't have to read the script," he says. "I just wanted to work with Clint Eastwood. He's not only prolific but good, in a good way. He doesn't just grind them out. He makes quality movies, good stories that people like to go see and he knows how to do it. I'm attracted to people like that who can do it with a minimal amount of trouble and a maximum amount of pleasure. He's got a crew around him and surrounds himself, delegates authority well, like Ben [Affleck] does. Ben's confident enough in himself that he can let them do the job, and Clint's the same way."
And so on that note, each of these films represents a certain brand of mid-budget adult drama that is ever-receding from the marketplace.
"Adult drama, yeah, I think you hit something on the head there," he says. "Yeah, grown-up movies, something with a subject that people are interested in. I've never seen anything like 'Flight' before and certainly never seen anything like 'Argo' before. It's nice to hit something different that will attract an adult audience, something that'll get you out of the house and share a movie experience with other people. I was out the other night, standing on the street the night ['Argo'] came out, and people would just come up to me on the sidewalk and say they want to go back. It was a nice feeling."
Both "Flight" and "Trouble with the Curve" were filmed in Georgia, which makes for a nice homecoming this weekend when he'll be honored by the Savannah Film Festival. It seems somehow strange that he's yet to be recognized by the Academy with an Oscar nomination, not that it's likely bothering him all that much. But what matters to him is the luck he's had as of late, because he loves to work, and judging by his schedule, he'll be content for a while yet.
"Down time used to bother me, but I had down time this summer and I kind of liked it a lot," he says. "A couple of years ago, right before I did 'The Artist,' it was dry. And I really got worried. But, you know, I'm getting older now. If it happens it happens and if it doesn't it doesn't.
"Of course, that's really easy to say right now."
"Flight" opens on November 2. "Argo" and "Trouble with the Curve" are currently in theaters.