James McAvoy Interview: Cinema Teaser N°61 - Février 2017 (Google translate)
Thought this one was interesting so I google translate it. The rollerblades part was nice :)
Have you built your performance by starting with the various personalities of Kevin or have you left Kevin?
I left Kevin. We must start at the source. Like you and me, he was born because his parents made love. On the other hand, his other personalities were born to accomplish a certain task. One of the celebrities speaks about this process: Dennis explains that Kevin was beaten by his mother when he did not put away his room and that he appeared to make sure everything was still in his place. I had to understand the role of each personality.
Was the physical also a starting point?
Yes. As soon as I read a script, I have ideas, I try things. Reading SPLIT, as soon as Patricia appeared, I lengthened my neck, took off my shoulders, I knew right away that I wanted to make a kind of English nun with repressed emotions, a naughty nun. (Laughter.) For Hedwig, I did not know how he would talk but from the start I had his energy. In fact, I wanted him to be on rollerblades. Night (Shyamalan, ed) found the idea brilliant but in the end, there were already enough things in the interpretation of this character without adding fucking rollers! Sometimes the body language comes to me first, sometimes the voice. Sometimes they arise together. To change his voice is to change the position of his throat and his mouth. If you change that, the body follows. All this helps to find a character.
On a performance that requires so many nuances and subtleties, are you afraid or want close-ups?
I love close-ups. If you do not know what you are doing in a scene, a close-up will reveal it because you have to go to something very pure. Night seems to think I’m a good actor. (Laughter.) And that I may be a better actor in close-up. I do not know if it’s true on every film but it may have been on SPLIT: for some reason I did not feel like I could really use the close-ups.
You hardly ever play with your Scottish accent. Is it frustrating or a good starting point to create a distance with a character?
I love being Scottish. I also like to take different accents, play characters that do not have much to do with me. I like the work of actor, its technical aspect and its instinctive part. I have fun with all this so it does not bother me to change my accent. Above all, I am very glad not to encamp that Scots, not to have been locked in roles that would have the same social background as me.
In TRANCE, ORDURE(FILTH) and SPLIT, you play psychopaths. Are these roles complementary or different?
They are different men but they all go through significant mental trials. They have identities locked in them, trying to emerge. They have a great disgust for themselves and seek, in one way or another, to take revenge on the world. These roles can be complementary in the sense that none of these three films has mental illness as their subject. They do not try to comment on mental health policies in the United Kingdom or the United States. These are entertainments that approach mental health in an artistic way.
These are three benefits made of excess. Would you say that’s what you like most?
Yes I think. But if these characters were excessive, it would amuse me less. In these three films, there are also great moments of intimacy, purity, intensity. What I like to do with the public is to take him to an excess of grotesque, then, in another scene, to an excess of compassion, then an excess of comedy or sadness. These three films try to achieve this. TRANCE, in particular, did everything to kiss the audience. (Laughter.) These films try to ‘return’ the viewers, to make them spend an exciting moment without being comfortable.
They defy the public. I like this.
You have never been the 'Scottish face’ of socio-realism …
No, that’s absolutely true! It’s a bit sad, is not it?
Do you regret it?
Yes ! Ken Loach is my favorite filmmaker. I come from the kind of neighborhoods that he films constantly. “But shit, I grew up in that street!” (Laughter.) He even turned my sister. (Joy McAvoy, in LA PART DES ANGES, ed.) She told him that I was his biggest fan but he had never heard of me. I would love to work with him.
Do you know why you imagine so little in socio-realistic films?
No doubt because I started playing characters that had nothing to do with what I am - I played distinguished people, the English, the Americans. The first four or five years of my career, people in the trade did not even know I was Scottish. I started by pretending to be someone else. I do not care, as long as I can do some interesting things.
What factors determine your choices? Whether a director is a young talent like WELCOME TO THE PUNCH or a legend like on TRANCE?
Most often, I just go to what I think is good for me. Towards what appears to be a fun experience. The reward for me is making a film. Not to look at him. Not that he made money. Not to have prices. The reward is to do. So I have to choose projects that look gratifying, exciting, challenges that will teach me things. I am privileged to be able to do so. One day I may not be lucky. The director is not necessarily what matters most to me. What counts is the story and the character. At the end of a day, a real 'will not cajole me so that I feel good. To feel good, I have to tell myself that I have done something that I think has value. But again, it’s a privilege. At the beginning of my career, I had no choice and in a sense, it was also great: you do not have the time to think, you accept what is proposed to you, you play a wide variety of characters And you learn enormously. When you have the opportunity to choose, you risk going to ease or constantly accepting the same role. So, I do not try to generate my material - even if I did it once or twice, as on ORDER. Generally, I would rather wait to see what happens on my desk. I let fate do.
In the past, you said that X-MEN had brought you financial comfort that allowed you to bet on riskier projects. You would have done SPLIT without this comfort?
Of course !
Is this a risky film?
Moui … Risky in the sense that it may not work. But even where will the evil be? If I make ten movies in a row that do not work, maybe I will not be able to work again. That said, I do not need to be a star or star in all movies. As long as I work and play interesting roles, no matter where in the world, on stage, on the big screen or on the radio, I’ll be happy. So, where is the risk? That no one likes what I do. But if I do not take these bets when I have the choice, I limit myself to 'go to work’. I once or twice had to make films for money or because I had been advised to work with a certain director. Every time, it was a disaster.
You have been working for twenty years, you have hindsight. It is said that our epoch is going through a crisis of creativity. Is it harder today to find good projects?
Yes I think. But I do not think I know all the reasons. I just feel that there is little space today. Night is lucky: he makes original films in genres that people want to see in theaters. There are many other filmmakers who do not get anywhere. At best, they realize their projects for tiny budgets. All the rest are franchises or movies from pre-existing licenses. It limits creativity. Afterwards, I say that but I am in one of these franchises - I love this kind of movies since I was a kid! I am just sad that there is only that now being produced. So I’m glad that Night can continue to work.