INT: Hope Davis
Its about that time of year, when the nights grow shorter, the leaves change color and the movies get serious. Oscar season is upon us, bringing with it all sorts of films about relationships and causes and gay cowboys. This is when the studios bring out their big guns in an effort to catch the Academys eye and pick up a few statues.
There are no gay cowboys in THE WEATHER MAN (at least as far as I could tell). There is, however, a pretty impressive cast, including acclaimed actors Nicolas Cage, Michael Caine and Hope Davis. Davis stopped by the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills a few weeks ago to talk about her experience making THE WEATHER MAN. Check it out.
What was it like working with Nicolas Cage? Are your styles very different?
I learned some things from him. He is a very unique individual. Hes not like other guys. But acting-wise, hes extremely free in front of the camera. Hes really prepared and he really knows what hes doing, but when were shooting he really tries something different on every take. Hes very creative. Not like we dont know where hes going to be, but hes very creative and it kind of woke me up a little bit. Youve gotta really stay alive, because hes throwing something new at you.
What about working with Gore Verbinski, a guy who isnt known for films like this?
I really feel like Gore is able to do whatever he sets his eyes on. Hes very talented. I think this was a break for him in a way from the big action stuff, which is really its hard to shoot that kind of stuff. Its long, long schedules. I think for him to do something thats really kind of narrative-driven was exciting. Hes great. He knows exactly what hes doing. Hes very relaxed on set, very confident. I loved being around him.
How many takes did you do of the scene where Nic Cage hits you with the snowball?
I think about 25 or 30 time before we got it right.
Who was throwing the snowball at you offscreen?
Gore Verbinski. (laughs) He wanted to throw it. He threw all of the food at Nic. He did all the throwing. I think he just wanted to take responsibility in case somebody got clocked with something. I guess he wanted to be the one to take the fall.
I thought the snowball scene was so funny. I mean, I love it in the script that hes trying to kind of reconnect with her and he ends up slamming her in the face with a ball of snow. After a while because Gore was afraid to throw it really hard and he kept kind of missing me I finally said, Gore, youve got to throw it as hard as you can right at my face. (laughs)
What was it like working with Michael Caine? Did you ever ask him for advice?
We were all asking Michael Caine for advice. Michael Caine wrote a book that most actors have read, because its filled with very real tips about what to do. And so we talked about the book and he was giving us little tips about where you put your eye when this is happening. Hes a master.
Do you act differently on set when youre around someone like that?
No. Hes not intimidating. It is an honor to be on a set with someone like Michael Caine. Hes such a wonderful actor; hes been in so many great films. I was really excited to meet him, because his book really did I mean I kind of carried it around like a bible when I was just starting out. Its such a great book; you should read it if you havent read it. Hes not an intimidating type of person. Hes very lovely and very very friendly. He believes hes a working actor. So it was great to be with him.
When you saw the final cut of the film, were you surprised by any aspect of it?
Yeah. A couple things. I was really really impressed with the kids. I thought they were amazing in the film. And very brave. I was surprised by how moved I was. When we were shooting, I thought it was really funny. I thought the script was hilarious and I thought the scenes we were shooting were really funny. I didnt know how kind of moving it was going to be. And dark in tone. I loved the visual landscape. I really liked it.
What do you think people will take out of this film when they see it?
I think the film is somewhat about celebrity and what thats really about. I mean, hes kind of the local celebrity and that its not really as fun as it looks, maybe. Its also about family life. In his pursuit of his career he lets go of his family and they are not doing very well. Its not a lesson-based film, but theres stuff to think about if youre raising kids.
Did the weather in Chicago affect you at all?
Well, the lack of weather in some ways. It was very cold, obviously. It was Chicago. But it didnt snow. So we were making snow every day. That was complicated, I think, for the production. There were cold days, but I feel bad complaining because we had trailers. The actors had trailers and the crew was out there all day. I think it was a hard shoot for them.
We know that Nicolass character is pretty oblivious to his kids problems, but why isnt your character more aware?
Thats something that I really liked about the script. Because often the mother is left as the one kind of saving the day and holding everyone together, and in fact shes kind of no better than he is. I thought that was a really interesting point in the film, that shes kind of as self-absorbed, maybe, as he is. And theyre so busy battling out with one another than nobodys there watching out for the kids.
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