INT: Hope Davis
Itís 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 Academyís eye and pick up a few statues.
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
was it like working with Nicolas Cage? Are
your styles very different?
I learned some things from him. He is a very unique individual. Heís not like other guys. But acting-wise, heís extremely free in front of the camera. Heís really prepared and he really knows what heís doing, but when weíre shooting he really tries something different on every take. Heís very creative. Not like we donít know where heís going to be, but heís very creative and it kind of woke me up a little bit. Youíve gotta really stay alive, because heís throwing something new at you.
What about working with Gore Verbinski, a guy who isnít known for films like this?
I really feel like Gore is able to do whatever he sets his eyes on. Heís very talented. I think this was a break for him in a way from the big action stuff, which is reallyÖitís hard to shoot that kind of stuff. Itís long, long schedules. I think for him to do something thatís really kind of narrative-driven was exciting. Heís great. He knows exactly what heís doing. Heís very relaxed on set, very confident. I loved being around him.
many takes did you do of the scene where Nic Cage hits you with the snowball?
about 25 or 30 time before we got it right.
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.
the snowball scene was so funny. I
mean, I love it in the script that heís trying to kind of reconnect with her
and he ends up slamming her in the face with a ball of snow.
After a while Ė because Gore was afraid to throw it really hard and he
kept kind of missing me Ė I finally said, ďGore, youíve got to throw it as
hard as you can right at my face.Ē (laughs)
was it like working with Michael Caine? Did
you ever ask him for advice?
all asking Michael Caine for advice. Michael
Caine wrote a book that most actors have read, because itís 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. Heís
act differently on set when youíre around someone like that?
No. Heís not intimidating. It is an honor to be on a set with someone like Michael Caine. Heís such a wonderful actor; heís been in so many great films. I was really excited to meet him, because his book really didÖI mean I kind of carried it around like a bible when I was just starting out. Itís such a great book; you should read it if you havenít read it. Heís not an intimidating type of person. Heís very lovely and very very friendly. He believes heís a working actor. So it was great to be with him.
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 didnít know how kind of moving it was going to be. And dark in tone. I loved the visual landscape. I really liked it.
you think people will take out of this film when they see it?
I think the film is somewhat about celebrity and what thatís really about. I mean, heís kind of the local celebrity and that itís not really as fun as it looks, maybe. Itís also about family life. In his pursuit of his career he letís go of his family and they are not doing very well. Itís not a lesson-based film, but thereís stuff to think about if youíre raising kids.
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 didnít 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.
that Nicolasís character is pretty oblivious to his kidsí problems, but why
isnít your character more aware?
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 sheís kind of no better than he is.
I thought that was a really interesting point in the film, that sheís
kind of as self-absorbed, maybe, as he is. And
theyíre so busy battling out with one another than nobodyís there watching
out for the kids.
Manifestos? Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.