INT: Patrick Wilson
Patrick Wilson infamously got part of his junk pseudo-removed in HARD CANDY, and his wife was the chick with dick in ROCK STAR. Now he's playing a middle aged impotent superhero who needs his costume fetish to get off. If the Wilson marriage ever produces a sex tape I want a copy.
But this isn't about my twisted carnal interests. Let's focus on Mr. Wilson and the hefty shoes he has to fill as Dan Dreiburg/Nite Owl. I can say that while chatting with him didn't give much insight into what he would do with the role, he certainly had the physical presence - almost a dead ringer for the characters weight and bearing. Plus we got to see him kick ass in a prison fight scene and the man is impressive.
When you look at this character in the comic book he's not in great shape. How do you translate that? Are you doing like DeNiro type stuff?
Y'know, I've probably gained about 20 lbs. The first thing I said to Zack when we got together in March, or something, how much weight do you want to put on. 'Cause what's interesting is in the first couple chapters, at least in his plain clothes, and even the way the Owl Suit looks, he's pretty big. But then by the time he takes his shirt off and the stuff when he's naked, he's not actually a fat guy. I think there's this perception that he's huge, he's overweight.
One of the first things that Zack said is that's obviously a metaphor for what's going on in his life. And just being more schlumpy and lost, and attitude much more than gaining all the weight. Plus, when you're doing a movie like this where you have to keep going, when you do the early stuff, and there isn't a lot, but at least you have to be able to fit in the suit...basically what I'm saying is I didn't want to go overboard. But I wanted to have, nobody told me to, but I wanted to anyway 'cause I'm a pretty lean guy to begin with. I wanted to get a little fuller so I could have at least a little bit of a gut.
Was maintaining a certain weight an issue so that you could fit into the suit once it was made?
I talked about that with the guys who designed the suit. Because by the time I did my first fitting, in mid-July I guess, I was doing another movie, where I was 185, which is about what my weight is normally. So when we're making the suit I said I'm gonna be about 15 - 20 lbs more than this by the time we start going. It wasn't anything that drastic. But it takes a lot of work. The weird thing is trying to find this balance physically. All the physical stuff he can do, and the look of the character. What's right, what fits, and what fits in comparison to the other characters. I think we're doing a good job.
Can you talk about working with Jackie again? Especially since you guys didn't have a lot of scenes together in Little Children, but this time you're playing the old partners. Is there some kind of dynamic you're able to bring from having known each other?
Well we get along great. The first stuff we shot together was us breaking into Adrian's office. The first time I was in the suit, so nobody had really seen me in the suit. So we sat there for the first take, and I'm in the suit, and he's putting on his hat, and we're like what are we doing? Brad Adamson and Ronald James McGorvey gone terribly wrong.
But it was great. Especially when you're playing guys that have known each other for a long time, it really helps to be able to...yeah it was just great. He's such a warm person anyway. I know we're talking about Jackie, but y'know what I found on this movie, everybody has just got the same focus. Everybody is in love with this material. The script. The graphic novel. So when that's your common link it's like everything else doesn't even matter.
Dan is in a lot of ways the hero of the piece, but he's also maybe the least flashy of all the characters. Everybody else has all these great gimmicks or interesting things. Dan is sort of the most normal at the end of the day. How do you keep yourself in with these eccentric characters?
I can only, I read it from his perspective all along, so it's hard for me to even look at everybody else's arc. To me he's such a complex guy, y'know he is very real. I think the Batman similarities are on purpose. Really Dr. Manhattan is the only one with any sort of super power. Obviously. I found him...he's got such heart.
You see Dan in his glasses. He's a great guy. And so all the problems and things that are interesting as an actor, the sexual issues, not knowing who you are, an almost Vietnam vet like syndrome of not...without the suit, without the gear on, like who am I? Now that I'm not fighting that battle who am I?
So there's a lot to latch onto with this guy. He just goes from such a wide range of being introverted and lost and trying to adjust to society. He doesn't relate really to feeling alive, feeling like a man, feeling empowered. It's a great journey. I don't feel any sort of loss between the flashiness. I think he's pretty cool.
Were you a fan of the comic?
I didn't know it. I knew of it, but I hadn't read it before. Like with all comic book scripts that I've seen or been up for, I called up one of my best friends who is a die hard fan. Ever since I've known him has been a huge comic book fan. I always call him and go like alright, whatta ya got on whatever. Fantastic Four. Daredevil. And he'd give me his rundown. So I said, alright, I just got the Watchmen script. And he just paused. And he goes "Oh God." I was like what it seems pretty cool. I'm like halfway through but this is unbelievable. He's like, "If you are ever to do a comic book movie, this is the one."
So then I knew I had the stamp of approval at least from the fan. I knew that I was getting into some pretty revered work. So I'd read the script first, and then once I read the graphic novel I just became immersed in it. There's stuff, we were just talking about it a few minutes ago, cause some of the stunt guys are just getting through it and are like "It's pretty dense." Not bagging on any other comics, but there's a reason that it's to some people the Holy Grail of graphic novels. You just keep finding stuff in that script.
And the great thing about Zack is that he has such an appreciation for that, so we'll come in with ideas, naturally it's not going to be an 8-hour movie. So in trimming and finding the focus of the film, how do you adjust, what are you leaving out of the graphic novel? And I think they've done an unbelievable job of adapting it. But within that, you'll see something and go man I love that line that's in the graphic novel. And he's like great, awesome, works. I love that line too. It's an evolving process.
So is your friend excited now that you're Dan?
I just talked to him today. He's trying to get off work so he can come out here and play. He'll ask, "What are you shooting?" Well today we're breaking Rorschach out of prison. "Oh my God." I've never seen this kind of excitement. Usually it's like, yeah that's a cool character. It's a fun comic. I don't really know it well.
I knew I was treading on some pretty, it's good stuff. We get that. I think everybody that is a part of this feels like you don't run from it, you embrace it. You don't tread around it and go I'm scared to touch it. You dive in, but everybody loves it.
You looking forward to piloting the [Owl] Ship?
Oh yeah, have you seen the ship?
It's pretty great isn't it? It's good times. That's the thing, every new set you walk into you're blown away.
How is the action in the suit? Is it supple, or tough to move around in?
Nice use of the word supple by the way. It's um, y'know, high class problems I like to say. What are we going to do? Complain about being in the suit. It's unbelievable. Mobility wise, it's OK. The tension is hard. It's like a SCUBA suit gone haywire. You have the elasticity but...it's just like anything. Just getting used to it. Yeah, I'm not going to complain about my suit. It's unbelievable. It's pretty cool.
The graphic novel is kind of elliptical at parts with some of their history. Did you and Jackie work out a little history with each other?
Yeah. Zack sort of did one-on-one's, or two-on-one's with all of us to go through relationships, and how people started, and what do you see, and what's in there. What we may have missed. We definitely went through that, because you have to establish how long these guys were really together. And how often...did they really fight together?
You're talking about a whole history that makes it so interesting. Like when did they really fight together, and when they did, how many of them fought at the same time. So that was all of the fun stuff. Going through that and especially with me and Jackie 'cause it's such a great relationship for these two complete opposite types of people to work together and to really have an understanding of each other. So by the end it's tragic.