INT: Matthew Goode

Theatrically trained Matthew Goode first mesmerized American film audiences with his starring role in the romantic comedy CHASING LIBERTY. The sexy, charming and handsome British newcomer surprised directors with a potent performance that left women captivated, enamored and yearning for more Goode. Subsequently, he embodied an intriguing part in Woody Allen’s MATCH POINT, which reaffirmed his talent and versatility and ultimately scored him the part in his latest film. Making a daring shift from light-hearted, romantic roles, Goode unveils his darker, mysterious side to enter an appealing world of danger in his upcoming thriller THE LOOKOUT.

Goode’s transformation into a mischievous, bank-robbing villain was so powerful and spell binding that even the lack of his desirable Brit accent didn’t affect his allure. I was inexplicably thrilled to meet the sexy actor as he lit up a cigarette and offered insight about the challenges of acting, finding a good script and working with Scott Frank on their latest film THE LOOKOUT. Distracted by the irresistible gleam in his eyes and seductive smile, I struggled to remain focused but elicited the following interview from Matthew Goode. Check it out!

Matthew Goode

Do you think your character thought he was smarter than he really was?

It’s funny actually because I read a back-story for my character which I now have to tell you about but I love secrets. I love when other actors don’t know what’s going on in your head or bits about your past. So I’ve always had to slightly agree on the stop to fess up and tell people about it but I’ve done it couple of times and got lost in it and flipped out. But I was quite sympathetic to my character. He is intelligent and I got that from the script.

The reason he was like this was because his father was an officer in the navy and part of being in the armed forces is that they give you a full education paid for by the government. So he’d been around and he wasn’t originally from Kansas . His father was dishonorable and discharged from the navy, which happened after his mother died quite young. Although a bit of a cliché, it led him into drinking and abusing, beating the shit out of his son. Which if you look at Bone [Greg Dunham] you imagine [my character’s] father looking quite similar. It’s quite a scary thing but it’s also why I made him get so attached to Bone. Bone is probably the one who let him down and got him into prison in the first circumstance. Everyone is only two mistakes away from going to jail.

Scott Frank said that although Gary buys into money and power, he isn’t a dumb guy.

No it’s a way of redemption and courting a life that he had as a child a little bit. Certainly times weren’t as they are now. Now he’s just in a f**ked up place and thinks, “If I could just get this, then maybe things could be better.”

Did you ever discuss this back-story with Scott?

No, no one else knows about it unless they read about it now.

All your previous characters have been sweet and romantic. What was the attraction to this role and why did you choose to play the “bad” guy?

I was out doing a very similar thing in LA for MATCH POINT and when in LA, they gave me this new script. I took one look at the script and [threw it aside]. I read my scripts in the bath and in fact I’ve done it three times in my life. This was the third time and I actually finished my script in the bath. It’s just a good script. There aren’t that many great scripts out there. They said take a look at the role of Gary and [pretending to be turning the pages to a script] I said, “Okay, is that it?” Gary isn’t coming in for the first twenty pages. By the way, I don’t give a shit about a small part, I really don’t.

I think it’s best not taking the leads because then you can have a career possibly. This was so different. Even the good characters are not black and white. Nothing is two dimensional about it. I just loved it. I love the way they manipulated some of the sources by showing him the trick. It’s an interesting defeat. Yes that’s a grey area too. I never suspected I would get the part. I didn’t have a job then so I shaved all my hair off but for a job I try to mold myself for the audition. It was summer and I was like, “f**k it! If I don’t get a job, I don’t get a job!” They made me audition for two and a half lines and I had eight [auditions] so I was obviously doing something wrong.

But they did call you back.

Which is a good thing but I did reach the point where I thought I nailed it but he was like, “Nope, read for me again.” It’s also a weird thing where you go in and it starts off with the cameraman, casting director and director. Then by the time you get to the seventh audition, and just so you know I will be chain smoking (lighting up another cigarette), you suddenly have more and more people in there which makes you feel more and more tense. It's stupid. If I ever direct a film, I will go the [Clint] Eastwood way or Woody [Allen] way which is like, “I just wanted to see what you look like and let you know you have it, thank you very much.”

Why do you think good scripts are hard to come by?

I think it’s possibly because there isn’t a huge amount of marketing that goes on and presale. Everyone is obsessed with showing work early on and getting feedback from an audience. The Chinese are big on it and they love it. So now people who have seen what works like horror films, which do so well in this country, people are writing to a formula rather than just writing good stories. Suddenly independent films are making the dollar. I really don’t know why. I suppose it’s because there are very few good writers out there.

The better the script, the harder it is to get the film made which is a vicious circle. Then you get people who wait ten years to get a movie made like LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE. It’s also the notion of celebrity. I mean Brad Pitt is a far better actor than people give him credit for. If you look at his career, no one else could have done SEVEN like him and no one else could have done FIGHT CLUB like he did. That has to do with the director as well. The obsession with celebrity is everywhere now but particularly in America . It’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Like the Hiltons are in their twenties and doing what every other twenty year old is doing but I don’t get why people spend so much time [on them].

A good script may demand someone who is a celebrity but not with that much talent. They want to go for what makes the money. I think every director is going to go for what makes the money. Everyone wants to get the best person for the job and sometimes compromises. The more famous someone is, the less likely someone is to accept him or her in the role they are doing. It’s a double edge sword. Stay the f**k out of the limelight and don’t give anyone access to what you are doing like Sean Penn. He’s a great actor and it’s about the choices that you make in the beginning of your career when you are the most weary. I hate the f**king science of that. Wouldn’t it be just great if you were Michael Cane and you could work every job that comes to you? But it doesn’t work like that anymore.

What kind of scripts do you get?

I get everything. I get why people move agents. I get the need to have the right relationship and I’ve got a cracking one. I’m just so fortunate. Firing someone because you’re not getting a certain job is like…at a certain level; every agency is getting you scripts. If you can get yourself to the audition, then there is no one to blame but yourself. The funny thing about me is that I basically play one form of myself or another, but if I was doing a Jane Austin film people would say, “That guy is f**king great!” If you do it in normal dress then it’s like, “You played yourself man.”

What is it that you want to bring to the table as an actor?

I think it’s flattering being compared to other very successful actors but there are other actors like Gary Oldman who say they love what I do because I do things that are different. I’m not half the celebrity but there is an element of wanting to be respectable like him. It’s not like I can pick and choose jobs, I’ve got to pay the rent. We’re English people – white Mexicans. We’re only doing it for cash and the possibility for being involved in something really good and really different…and it’s all about the directors as well. I met Scott [Frank] and if anyone could be a conceited prick in Hollywood , it could be him considering his success and quality of his work. But he’s the loveliest family man ever. So he was really inspiring and I’m sure you heard that from Joseph [Gordon-Levitt] as well. He was inspired by the script but it’s true. What else can you want?

Do you prefer sticking to parts where you can keep your British accent or do you enjoy the challenge of changing it?

I’ve barely worked even though I’ve been doing this for ten years. It’s also due to having a very good English agent who won’t allow me to do shit. I mean you want to do different stuff. I grew up on stage in England where one minute you’re playing a 19-year-old man and the next minute you’re a ten-year-old boy. Nowadays because of the huge amount of channels [on TV], you start off bizarrely after learning how to act on stage, to stand in front of a camera when you have absolutely no f*cking idea what you are doing. So it’s a bit of a tight rope really.

How was it for you moving from stage acting to film?

Weird because I hoped to be taken under the wings of other actors but it depends on whom you work with. I’ve been lucky. I’ve heard some horror stories where there have been jealousies from older actors. You also hope to have a director who’s being nice to you and explaining things. Hanging out and chatting with older actors is the greatest thing in the world.

What has been the best piece of advice you’ve received from an older actor?

This older TV actor has said to me that if I came across a line that I don’t understand or don’t have to understand in general, then do it running backwards screaming because no one is going to give a f**k! Or just do nothing.

Do you feel disappointed when you do a film and it doesn’t do so well? I saw IMAGINE YOU AND ME just the other day and thought it was a great film but hadn’t heard much about it?

No. That was a very small British film and it got limited release and I know it sounds wanky but I’m not joking when I say I’ve been doing really well over the last ten years. I haven’t done much but I’ve met some really great people and had a really good time working on things. I’m hoping to have a career so I don’t want to be kick started. I don’t feel like I have to play leads. In one small British film I had one scene, so sometime I’ve got enough money for a beer and a pack of cigarettes and I’m happy.

What is the British film industry like nowadays?

Well there have been a few good things happening like FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL, but suddenly things become formulaic because there are a few companies that do really well and make the money and suddenly they have the power and they try to repeat success and it’s not really about new writing anymore. There are also a lot more actors out there and the competition is huge. Things are also a lot more expensive.

What are you working on next?

In June we start working on the feature film BRIDESHEAD REVISITED, a remake of the 1981 miniseries based on a book by Evelyn Waugh, which is fantastic. It’s what made Jeremy Irons I suppose and Anthony Andrews, Diana Quick, John Gielgud and Sir Laurence Olivier. We’re doing the remake whereas in the television series they had eleven luxurious hours to play it out. We only have two hours and it’s been twenty years but it’s a great cast and we’ll wait and see I suppose. Hayley Atwell will play the lead female character Julia Flyte.

Is it an effort on your part to go back to London and continue working on other films again after filming in America ?

Well I have to audition and there’s nothing harder than to audition for something you don’t want but there is an element that you have to meet everyone. I don’t have a plan set out. You read a good script, get inspired by a good script and a good filmmaker and hope you are lucky to get the job. And when you don’t, you just have a pint.

Were you also a struggling actor like most people before landing the few good roles you’ve had?

Yes but there are different levels of struggling. I’ve never been one of those actors who’ve gone from job to job to job. For example, I haven’t worked since I finished THE LOOKOUT and that’s over a year. So May 19th I finished and nothing’s come along that’s really been exciting and I suppose also in the back of my mind I knew that it as going to come out and I kind of hoped that even if it didn’t do well commercially, that people within the industry will see it and go “Oh that’s something different.” So why jeopardize it and go with something like NORBIT? Particularly that’s why I’m being pigeonholed as the next English romantic comedy dude.

Like Hugh Grant?

He’s fantastic but there are different elements like I mentioned before that people think he should have branched out more because he seems so talented. I think if his heart was really in it, he would have done but he seems to hate making movies.

Will you continue to pursue stage work or stick with films?

Yeah absolutely I want to work. I was hoping to do GLASS MENAGERIE for a while. I love that play. Unfortunately I’ve already done that. So I’m trying to get a play with Karen Hines because I love her. She’s a fantastic actor so yeah we’re looking for something.

Source: JoBlo.com



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