PK: You studied method acting. This seems like a role that
you can adapt that that methods to..
JB: Yeah, I mean I studied method and all that kind of
stuff. But I don’t know. I’ve gotten to a point in my life where you know, you
try a lot of different things on because of insecurity or a lack of confidence
or a lack of understanding, and a lack of confidence in the process. But you know now I don’t know if it’s because
I got to a place in my life where I go, I don’t mind humiliating myself and I
don’t mind embarrassing myself on set in order to find the right tone or the
right character trait or whatever. It’s to stay open- that’s the most important
thing for me it to stay open and to really listen to people and to be able to
be open rather than to stay in my own process. I’m going to pick up my coffee
and look at it and see if there are any chunks of cream that have gone bad and
do all this stuff. If that’s what happens, then that’s great. If it’s a thought
out process thing instead of a spontaneous thing, I find it to be a little
masturbatory, but that’s just me. So that’s why I loved working with Javier so
much because he’s very much the same way and he’s a brilliant actor. And you
know, we just like keeping it going, using the imagination. We just like to
keep the imagination acute so there’s a lot of fucking around on the set and
then when we have to do what we have to do I think we’re very focused. We do
it. We’re completely open when we’re doing it, and I think that’s why his
character didn’t turn out to be very silly because I think it could have.
PK: Despite the hair cut.
JB: Despite the hair cut, despite the eyes, despite
everything. It turned out to be chilling. And then my character- he doesn’t say
but fifty words. That’s not an easy thing for any actor to do, especially when
acting revolves around movies and all that- dialogue and theater. You suddenly
take away the one crutch that you have to be able to distract the audience to
how you’re really feeling. Or lend to how you’re really feeling. And suddenly
it’s all about something else- you know, body language, and inhales and grunts.
PK: You don’t have any scenes together, though. You’re on
the phone together, but that’s about it.
JB: Yeah, that’s right--we just shoot at each other. Javier
did a fun thing because he had to leave because he was doing “Love in the Time
of Cholera” so he left a little bit early, so I was doing the scene with him on
the phone and they had left an earpiece with a recording and they said “Here,
use the earpiece,” and I said I don’t want to use the earpiece, I’d rather have
someone else do it, like the script supervisor or something. I said I could
hear Javier in my head so it’s ok, so we did it a few times and the Coens were
like “You should really use the earpiece,” but it was just distracting for me.
Finally, the last take we did, I finally used the earpiece and Javier’s voice
is in there and he says, “Do you know where I am?” and I said, “I know where
you are.” Then he answers “I’m in the south of Spain, on the beach--having the
greatest time with the naked women.” Suddenly I got all confused because I was
totally into the scene and I looked back at Ethan and he had a huge smile on
his face. I thought, “Fuck you guys, you nailed me.” It was fun.
PK: I heard that as directors they don’t offer a lot of
JB: No, they were extremely supportive. They offer what’s
needed and not anything beyond that. They don’t offer a lot of that padding of
the ego or that kind of stuff, you know. There’s not a lot of praise where it’s
not needed, which is a great thing, because it was all about the work. And then
Javier and I could have fun when we wanted to have fun, and we could have fun
with the Coens and the Coens were actually a ton of fun. But it was more about,
let’s just do the work.
PK: More fun than Tommy Lee Jones?
JB: Tommy was great, actually. I love Tommy. I can’t imagine
he’s the greatest to reporters, but I’ve gotten to know Tommy well--especially
after the movie. but you’ve got to know that kind of character, though.
PK: You weren’t in any scenes with him?
JB: No, I wasn’t in any scenes with him. Tommy’s a good man.
Tommy’s just funny. I don’t know what he does, he’s just authentic
PK: Hell is being in an elevator with a tape recorder and
Tommy Lee Jones and Harrison Ford.
JB: Just silence. Total silence.
PK: Just glares of contempt. Heavy sighs.
The Coen brothers make a very interesting stylistic choice
here; they show most of the violence offscreen. You just came from “Grindhouse”
where the violence is so in-your-face.
JB: Yeah, but it’s so gratuitous it’s so ridiculous in “Grindhouse.”
And that was the point; it’s an homage to that kind of ridiculous Bozo the
PK: These are two different approaches.
JB: Totally, this is much more Hitckockian. You look back
and you think you’ve seen something with so much violence than you actually
are. You know, but the violence is unnerving and painful and awful; it’s not
empowering in any way, at least it wasn’t for me just watching the movie as a
film buff. Javier and I were sitting next to each other watching the film for
the first time, it was like...
PK: Some of the key confrontational moments are offscreen.
Does that bug you a little bit?
JB: Oh, you mean [omitted to avoid spoiler] …this is not on
the radio, right?
PK: No. I can avoid mentioning it in the article.
JB: Well, that’s the way it happens. I think people want to
be given the opportunity to be manipulated into a place of death in film. Being
about to grieve and say goodbye and experience the death because we’ve gotten
so used to movies like “Saw” -- I don’t know what it is. I think that’s why
this is unique, because it happens like it really happens. My mother hit a
tree; she was just dead. One moment I was just talking to her and the next
minute I could never talk to her again. So when I look at that, I go, that’s an
homage to me and reality, which I think was very loyal to Cormac’s book because
that’s the way it is in the book; that’s the way it is in life. Sometimes
we’re given the opportunity to say goodbye, there’s maybe a death by disease,
but in my experience I have never seen that in film, where it just happens. You
know, the minute where there’s hope and you think [omitted to avoid spoiler].
That’s it--everything changes.
PK: You write yourself don’t you? Didn’t you write stories
and poems? Do you want to go into writing and directing films?
JB: I just directed a short film that I wrote. And there was
another short that I had written with Robert Rodriguez that we didn’t do
because I was got frustrated; it was too complictated for my first thing. So I
wrote a short. I had some of my friends do it and it was great. 26 set-ups in
three days and now it’s in the festivals and doing all of that.
PK: What’s it called?
JB: “X.” Just “X.” And, um, I have a theater company in
L.A.for which I wrote wrote, directed and produced a play. It was three hours
long and it was sold out every night. We did very well with that. We’re almost
finishing this play called “Pig’s Nest” [?] that will start in January. Um, I’m
adapting a play that I did 15 years ago into a film right now. So there’s a lot
PK: And then the acting, you know.
JB: Yeah, I just like stories. I love storytelling. Yeah,
the acting will continue because it pays my bills. The other stuff sort of siphons
my bank account.
PK: Any more projects? Spielberg?
JB: No. There was a movie he was producing that they offered
me, no… Scorsese is doing this thing called “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which I think is an amazing book about Jordan Belfort. I don’t know what part
would be in there because I know Leo is going to be playing Belford. I just
like the story. I would love to be in it.
PK: What are you reading now?
JB: Right now I’m reading CK Williams--a book called “Misgivings.”
PK: Red Sox, Rockies?
PK: Colts, Patriots
JB: I just don’t know.