Actors get pigeonholed very quickly, particularly movie actors. In the theater, one is more used to casting people against type and trusting that their talent and skill will get them through.
All I know is that I operate by going out to each of them and trying to learn the territory in which they operate. My language to each of them has to suit their brain.
I deliberately, in a way, went for something that was a huge challenge and was a big period film. I was excited about the canvas on which I could tell the story as much as the story itself.
I still can't quite believe it. Although there was something about the fact that it was a first-time writer, a first-time producer, and a first-time director all at the same time.
One of the reasons I loved working with Tom is people feel they know who he is... I think working with an actor who the audience already has a relationship with actually helps you in a film like this.
I suppose once in a while, a filmmaker makes a movie that's more than just a sum of its parts, more than good acting or good filmmaking. It's something else that has nothing to do with what you've done. This is in 1999, made by people in 1999 for people in 1999 about people in 1999.
The perceived wisdom is that people do not go in large numbers to black-and-white movies anymore - which is a great shame, but I'd love to make a black-and-white movie one day.
There's one thing better than having a great actor, and that's having a great actor who's never done this kind of role before and is hungry to do it. They're testing themselves every day. They want to get out of their trailer and get to work.
It took me a long time to film the plastic bag, and then I had to get the cut of the scene right. But if you find it as beautiful as the character does, then suddenly it becomes a different movie, and so did he as a character.
I am not a master-class director. I am not a teacher. I am a coach. I dont have a methodology. Each actor is different. And on the film set, you have to be next to them all.