So is this a sequel to Nadine? No, but there ought to be a sequel to Nadine. Yeah, I loved that experience. That's one of the great things about this biz. It's a pretty small one, so chances are that you link up again with people that you've worked with. Kim, European cinema is not embarrassed about an older woman and a younger man. American cinema seems to be in many cases.
Why do you think that's the case? I don't know, and I don't care. I enjoyed every minute of it. I've been so attracted to the Harold and Maude aspect of living, as opposed to your norm.
Normal is so boring. I like to spice it up a little myself. Were you familiar with John Irving's book beforehand? Of course, I knew about it, but no, I was really introduced [to it through] the script, which was really wonderful for Marion. I could not and would not have done this piece without Kip. And I don't know, it was just perfect timing for me to meet Marion. She was rather quiet, and got to be somewhat of the voyeur, and that was interesting to me. Everything was very internal. Jeff, were you familiar with the book?
I knew of it. My wife had read it. I read it in preparation for the role. I love John Irving's stuff. And Kip did such a great adaptation of it. That was a big plus for me, when I heard that John was in support of it. I think Kip bought the rights for a buck or something. How easy was it to get a handle on your character? Well, you know, there were slippery spots, but the place that I first could grab onto the guy was his drawing.
I have daughters of my own, so that was a big handle for me. Then there's some ambiguity in there about his motives, which were fun to play around with. It's funny, I'm a big movie fan, and I find the less I know about a movie going in, the more I enjoy it. But it was fun to talk about that stuff with Kip. He was so helpful, such a wonderful director. Did you push for the opportunity to do the artwork in the film? A couple of wonderful artists did those. But it was fun for me to do all the children's [book] illustrations.
You're a photographer, too. Did you take the black and white photos on the wall? Those are from Kip's family, and the kids who played our sons were the same kids in those photographs.
It's all in the family. He hired everybody out of his family to do something, which was really cool. Can you talk about getting in the mindset of parents who have lost their children? That's true; that's honest.
I don't think you can be as convincing, even to yourself. And as a parent, you just don't go there, so as an artist, when we had to go there, whatever we had, we went there. It's something we didn't even share. We just shared the moment on film.
But since we were actually brothers, we didn't need to talk about it. You had that in your kit bag. You didn't have to take it out; it was just there. But one of the things I did in preparation for that aspect, losing a child, was talk to my mother, who lost a child just before me. The boy was named Gary. My mom and my dad went though Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. A year old, and you go up to see your baby, and your baby is dead. I talked to her about that, and how they worked through that, and their different styles, and how long it lasted.
I mean, still it's just like it happened yesterday. You talk to my mom and she's right there. This is going to be a very difficult movie for those of us who also review films to explain, without making it sound depressing. There's a kind of exhilaration about this film that sits in paradox with its depressing elements. How did you view that kind of fractured sensibility?
Well, that's that John Irving deal. He can do that so well. Death is a piece of the journey, and he can still keep the humor. Death was just the beginning of this journey.
That's how life goes, it really does. A lot of people never get over a death, or don't have a way of coping, and they just sink with the death. Many times you see the strength of people and their journeys thereafter, and I think this is exactly the way Irving writes as well.
Jeff, you talked about were drawing from life experiences to get all those details. Did you draw from life experiences to get that part of the role, too? Yeah, there's a sense of that manipulation that I can draw on of my own, you know, how I'm selfish. I can see that in myself. I don't have to observe other people, although I do that. I think your point is that's something we all do. We all have that darker side, I think. We've talked about the word manipulative, and you mentioned the word ambiguity, but the word that struck me was perversity.
I see these characters, every one of them, playing a perverse game. Did you see that? When you say that, that's kind of a relative term, I think.
What one person might call normal behavior, another person would call perverse. But it's almost out of your control, I think. Was it a coping thing? And not a thought-out thing. It's just how the body processed it. What do you think, Kim? You know, I just had a thought while you guys [were] talking about it. I loved it when I saw the trailer, and reading the book.
But it's so funny because I consider Marion the narrator in another way, because she tells what will happen. Let me tell you: This is what he's going to do. This is what I'm going to do. This is what you will do. He does a lot of studying, Jeff does, to get these characters that he plays. I've never seen another actor go through this process like he does for his characters, to where they are truly full. And I don't see that he uses anything other than his creative mind to come up with these things that he comes up with.
And I mean it, it's all Jeff. Jeff, I would say this is the first film of the year that could be an Oscar nomination. What do you think about that? Did you have the feeling that this was one of your best performances?