Saturday, December 3, 2016

MAHERSHALA ALI At ACTOR ROUNDTABLE For THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER MAG!!!


Actor Roundtable: Jeff Bridges, Casey Affleck and 4 More on "Brutal" Superhero Roles, Dream Second Careers

Actor MAHERSHALA ALI is currently starring in new film, MOONLIGHT, and is joined by fellow Actors ANDREW GARFIELD, CASEY AFFLECK, DEV PATEL, JEFF BRIDGES, and JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT, for THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER Magazine: ACTORR ROUNDTABLE!!!

Here are a few interview interludes:
When you met the real-life character you played, how did that shape your performance?
Patel It was the most terrifying thing I've ever been through, because I'd shot the end of the film first — so I felt like I knew this guy, Saroo Brierley. He's the epitome of a fiercely driven young man, and he's got this photographic memory, which is incredible. This is a guy who found his mother from space, using Google Earth. And he could remember his past so vividly that he could gather so much information from these pixels. And I [said], "What is that like?" He's like, "Every click of that mouse, I felt like I was getting one step closer to her, where I could smell her." That just blew my mind.

Jeff Bridges I was digging what you were saying, Andrew. It's very paradoxical, man. The very thing you love is the thing that you hate. The first word that came to mind — what do you love or hate, you know? — flop sweat, man. Just the fear, the anxiety. The greater the gift, the greater the fear of not being able to [deliver]. I'm a product of nepotism. My dad, Lloyd Bridges, he loved showbiz so much, he wanted all his kids to get into it. I said, "Oh, but Dad, I want to do music." He said, "Don't be ridiculous. Acting is great." And maybe about 10 or 12 movies in, I had just finished a movie — and usually after a movie I say, "I don't know if I ever want to do that again. My pretend muscle is just exhausted." (Laughter.) And I get a call from my agent, and he's all excited and says, "You've just been offered, by John Frankenheimer, to be in The Iceman Cometh with Fredric March, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan." And I said, "I'm bushed." And about five minutes later, [director] Lamont Johnson calls me up and he says, "You're bushed? You're an ass." And he hung up on me. So I said, "Well, I'm just going to throw myself into this and it'll probably be the final nail in the acting coffin." And it was eight weeks of rehearsal with Fredric March and Robert Ryan. And to see the anxiety that these guys had, and the fear of doing the thing justice, and then to see the joy that they had at the same time — I was caught up in that and realized that this fear and anxiety probably will never go away, and it's your buddy, how you play with it, how you dance with it.

Mahershala Ali In some way it's an indication that I'm in the right place, because the fear is kind of informing me: I'm in the place where the known is ending and the unknown is beginning. And that is our job, to consistently put ourselves in a position where we're uncomfortable and going beyond our comfort zone. If you're fortunate enough to build a career, a little pebble is put out in front of you, and you've got to step toward it, and with each step you're hopefully going further out and getting beyond what you've done before and exploring territory that has yet to be explored. So you have to really make friends with that fear. It's a bit of a tightrope walk.

What real-life characters would you like to play?
Ali [Boxer] Jack Johnson. Someone who was definitely going to live life on his own terms, who was very much flawed, hyper-masculine, but also really aware of the soil of that time and what he was coming out of, making certain choices that were both a statement of his masculinity but also a cry for help.
Patel I don't know what I would like to play, but I know what I'm afraid of playing: those big studio movies. After Slumdog, I did a film that was not well received at all [2010's The Last Airbender]. The budget of Slumdog was like the budget of the craft services of this movie. And I completely felt overwhelmed by the experience. I felt like I wasn't being heard. That was really scary for me, and that's really when I learned the power of no, the idea of saying no. Listen to that instinct you get when you read those words for the first time.

Are roles more limited for non-white actors?
Ali Take it, brother.
Patel Oh, man. Look, I think everyone at this table has probably faced a pigeonhole in some shape or form. My motto is, you've got to take on the mold to break it.
Ali It has to change from the inside out, like from a Barry Jenkins [the writer-director of Moonlight], someone who is from Liberty City, Florida, and having his own experiences that are worthy of a narrative. But part of the challenge is to transcend race, so you bring something unique to a character that maybe wasn't written for a black person.
Affleck As a group of artists, as a community, we have an obligation to try to open doors. But it's really hard to go just from top down. There also have to be arts programs in schools.
Last question. You're on a desert island and can have one actor or actress with you. Who?
Garfield Emma Stone. I love Emma. [They dated for several years.] She's all right. She can come.
Gordon-Levitt Orson Welles.
Bridges I've got to fire up my dad, man. Why not?
Affleck I want to take the little kid from Lion [Sunny Pawar].
Patel It would have to be Bruce Lee, man. I am the biggest Bruce Lee fan.
Ali My brother Andre Holland. He really inspires me. I told him this the other day. I was like, "Man, I want to do acting push-ups after watching you work."
-CCG



Mahershala Ali

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