Paul Gaita at LA Times has a new Q & A with Garret. A part of it is below, for the rest go here.
The Road should get an expanded release in the U.S. tomorrow, so check your local listings if you haven’t had the chance to see it yet.
Is it true that villains get the best lines?
I guess they get a lot of good lines, huh? I like them — they’re complex, and I like complex characters. Sometimes the villains are the only ones that are completely drawn.
It’s funny, because I’ve actually played a ton of good guys, funny guys — I played Jesus Christ (in the short-lived and controversial series “The Book of Daniel“). But people remember the bad guys (laughs).
Your character in “The Road” is particularly unsavory. What is the challenge to playing such a role?
There have been a lot of discussions about it online — people wondering what would they do to survive. To what level would they stoop if there was no food, no vegetation, no animal life. What would you do? Would you just forage for canned goods? And when they ran out, then what? How bad would you want to feed your child?
He’s just a guy with a little bit weaker moral fiber than Viggo [Mortensen]’s character. He didn’t choose the noble route, like a lot of people in that world. And the result of him ignoring his soul is what you see on screen.
So is that what moves you from medium to medium? Because you’ve found some great projects in both television and film.
Yeah, I like to have fun — I think that’s a good way to live. I think you’re better at your job if you like it. And I’m a bit of a frustrated writer — I’m not very skilled at that, and I thought that was what I was going to be. So it doesn’t seem like such a big coincidence that a lot of stuff I’ve done has been adaptation of [books by] my favorite authors. I was planning to make Ron Hansen’s “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” for about 15 years. I thought I was the only one to know about it. I was going to play Jesse James, of course. (Dillahunt played the outlaw Ed Miller in the 2007 film version with Brad Pitt).
But you just find these stories, and I don’t care about the size of the part, you know? In the end, it’s got to be about the story. I can’t speak for every actor, but I imagine that’s what everyone wants when they sign on to do a role.
You’ve said in interviews that you are a fan of Cormac McCarthy’s work. What is the appeal for you?
The first one I read was “Blood Meridian,” like a lot of college guys. I was just blown away by that one-sentence paragraph where the Comanches come upon the scalphunters. It’s just stunning — the image of the guy wearing the blood-stained wedding veil — the way he would describe things was so evocative to me. Each line was somehow laden with emotion and history. I think my favorite of his books might be “Suttree.” If you read it, you can tell me why that guy doesn’t die (laughs). There’s something larger and thematic [in his work] than what’s going on, and that’s appealing to me.
“The Road” might be a challenging film for a lot of viewers, who could see it as having very little light in it. What do you hope that audiences take away from it?
I’m kind of sad that people might have that sort of knock on it — that it’s a bleak film. I think it’s actually more hopeful than “No Country for Old Men.” That felt like it was saying, “This is how it is, and there’s no change.” At the end of this, as it is in the book, it seems to be about the unquenchable spirit of man. [Viggo’s character] finds another home and more good guys. Maybe they have a little garden.
What’s your general response to critical praise and talk of nominations and awards?
I’m an ensemble guy, I guess — that comes from the theater. If I ever won some kind of award someday, I imagine I’d try to be very gracious, but in the end, I just want to keep working. I don’t see why that, if you just put your mind to it and keep sowing the right seeds, you can’t keep doing the things you want to do. When we won the SAG Award for “Old Men,” that was the perfect award, because it takes so many people to make a movie. Someone’s always going to argue with the individual awards. [LA Times]