This year Scoot McNairy and Domhnall Gleeson were named two of Variety's 10 actors to watch at the Hamptons International Film Festival. Scoot was also at HIFF to promote the much anticipated "Argo" while Dom was at HIFF promoting "Shadow Dancer". I sat down with Scoot to discuss "Argo", working with Ben Affleck and being named on of Variety's 10 actors to watch and Dom stopped by to "crash the interview", chat about the Hamptons and "Shadow Dancer".
"Argo" just went to the Toronto International Film Festival, recently had it's Los Angeles Premiere and is getting quite a bit of buzz. According to Scoot, "People seem to really, really, like it and I am just excited to be a part of it."
When asked how he prepared for the role, Scoot responded, "They kinda did a lot of the work for us." His character Joe Stafford was unavailable for questioning and has been for awhile, but Warner Brother and director Ben Affleck put together boxes of research and timelines. Scoot said, "They put us in this house for a week with nothing but pre 1979 movies, Variety's magazines, Time magazines, People magazines, and they gave us our clothing from 1979 , so we just kinda sat in that house and riffled through old films, got familiar with 1979 and that time period."
After being in the house Scoot said, "Then it was just kinda about taking certain things to create the character because I didn't know much about him." What was known about Joe Stafford was he was very difficult in the house and wasn't 100 percent convinced that the plan was going to work. Scoot used this during filming and said, "I kinda took that and ran with it as much as a could."
As Scoot finished talking about his preparation for "Argo", Dom was brought over to join the interview. Scoot yelled, "Dom" and Dom joked, "We are crashing your party" to which Scoot replied, "Your damn right you are."
Scoot continued about his character in "Argo" saying, "Joe had this experience, I think he went through it, wanted to get back to his life and politics and maybe he just wanted to put it behind him." He continued, "With that being said it was in a way exciting because I didn't have it available to create the character off of somebody so it gave me a lot more freedom to interpret what I wanted to do with the character."
Scoot enjoyed the filming of the "Argo" and said, "We would do three or four takes on script and after Ben would be like make it your own, improvise, say what you want and we would film three or four improvised versions." Scoot credits the bond the five actors in making the improvised scenes work so well. He stated, "The five of us created such a bond living in that house together, so the comfortably is different than most jobs where you don't get to know the person. We became incredibly close so those improvised scenes we have together feel really real and really honest and they are all such amazing actors which I got to work with and that makes the job 1000 times easier as well."
It was both Scoot and Dom's first time in the Hamptons and both were amazed the beauty of the Hamptons. Dom said, "It's gorgeous here, we walked to beach yesterday and you think the houses are all the same size but then you realize they are just getting bigger and further from the road." To which Scoot chimed in, "We think Tim Burton designed the Hamptons," and Dom replied, "Yeah that's exactly it." I pointed out it looks too perfect for Tim Burton, to which Dom countered, "Well you don't know what's going on behind close doors" and Scoot thinks, "They never let him paint it that's why."
After a brief distraction discussing the Hamptons, we focused back on "Argo". When asked if Scoot faced any challenges during "Argo", he found some in the preparation process but during filming not so much. Scoot said, "Their was so much information to take in and so much to educate yourself on, what happened and what was going on at that time." He continued, "That was the most challenging thing, to get through all that because you only had a month to prepare, which some jobs you have even less than that. You just making sure you read enough of the work."
His process as actor is to do all the research and all the work to prepare until the first day of shooting and then he puts it all away and doesn't look back at it. He explained, "At that point I feel like I should be in character and I want to leave myself open to making mistakes and falling on my face because I feel like that is the best work when I mess up." He feels like at that point you are prepared and in character, the only thing he needs to do is make himself available to the director.
When asked whether he was surprised at the buzz surround by "Argo", Scoot responded, "Yes and no, I was a huge fan of Ben's movie "The Town", it was an incredible well done film and so no I had a lot of trust going in." He praised his director saying, "Ben made two really great movies so its not really a shocker to me that he has made a third one. It's just a stamp of approval on Ben that this is filmmaker to be recognized with and this is a filmmaker that is going to be around for a long time."
When asked how the actors felt being named one of Variety's 10 actors to watch Dom thought it was really cool to find out but said, "You don't really know what it is or what it does," and joked "It's a really nice thing that somebody decided you get to come to the Hamptons." To which Scoot interjected, "Like who made that decision, I really don't feel like I should be here."
Dom was at HIFF to promote "Shadow Dancer" which was directed James Marsh and Dom plays an IRA terrorist. He said, "Marsh also directed "Man on Wire" to which Scoot replied, "No way!" and Dom raved, "Yeah, he's such a good filmmaker."
Scoot chimed in, "If anything it's interesting for me meeting these other nine actors because its like now you've met them and you know hopefully you will be on a job with them over the next five to ten years and the ice has already been broken." He continued, "You've seen their work, you understand they are great at what they do and you start getting excited, and think well now I wanna work with them. It's really nice to meet them in this atmosphere as opposed to being thrown on a set with them."
To which Dom responded, "It's totally true, their was a thing like this a couple of years ago called the Shooting Stars in Berlin and myself and Alicia (another Variety 10 Actor to Watch) were two of the Shooting Stars and then we found out we were shooting a film together and we already knew each other a bit and kept in contact." He though it was great showing up to rehearsals already knowing a co-star and having an established bond. The interview finished with Dom saying, "Keep your fingers crossed it will happen to some folks here." After my joint interview with Scoot and Dom, personally I hope these two team up for a film.
You can catch Scoot in "Argo" which debuts on October 12, 2012.
For more information on the Hamptons International Film Festval visit: hamptonsfilmfest.org