Would you ever kind of exaggerate your performance to perhaps make your character look a bit more shady?
No, I’m always quite genuine with honesty of the journey. I think in this case it was so cleverly interwoven that I wasn’t manipulating. He wasn’t being manipulating and I didn’t need to manipulate him, you see what I mean? I think it works and his real reaction was going to be enough within the dynamic of the plot.
You mentioned the fact that he goes to the doctor to get pills. He clearly self-medicates in addition to the fact that he prescribes medications at the drop of a hat. I’m curious about what you think about that aspect of his character, as a user, and what you think this movie has to say about our culture where prescription medications are everywhere?
Something that I learned very quickly, and I have a lot of respect for too – it’s an area where you have to become mindful, cautious – is that psychiatrists have complete faith in their medicine. They’re committed to it. It’s their world.
Would you call it a faith?
Yeah! I was going to say faith! Because I think you’re right. It’s a commitment to it. It’s an understanding. They can tweak it and hone, and of course they have to believe in it because it’s what they preach. It’s what they give. So the idea that they would self-medicate makes absolute sense. We heard stories of that happening from our consultant, who was on set every day, who worked with Scott in the writing of it, Sasha Bardey. Who is around today, actually. He’s a really interesting man and a very successful psychiatrist. A lot of the stories and ideas came from his experiences that Scott kind of weaned out.
And in a way, in that answer is how I feel about pharmaceuticals in general. On the one hand they are remarkable things and I saw some really moving situations with some really sick people who had obviously had their lives turned around and given an opportunity to live a normal life. And equally you see other people or you hear stories about people who are just in a terrible state because they are using it as a shortcut and don’t necessarily need it. And it starts that cycle of thinking, “Oh, I’ll do it just once.” “Oh, that was good, I didn’t get that anxious.” Or, “Oh, I really slept better.” And suddenly you pop them and there’s always a price. So what this film does that I think is really clever is that it offers that on a very level playing field. It’s not preaching. It’s suggesting the conversation that should be had. And I liked that. I liked that it has a generosity – it shows it as it is.