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After playing one of the most jovial men in cinema as Richard Sherman in Saving Mr. Banks, Jason Schwartzman could naturally only follow this with a character exhibiting a more negative attitude. He’ll apparently be delivering the most jerkass performance of his career as novelist Philip in the drama Listen Up Philip, Alex Ross Perry’s follow-up to his acclaimed dialogue-driven comedic drama The Color Wheel. And even though you can’t properly gauge Philip’s overall demeanor from just a photo, the film’s first four stills have been released, showing off the small but talented cast in full.
You can tell two distinct facts from the image above: Philip is an author who isn’t afraid of facial hair, and the images come from EW. Luckily, the magazine also catches up with Perry, Schwartzman and co-star Elizabeth Moss (Mad Men) to dig into the storyline and characters of the film, which will premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival on January 20. A New York-based film about a moody thirtysomething trying to accomplish a dream; somebody call the Original Thought Police! (Kidding, as I actually can’t wait for this flick.)
Schwartzman plays the narcissistic and on-edge titular author who is stressing over the release of his sophomore effort, all while dealing with his staling relationship with girlfriend Ashley (Moss). He has some kind of friendship with his literary idol Ike Zimmerman, played by Jonathan Pryce (G.I. Joe: Retaliation), whose daughter is played by Krysten Ritter (Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23). The latter two roles’ presences in the film aren’t detailed just yet, but let’s take a look at how everyone looks with a few more film stills.
Not a lot to discern from these pics beyond the discomfort of the cat that Moss is holding. I almost wish we could see Philip doing something standoffish, but we’re left with just their words about how much of a jerk he is in the film. Schwartzman cites the James Salter short story "Last Night" as influencing him to think for the first time that not all main characters need to be trusted and liked, but said he still "kept having to fight my instincts to make things socially acceptable at all times."
Fans of Schwartzman know that he started out his career as one of the most loveably pompous jackasses in cinema for his debut role of Max Fischer in Wes Anderson’s Rushmore, so the role of Philip won’t be completely out of his wheelhouse. Watch out for the Viet Cong.