Tiller Russell’s latest film, Silk Road, starring Nick Robinson and Jason Clarke, tells the true story of Ross Ulbricht from the creation of the narcotic-selling website Silk Road to his arrest. When actors portray real people, it can be seen as less challenging because there is direct material to inform the personality and a real live person to mimic, but also more challenging because there is a person to compare the performance to and judge its authenticity. Nick Robinson opened up about how he prepared to play Ross Ulbricht without meeting him.
The story of Silk Road is quite fascinating. The film follows Ross Ulbricht (Nick Robinson) as he creates this website that spins wildly out of his control and concurrently follows DEA agent Rick Bowden (Jason Clarke) as he goes undercover to build a case against Ulbricht. Nick Robinson chatted with CinemaBlend about his process of preparing for the role of an existing person. Here’s what he shared:
A diary of sorts certainly seems to be as close to a person’s inner-most thoughts as one can get. Silk Road displays various aspects of Ross Ulbricht’s personality as he changes over time with the demands of his website. He starts out as an easy-going college-aged kid with an idea, but that idea soon consumes his life and decisions and he starts to spiral. Nick Robinson gives an excellent performance in the film, capturing the genius, hopeful, desperate, and despairing parts of Ulbricht.
Ross Ulbricht was given a life sentence without the possibility of parole, and director Tiller Russell intentionally did not comment on that in the film. He wants the audience to decide whether they agree with the outcome, and has said that he sees Silk Road as a sort of Frankenstein story where the creator lost control of his creation. Nick Robinson commented on this aspect as well, saying:
Sounds like lead actor Nick Robinson and director Tiller Russell were on the same page with Silk Road being the story of a well-intentioned project gone wrong. Silk Road is now available (opens in new tab) on Apple TV, Prime Video and everywhere you rent and buy movies. What do you think of the outcome of this story?
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