Saturday, September 06, 2008
How to Be a Leading Hollywood Player When You're Lazy
Ricky Gervais's new film, Ghost Town is due for release on September 18. I saw the trailer when we went to see Vicky Cristina Barcelona last week. While doing my regular surfing, I came across an Esquire article Ricky has written and it's hilarious. You can also read it here.
The Best Advice Is: Be in charge. Then you can do anything. If you're not in charge, always play characters who have your haircut. That saves an hour in the morning. No wigs, no beards. Forget it. I had to wear a beard for one day. Ridiculous. Forty minutes. No. My haircut: ten minutes. And don't choose ridiculous costumes. Choose normal clothes. Ordinary trousers, ordinary shoes that you can put on yourself. Costume: five minutes. Hair and makeup: ten minutes. That's it. No costumes. No wigs. Own haircut.
Two: Do your own accent. You don't want to have vocal coaching. Don't do anything that needs skill. If there's a scene and it says " . . . rides a horse," say, "You do not need me to ride that horse." Because you'll have to learn how to ride a horse. That could take, like, two weeks. Too busy. Too much trouble.
Three: Always say that your character should be sitting down. Don't ever be standing at the beginning of a scene. So if it starts off, "There's a knock at the door, you get up and answer the door," you'll be up and down for eight hours. Convince them that you should sit there and say, "Come in." When we were filming Ghost Town, I tried to convince the director, David Koepp, that we should do a remake of Ironside together. It's the old TV drama with Raymond Burr as a detective in a wheelchair. Also, I've always wanted to play someone in a coma. Just comes out of it at the end. I was really jealous of Colin Farrell when I found out that Phone Booth was shot in just 16 days. Some of it, he was sitting on the floor of the telephone box. One location, sitting down.
Four: If there are long and complicated monologues, cut them. Say, "I don't think I'd say that." No one will think you're being lazy; it comes across as integrity.
So if any directors are reading this, I will work every day. I will give it my all. I will give it everything. I will give you 100 percent between the hours of, say, eight and six. And that's from pickup to wrap. If it's, like, two miles away, you can't go, "You'll be picked up at six, it'll be over at eight." You're having a laugh. My pickup is no earlier than seven-thirty. I'm not a maniac. I have to be wrapped by six. Five-day weeks. I only shoot in London and New York. No night shoots. No wigs. No nudity--that's more for the general public's sake as opposed to mine. And let's not go on and on with it. Let's try to keep it under five, six weeks. So, Spielberg--your move.
--As told to David Walters