Monday, July 17, 2006

Matt Dillon: You, Me & Dupree (Q & A)

I've been checking Matt Dillon's work every since I first caught him in the outsiders way back when...I stopped paying attention for a minute and then he got back all up in my face with those big ass dentures in There's Something About Mary. After getting nommed for an Academy Award last year for his turn as a bigoted beat cop, Dillon's returning this summer with lighter fare: a comedy called You, Me & Dupree in which he co-stars w/ owen Wilson and Kate Hudson. As written in earlier entries, I covered the junket for the film last month over at the Casa Del Mar, below's a bit of what dude had to say...

Q: Kate Hudson said that the two of you were two entirely different types of actors but you all gelled together on set.

Matt Dillon: Well, in fact, I think, yeah, we were different -- our backgrounds, our training or whatever -- but I found I was really pleasantly surprised. Owen worked very spontaneously, we did a fair amount of ad-libbing and I found that to be really refreshing because I like to work that way. In comedy I think that can be gold because you just never know what's going to work -- there's a kind of magic that can happen when your spontaneous and, also, it keeps you connected, you know. I liked the way Owen worked, it's very natural.

Q: You might think after Crash you'd get more heavy and dramatic roles thrown your way -- are you intentionally re-directing yourself toward the comedies?

MD: Generally, I like to do comedy but I'll be perfectly honest, I like to do dramas and more character driven stuff but I like to do comedy and I've found [the role in YMD to be] one of the more difficult roles to have to play -- more challenging -- because the character's kind of the straight guy, he's very reactive. And I think with a comedy and with that type of a character it's in a look or a reaction and God knows I had plenty of those in this film. I felt like for me it was very important that in the end, Carl stands up for himself...and also that he had a hand in all of this chaos. In fact, he was the one who makes the decision to invite Dupree into his home -- he kind of deserves, to a certain extent, whatever he gets. I think Carl is the character that most people will identify with. Because we've all had -- well, I've certainly had multiple "Duprees" in my life.

Q: You ever had a woman come between your friendship with another guy?

MD: Well, they say good fences make good neighbors -- this is clearly not something that Dupree lives by. He has real boundary problems and that is maybe the worst aspect of Dupree in a way. Worst in the fact that he burns down Carl's living room and sofa and that he runs around naked - it's one of the ways that he puts Carl in the doghouse. That is really sort of unforgiveable, to get a friend in trouble with his wife.

Q: You ever try to win a girl back?

MD: Yeah, I've come back hat in hand on many occasions but it's better not to get yourself in that position in the first place, if you can avoid it -- sometimes it's unavoidable and sometimes you just never know what the reaction's going to be and you have to be prepared for that; something might not go the way you want it to go. But fortunately, in this film, it all works out.

Q: Since the early My Bodyguard days when you were starting out, did you pick up any tips from older actors that you've held onto over the years?

MD: You know, I was pretty young at that point and I had studied a fair amount as an actor but I was very serious about it. I remember at that age there were so many actors that I admired, great actors like Brando, Dean, Clift, those guys and then that next generation of guys like Pacino, Deniro, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman and Robert Duvall. I was conscious of those great actors, those older actors, and I admired them but I really hadn't, at that point, worked with any of them. But I remember I had an acting teacher and one of the things that was encouraged -- which is what I liked about Owen's work -- was to keep it fresh and spontaneous, that's the magic of film, often...I've noticed at times throughout my career that the moment in scenes that I've done where I was like 'that was just awful', turned out to be the best scenes, some of my best work -- it's interesting because something authentic is happening. When I forgot my line or I didn't know what I was doing at that moment or I lost focus, what in fact is happening is something very organic and real it's happening in that moment. I think that's where I've learned to accept that those are the real magic moments that happen when you're being spontaneous.

Q: Have you ever been a "Dupree" to your brother Kevin or has he ever been one to you?

MD: Yeah, I think all of my brothers, at one point you know, and friends - I've had a number of "Duprees" in my life. For instance, you end up putting up with things because you like these guys and, in spite their shortcomings, they're your friends...it's hard to know because a "Dupree's" unaware of the fact that he's this crazy-maker, so I'm sure I've been that to somebody but I was probably unaware of it. [laughs] And I'd say, if I was a house guest, maybe, I have a tendency to play my music loud and that might be something that bothers people -- and my driving. I've been accused of not being the safest driver.

Q: At what stage is your movie Factotem in?

MD: Factotem, based on the Charles Bukowski book, is coming out in the first or second week of August. It's a comedy of a different variety, a very character-based film. I had a great time doing it...the film making was very interesting because I'd just let the scene play out in front of the camera without doing a lot of editing without doing a lot of [multiple camera angle] coverage and at first I had my concerns about it but then I discovered that that's what's great about it. You get a performance that unadulterated, that sort of puts it back into the actor's hands. It was a different kind of comedy and then when I get to run around bare-assed with the crabs -- it was fun, there was a lot of things that I liked about it. I felt like it was a film that I hadn't seen before.

Q: And the directing?

MD: Oh yeah, I think it goes back to when I did Factotem I was working on a screenplay and I put it down because I had to get to work on Factotem...I did Dupree and then after that we had the whole awards season which took up a lot of time and now I'm ready. It's funny doing comedy. A comedy can be very physically challenging...you do a lot of takes, we did a lot of takes in [Dupree] and in some of the scenes I'm really high-pitched, exploding and yelling and my voice went. But anyway, I'm working on that screen play and there's a few things that I'm developing. I have to say that I'm really happy when I'm directing -- I really like that process of film making. And I think that what I learned,when I look back on my experience, is that I really just focused on what I love doing and it makes me very happy, looking back on that.

Q: Owen's worked with his brothers a lot, are you going to work with Kevin in anything any time soon?

MD: I don't know, I think the hard thing about that show is that he's got a brother already, so I don't know if that would work out. But what we've talked about maybe [working in] one that I direct, we've talked about it for years but we never really found a script that was [good]. In fact, I had a part for him in City of Ghosts in the beginning of the film and it got cut out but yeah, we've talked about that over the years and, ultimately, we'll find something and it'll be a lot of fun.

Q: You cut your brother out of your own movie?

MD: No, I think I ended up cutting out 15 pages of the screenplay before I started shooting and then I added about 15 minutes at the beginning of the movie -- I ended up cutting out like a half an hour out of it -- and, I'd spoke to a film maker once and he said 'every movie is work time -- always cut out the first 15 minutes, you just have to'. I think that's very interesting and it just goes to show -- I heard a writer one time say, a screenwriter: 'always start [to shoot] the scene as late as you possibly can. I think rules are made to be broken but that's actually a good rule...I prefer short scenes in film, you know scenes that play out short, crisp and to the point. If you streamline it, get down to what the core of the scene is; what that important moment is. I always find that introductions are clusters in movies when characters tell us something about who they are -- let's just cut to the chase, we've already met each other, okay, now let's get into what the meeting's about; what the relationship's about.

Q: They were talking about this in the movie a little, what's Matt Dillon's perfect girl?

MD: I like a girl with a sense of humor. Someone who's easy going, I think the best relationship to get into with a woman is when the woman knows where your buttons are. I don't want to be in a relationship with someone who pushes all your buttons but you want them to know where they are - you want them to be clued in to where they are, you don't want to be with someone who's clueless to who you are. That's pretty ideal, right? If you're talking about specific actresses, I always liked Carol Lombard...she was great to me,man -- pretty funny, I had kind of a crush on her.

Q: You've been acting since you were a kid, you're 42 now and last year you got your first Academy nomination - what did that feel like? Did it change anything? Does it make a difference to get a nomination?

MD: Yeah, I get more bad scripts. [laughs] that doesn't sound right. I wanted to say that that was a lot of fun -- it really was a great experience Obviously it doesn't happen every time -- there were a lot of terrific films made last year that didn't get recognized, performances, so it was really an honor to get recognized like that...there are a lot of people that are upset that Don Juan or Brokeback didn't win [Best Picture] and I was like 'what do they bother getting upset about?' In fact, all the movies that got nominated won, you know? At the end of the day, it's a great honor; I don't say that that [particular] film is my favorite because it won the Oscar in 1956. I judge films on the way that they're made and I'm really proud to be a part of [Crash]. To me, I just show up like I do and some of the parts, the weightiness really lent itself to the kind of work that I can do.

Q: You feel any pressure from it, though? Getting more scripts to read through?

MD: No, actually it's a good thing -- for me, I don't feel like I've ever been in a better time, careerwise...It's fun to do this comedy with these people, it's a bigger studio comedy and it's a nice contrast to what I did with Crash. But also because I have this film Factotem coming out which I'm enourmously pleased with and it's just been a great period of time for me, you know, I'm excited about the future -- I really feel that there couldn't be a better situation than to be where I'm at right now. I don't know what's next...I've been reading scripts and, to be honest, one of the things that I have to do is get back to what I was doing before Factotem which is to finish that script/ screenplay, to follow through.

You, Me and Dupree opened July 14th.

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