Monday, January 29, 2007

Guy Pearce on playing Houdini

Actor Guy Pearce has spoken with Movies Online about what it was like to play Houdini in the new film, Death Defying Acts, co-starring Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Q: You’re also playing Harry Houdini in a movie, how did you approach that? Obviously there’s not video on him.

GP: No, I treated that completely differently. It’s almost a fictional fairytale anyway. There’s footage of Houdini and there’s audio stuff of him, but I decided to go in a completely different direction and really just work off what my own imaginative response was to the script anyway, I think, rather than really just trying to channel somebody, which is what I felt like I tried to do with Andy in a way.

Q: Is Death Defying Acts the name of the film?

GP: Yeah

Q: When is that coming out?

GP: I don’t know actually, because I think they’re still putting it together. We only finished it in October.

Q: What was the movie that you got bulked up for?

GP: It was for Harry Houdini, it was Death Defying Acts.

Q: Was that because it was a physically demanding role?

GP: It wasn’t that I had to build up because it was more physical, I had to build up because Houdini is built like a Sherman tank. I was 63 kilos when I made Factory Girl, and I was 75 kilos when I did Death Defying Acts. It’s interesting really to play the two characters back-to-back because Andy is so light, white, fey, everything about him is floaty and kind of light and not wanting to be noticed in a way, whereas Houdini was very grounded, very gruff, very deep voice, he’s very masculine, completely opposite ends of the spectrum, as far as physicality and a number of other things, both highly self-promoting, poor immigrants of the 20th century, but aside from that they were pretty different.

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