Book-Based Movies

10.15.18

Paul Dano & Carey Mulligan Discuss "Wildlife"

In "Wildlife," directed by Paul Dano and elegantly adapted from Richard Ford's novel of the same name, Carey Mulligan delivers one of her finest performances to date as Jeanette, a complex woman whose self-determination and self-involvement disrupts the values and expectations of a 1960s nuclear family. Fourteen-year-old Joe is the only child of Jeanette (Mulligan) and Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal)--a housewife and a golf pro--in a small town in 1960s Montana. Nearby, an uncontrolled forest fire rages close to the Canadian border, and when Jerry loses his job--and his sense of purpose--he decides to join the cause of fighting the fire, leaving his wife and son to fend for themselves. Suddenly forced into the role of an adult, Joe witnesses his mother's struggle as she tries to keep her head above water. With precise details and textures of its specific time and place, "Wildlife" commits to the viewpoint of a teenage boy observing the gradual dissolution of his parents' marriage.

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>>> THANKS, EVERYBODY. THANK YOU SO MUCH. WELCOME TO BUILD. MY NEXT GUEST IS THE DIRECTOR AND STAR OF THE DEVASTATINGLY BEAUTIFUL NEW FILM, "WILDLIFE.” IN IT CAREY MULLIGAN IS A HOUSEWIFE WHO SUFFERS A BREAKDOWN AFTER HER HUSBAND LEAVES TOWN. PAUL DANO'S DEBUT FILM IS BEAUTIFUL, HEARTBREAKING AND INCREDIBLY WELL DONE. LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT THE TRAILER.

>> SORRY, I'M LATE.

>> TALK TO YOUR FATHER. TELL HIM NOT TO ACT LIKE A FOOL.

>> I'M NOT BEING FOOLISH. I PUT MY NAME ON THE LIST. I WAITED FOR MY CHANCE, NOW THEY HAVE A PLACE FOR ME.

>> YOU DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT FIRES. YOU'LL GET BURNED UP.

>> I'VE BEEN READING ABOUT THEM.

>> READING ABOUT THEM? YOU'VE BEEN STUDYING THEM UP?

>> DON'T TURN MY WORDS ON ME.

>> WHAT'S GOING ON?

>> YOUR FATHER IS LEAVING US TO FIGHT THOSE WILDFIRES.

>> WHAT? WHY?

>> ASK HIM. YOU WON'T GO TO WORK AT A GROCERY STORE BUT YOU'LL GO OUT WITH A BUNCH OF DEADBEATS AND GET BURNED UP.

>> WHAT?

>> WHAT DOES IT PAY?

>> A DOLLAR AN HOUR.

>> WHAT IF YOU GET YOURSELF KILLED.

>> WHAT DO YOU THINK? IS THIS A BAD IDEA? DON'T ASK HIM. [OVERLAPPING CONVERSATION]

>> DON'T SAY THAT!

>> YOU CAN'T KEEP RUNNING EVERY TIME SOMETHING HAPPENS!

>> YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M GOING.

>> DON'T I?

>> EVERYBODY, PLEASE WELCOME WRITER, DIRECTOR, PAUL DANO AND STAR CAREY MULLIGAN. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR BEING HERE. I CAN'T TELL YOU ENOUGH HOW MUCH I LOVED THIS FILM. ALL THESE KIND WORDS ARE MORE THAN WORTH IT. IT'S A BEAUTIFUL FILM.

>> THAT'S SO NICE.

>> THANK YOU.

>> LET’S GO BACK TO THE BEGINNING. YOU CO-WROTE THIS FILM WITH YOUR PARTNER. ZOE KAZAN. YOU HAVE BEEN WORKING ON THIS FILM FOR FOUR YEARS OR SO NOW?

>> YEAH. I READ A BOOK THERE 2011, 2012. TOOK ROOTS IN ME IMMEDIATELY. I THOUGHT COULD THIS BE A FILM? COULD THIS BE MY FILM? THEN I INTERROGATED IT FOR ABOUT A YEAR. WHY ME? WHY? CAN THIS WORK?

>> HAD YOU BEEN WANTING TO MAKE A FILM PRIOR? HAVE YOU BEEN THINKING ABOUT THAT?

>> YEAH, FOR SOME TIME. I COULDN'T PUT PEN TO PAPER. I COULDN'T COME UP WITH IT. THEN THIS WAS IT. I WROTE A FIRST DRAFT, WHICH I SECRETLY THOUGHT WAS PRETTY GOOD. I GAVE IT TO ZOE AND SHE JUST TORE IT APART. SHE IS A PROPER WRITER. THIS WAS MY FIRST GO AT IT, SO I WAS PARTICULARLY VULNERABLE.

>> SO WHAT A GOOD PARTNER WITH GOOD TASTE WILL DO IS BE BRUTALLY HONEST WITH YOU.

>> I SUPPOSE SO. I COULD HAVE USED MORE SUGAR ON THE FIRST SET OF NOTES. WE FOUGHT ENOUGH FIVE PAGES IN, SHE SAID LET ME DO A PASS. I THINK IT WOULD BE EASIER TO SHOW YOU RATHER THAN TELL YOU. I SAID GREAT. WHICH I REALLY THINK I WAS PROBABLY LIKE IF YOU'RE SO SMART, YOU DO IT.

>> GET ME OUT OF THIS NOTES CONVERSATION.

>> THEN WE BASICALLY TRADED THE DRAFT BACK AND FORTH. WHICH WAS A REALLY FRUITFUL WAY FOR US TO WORK NOT ONLY AS A COUPLE, BUT I THINK IT ALLOWED US TO EACH PUT OURSELVES IN IT PERSONALLY, JUST START TO TAKE STEPS AWAY FROM THE BOOK IN A HEALTHY WAY. SO FOLLOW THE CHARACTERS AND LET IT BECOME A FILM.

>> WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN THE FILM? OBVIOUSLY EVERYWHERE BECAUSE YOU CO-WROTE IT AND DIRECTED IT BUT IS THERE A THEME IN THE FILM YOU FEEL CLOSE TO?

>> THE BOY'S EXPERIENCE. I THINK SORT OF THE MYSTERY OF WHO OUR PARENTS ARE IS ONE OF THE FIRST INTOXICATING THINGS ABOUT IT. THAT MOMENT WHEN YOU REALIZE YOUR PARENTS HAD A PAST LIFE AND THEY HAVE PROBLEMS. THEY'RE LIKE REAL PEOPLE. SORT OF-- I DON'T KNOW. SOMETHING ABOUT WAKING UP ONE DAY AND THE WORLD'S DIFFERENT AND YOU'RE GROWING UP. I SAW MY PARENTS AND MY GRANDPARENTS IN IT, TOO. THE HOPE IS THAT, YOU KNOW, WE ALL HAVE A FAMILY. FAMILY IS JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS WHERE NO MATTER WHAT WE GO THROUGH, WE'RE STILL FAMILY IN SOME CAPACITY. EVEN IF THERE'S DIVORCE-- MY PARENTS ARE STILL MY PARENTS. YOUR CHILD IS STILL YOUR CHILD. THERE'S NOT THAT MANY THINGS IN THE WORLD THAT YOU CAN SAY THAT ABOUT WHERE THE BOND IS SO DEEP. IT'S JUST PART OF YOU FOREVER.

>> CAREY YOUR PERFORMANCE IS EXTRAORDINARY IN THIS MOVIE. ONE THING THAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT YOUR PERFORMANCE IS ALL THE THINGS YOU DON'T SAY THAT YOU HAVE TO SAY WITH YOUR FACE. THERE'S SO MANY MOMENTS WHERE YOU'RE DOING SOMETHING-- I HESITATE TO SAY UGLY, BUT SOMETHING YOU WOULDN'T NECESSARILY DO WITH YOUR CHILD BUT YOUR CHARACTER IS HEART BROKEN SO SHE'S CONSISTENTLY WALKING THIS LINE OF WHETHER OR NOT SHE'S DOING THE RIGHT THING, KNOWING SHE'S DOING THE WRONG THING, SHE CAN'T STOP HERSELF BECAUSE OF HOW SHE'S PERSONALLY FEELING. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT CREATING THIS PERFORMANCE AND KNOWING HOW YOU WOULD BEHAVE MOMENT TO MOMENT ON CAMERA?

>> YEAH. I DIDN'T REALLY KNOW GOING IN-- WE SORT OF WORKED ON IT AS WE WENT. I THINK THE SCENE YOU SHOWED IS THE TIPPING POINT. THAT'S BEFORE HER STORY IN THIS FILM STARTS. FOR 14 YEARS REALLY, OUR SON IS 14, SHE'S BEEN KEEPING IT TOGETHER. SHE NEVER DISAGREED WITH HIM. THAT SCENE WHERE THEY'RE FIGHTING, SHE'S REPRIMANDING HIM FOR HIS CHOICE IS THE FIRST TIME PROBABLY IN 14 YEARS SHE'S EVER BEHAVED LIKE THAT. SO THEN, YOU KNOW, THE REST OF THE FILM SHOWS IT SORT OF PLAYING OUT VARIOUS IDENTITIES THAT SHE MIGHT HAVE HAD HAD HER LIFE GONE A DIFFERENT WAY. THAT WAS ALL THERE IN THE SORT OF FABRIC OF THE SCRIPT WHAT WAS SO EXCITING ABOUT READING THIS ZOE AND PAUL HAD WRITTEN THIS WOMAN WHO HAS GONE OFF THE RAILS BUT TRYING TO STAY ON THE TRAIN TRACKS, BUT ALSO MOMENTS WHERE SHE'S ENJOYING NOT HAVING CONTROL. IT'S A SORT OF WONDERFUL MESS. WHAT WAS SO STRIKING ABOUT READING THE SCRIPT, THIS WOMAN WAS WRITTEN SO COMPLETELY. OFTEN THIN CHARACTERS ARE A THIN DRAWING OF WHAT A WOMAN MIGHT BE. ZOE AND PAUL THOUGHT THROUGH EVERYTHING SHE DID. MY JOB WAS TO FIGURE IT OUT FOR MYSELF WHICH WAS REALLY EXCITING.

>> I THINK SO OFTEN WITH A STORY LIKE THAT, A WOMAN OR A PERSON GOING OFF THE RAILS, TRYING TO KEEP IT TOGETHER, WE WOULD GET A COLLECTION OF SCENES, EACH DETAILED THAT ONE THING, RIGHT? WITH THIS, WE GET A COLLECTION OF SCENES WHERE THOSE FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS ARE ALL HAPPENING IN THAT ONE SCENE. WE SEE HER ON HER OWN EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER RIDE IN THE MIDST OF A COUPLE LINES OF DIALOGUE IS THAT SOMETHING YOU'RE AWARE OF WHILE DOING THOSE SCENES? DO YOU TRY TO FOCUS ON ONE THING?

>> I THINK, YEAH. I FEEL LIKE THERE WERE SCENES WHERE I WAS SORT OF COMPLETELY LOST. PAUL WAS REALLY GOOD. AS AN ACTRESS. YEAH. PAUL WAS SO GREAT. HE UNDERSTOOD HER JOURNEY SO WELL. HE WAS GREAT AT PUSHING ME. IT'S A REALLY VULNERABLE THING TO PLAY-- TO MAKE STUPID CHOICES ON CAMERA AND PLAY DRUNK ON CAMERA, PLAY OUT OF CONTROL. YOU FEEL LIKE, YOU KNOW, IT'S JUST SORT OF EXPOSING. I THINK MY INSTINCTS SOMETIMES IS TO HOLD BACK A BIT. PAUL WAS GOOD AT ALLOWING ME TO DO THINGS, MAKE MISTAKES, DO IT TEN TIMES, CHANGE IT. SO THE STUFF AND THE MORE TRICKY SCENES IN THE FILM ARE A RESULT OF WORKING WITH PAUL, TO TRY TO UNDERSTAND WHERE SHE IS. SOMETIMES SHE HAS NO IDEA.

>> YEAH.

>> CAREY IS SORT OF UNDERSELLING HERSELF HERE. IT'S LIKE WORKING WITH THE GREATEST BALLERINA IN THE WORLD. WHERE, YOU KNOW, HER WORK IS SO SORT OF DETAILED AND LAYERED THAT AS A FILMMAKER WE COULD HAVE FUN ON SET BY REALLY GOING A LITTLE BIT LAUGHTER, A LITTLE BIT RIGHT AND KNOW WE WERE STILL WITHIN THE BOUNDS OF THE FILM AND THE CHARACTER. BECAUSE THE FILM IS SHOT SORT OF-- THERE'S A SPARENESS TO THE FILM. I THINK IT ALLOWED US TO GO TO WORK. EVEN THOUGH I WASN'T ACTING IN IT, I FELT THROUGH THESE GUYS THAT WE WERE JUST ABLE TO LET GO OF IT. IT WAS FUN TO SEE THEM SORT OF CUT LOOSE.

>> YOU GIVE THE PERFORMANCE WHERE AT TIMES WHILE YOU'RE WATCHING THE MOVIE YOU CAN IMAGINE THE CREW GOING, MY GOD, ARE YOU SEEING WHAT WE'RE GETTING NOW? THIS IS INCREDIBLE.

>> THAT HAPPENED, ACTUALLY. THAT SCENE WE JUST SHOWED. JUSTIN, HE WAS HIDING BEHIND A BOUNCE BOARD, JUST A PIECE OF WHITE CARDBOARD BELOW THAT TABLE OUT OF FRAME. AND DO YOU REMEMBER HOW LONG WE-- YOU GUYS JUST RESET AND THEY FOUGHT LIKE 11 TAKES IN A ROW. BASICALLY--

>> AT ONE POINT THERE WERE A BUNCH OF PAPERS ON THE TABLE AND I WAS ABLE TO SWEEP THEM ON THE FLOOR.

>> YES. JAKE AND CAREY WERE SO INCREDIBLE TOGETHER. WE CUT. HE WAS DOWN THERE FOR QUITE SOME TIME. HE CAME BACK INTO THE ROOM WHERE THE MONITOR WAS. HE WAS LIKE I'VE NEVER BEEN CLOSE TO THAT KIND OF THING BEFORE. HE WAS BLOWN AWAY. HE WAS SO EXCITED.

>> I THINK SPECIFICALLY THE SCENE, NO SPOILERS OBVIOUSLY, BUT IN BILL CAMP'S HOUSE, IT'S JUST THE SPARSENESS TO THE DIRECTION BUT THE WAY YOU HOLD ON STARTS PAYING OFF IN THAT SCENE AS WE SEE YOUR CHARACTER’S DILEMMAS JUST APPEAR ON YOUR FACE WITHIN SPLIT SECONDS OF EACH OTHER. HOW DOES SHE TAKE CARE OF THIS KID? HOW DOES SHE LIVE AS THIS NEW WOMAN, THIS NEW LIFE. IS THIS NEW LIFE GOOD FOR HER. IT'S ALL THERE IN SPLIT SECONDS. NO QUESTION, JUST A COMPLIMENT.

>> THAT'S SO NICE. REALLY THE FILM IS SO RELIANT ON CAREY AND JAKE AND ED, OUR KID FROM AUSTRALIA, ED OXENBOULD. THERE WOULD BE NO FILM TO MAKE WITHOUT WHAT THEY'RE GIVING US. IT'S INCREDIBLE. I'M AN ACTOR BUT I REMEMBER SITTING BEHIND A MONITOR THINKING HOW DO THEY DO THIS?

>> YOU SAID THE SPARSENESS OF THE FILM AND THE WAY YOU SHOT IT. MOST FIRST-TIME FILMMAKERS WOULD WANT TO COME OUT AND GET AS MUCH COVERAGE AS POSSIBLE BECAUSE YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'LL NEED IN THE EDITING ROOM. YOU SEEMED TO KNOW WHERE THE CAMERA HAD TO BE FOR EACH SCENE. THERE'S A LIMITED NUMBER OF SHOTS IT CREATES A SPECIFIC ESTHETIC. WHAT MADE YOU SO CONFIDENT GOING INTO THIS THAT YOU KNEW IT WOULD WORK? ROLL OF THE DICE?

>> NO. I THINK IT WAS THERE FROM DAY ONE OF WRITING. IT EVOLVES. IT CHANGES. BUT THE FILM TO ME ALWAYS FELT LIKE JUST TRYING TO LOVE THE ILLUSION OF SIMPLICITY. YOU THINK ABOUT A NEIL YOUNG SONG. THREE CORDS, BUT THE WORDS ARE RIGHT. HOW DO YOU-- THAT'S ONE OF THE HIGHEST MOST POETIC WAYS TO APPROACH SOMETHING. IT TOOK A LOT. IT TOOK A VILLAGE. IT'S NOT JUST SORT OF, YOU KNOW, ME, OUR CINEMATOGRAPHER, I CREDIBLE DESIGN TEAM. THE ACTORS. SO I THINK WE PULLED IT OFF. I FEEL LIKE IT'S JUST THE MOST HONEST WAY TO SHOW THE CHARACTERS.

>> WHAT MADE YOU CONFIDENT GOING INTO A PROJECT LIKE THIS WITH PAUL, THIS BEING HIS FIRST FILM? WHAT CONVERSATIONS DID YOU HAVE GOING INTO IT?

>> WE DIDN'T HAVE CONVERSATIONS. JUST SAYING WE'RE NOW GETTING USED TO COMPLIMENTING EACH OTHER IN FRONT OF EACH OTHER BECAUSE WE'VE KNOWN EACH OTHER FOR TEN YEARS. ONE SOMEONE ASKED ME TO DO PRESS, THEY ASKED ME ABOUT PAUL. HE'S FINE. NOW WE'RE GETTING BETTER AT BEING HONEST AND SAYING NICE THINGS. WHAT WAS THE QUESTION?

>> WHAT MADE YOU CONFIDENT PULLING A PERFORMANCE OFF LIKE THIS?

>> I KNEW OUT OF THE GATE THAT PAUL WAS AN EXTRAORDINARY ACTOR. THE COMMON THREAD IN ALL OF PAUL'S WORK IS HONESTY. THAT'S THE ONLY THING I'M INTERESTED IN DOING, MAKING AN HONEST STORY ABOUT PEOPLE. TELLING STORIES ABOUT REAL WOMEN, NOT IDEAS OF WHAT WOMEN ARE. THIS FILM HAD BOTH OF THOSE. IT HAS THE PROMISE OF ALL THE WORK THEY DO, AND BEING ABLE TO TELL THE STORY ABOUT A REAL WOMAN. PAUL SENT IT TO ME AND E-MAILED ME AND SAID, LIKE, READ IT. CALL ME, WHATEVER. I CALLED HIM 19 SECONDS AFTER I READ IT, I SAID YES, PLEASE. WHAT A PRIVILEGE AND HONOR. I KNEW HE WOULD TAKE ALL THE INTEGRITY AND HONESTY THAT HE HAS IN ALL OF HIS ACTING WORK AND PUT IT IN THE RIGHT PLACE.

>> THAT WAS THE FASTEST READ.

>> THAT MUST HAVE BEEN A CONFIDENCE BOOST, GETTING A CALL WITHIN 19 MINUTES.

>> YEAH. THAT WAS GREAT. WE STARTED WITH JEANETTE TO CAST THE FILM. AND THEN WE SENT IT TO CAREY, HER SAYING YES STARTED THE FILM ACTUALLY GETTING MADE.

>> WOW. JAKE IS ON IT AS A PRODUCER AS WELL. WHEN DID YOU PITCH THIS TO HIM? WHEN DID HE GET INVOLVED?

>> SHORTLY AFTER CAREY. I KNEW ACTUALLY THAT CAREY AND JAKE WERE KIND OF FRIENDS. I THOUGHT MAYBE THEY WANTED TO WORK TOGETHER.

>> YOU WORKED WITH HIM ON "PRISONERS.”

>> YES. I WORKED WITH HIM ON "PRISONERS” I THINK I WAS ABOUT TO FILM OKJA, A FILM WE'RE WORKING ON TOGETHER. I SEEN HIM DO INCREDIBLE WORK. THINGS LIKE NIGHT CRAWLER, AND I WAS WONDERING IF HE WOULD WANT TO DO SOMETHING CLASSICALLY AMERICAN, IF THAT WOULD APPEAL TO HIM. WE TALKED ABOUT FAMILY FOREVER. AFTER HE READ THE SCRIPT, WE GOT ON THE PHONE. I WAS IN A PARKING LOT SOMEWHERE. I HAD TO PULL MY CAR OVER TO TAKE THE CALL FROM JAKE. WE SAT THERE. I JUST TALKED TO HIM FOREVER ABOUT FAMILY. HE STARTED THIS COMPANY, THEY'RE PRODUCING WONDERFUL STUFF, QUITE AMBITIOUS STUFF. VERY LUCKY TO HAVE BOTH OF THEM SAY YES.

>> THERE'S A SENSE OF HUMOR HE GETS WITH THIS CHARACTER THAT IS UNEXPECTED. IT'S A MALE ENTITLEMENT THAT I THINK HE HAS. WHERE HE'S AFRAID TO TALK TO HIS FAMILY, BUT HE WANTS TO COME OFF LIKE HE'S THE BIGGER MAN THAN HE IS. HE'S CLEARLY ALMOST NOT CAPABLE OF BEING THE BIGGER MAN. I FOUND A BIT OF A COMEDY TO THAT. I DON'T KNOW IF THAT WAS INTENTIONAL OR NOT. YOU LOOK AT ME AS IF IT'S NOT.

>>> THINK THAT'S GREAT.

>> I WASN'T IN THE THEATER GUT LAUGHING.

>> NO. THAT'S GREAT. JAKE REALLY BROUGHT SO MUCH TO THIS CHARACTER. ONE, HE'S KIND OF THOSE ACTORS WE'RE ALL LIKE WE DON'T KNOW QUITE WHAT HE'LL DO NEXT. IT'S VERY, I DON'T KNOW, MAGNETIC. I THINK JERRY IN THE BACK HALF OF THE FILM HAS SOMETHING WHERE IT'S LIKE WHAT'S GOING ON IN THERE. WHAT WILL COME OUT? HE FELT THAT WAY ON SET, TOO. HE FELT ALIVE. I THINK THAT SENSE OF HUMOR IS IMPORTANT. I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE SAYING. I'M HAPPY TO HEAR IT.

>> EVEN LIKE RIGHT FROM THE BEGINNING. I'M A PERSONABLE GUY. I LIKE PEOPLE. IT'S NOT WORKING FOR YOU. YOU NEED TO FIGURE SOMETHING ELSE OUT. THAT'S WHAT HE'S COMMITTED TO.

>> I THINK PART OF THAT IS THE AMERICAN DREAM, RIGHT? ESPECIALLY IN THAT TIME. JAKE IS A HANDSOME GUY. JERRY'S GOOD WITH PEOPLE. ATHLETIC. AT A YOUNG AGE YOU'RE PROMISED SOMETHING THAT YOUR LIFE IS GOING TO BE. WHEN IT CONTINUES TO REVEAL ITSELF TO NOT BE THAT THING, ARE YOU ABLE TO SEE THAT?

>> WHAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT ASPECT OF MAKING THE MOVIE?

>> I MEAN, EVERY DAY-- IT'S REALLY A CRAZY THING TO DO TO MAKE A FILM. I LOVED IT SO MUCH, BUT IT'S SO HARD. I THINK LEARNING TO COMPROMISE WAS THE HARDEST THING. YOU HAVE AN IMAGE IN YOUR HEAD, YOU HAVE TO LEARN TO SAY OKAY, YEAH, ACTUALLY WE DON'T NEED THAT. THAT'S NOT WORTH IT. YOU HAVE TO LEARN TO PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN ABOUT CERTAIN THINGS. WALKING THAT LINE, ESPECIALLY THE FIRST TIME, THERE WERE SO MANY TIMES I FELT LIKE I DON'T FLOW WHAT THE RIGHT THING TO DO HERE IS.

>> HOW DO YOU-- HOW DID YOU PULL IT OFF?

>> YOU PULL YOUR HAIR OUT.

>> YOU PULLED IT OFF. IN THE END YOU PULLED IT OFF.

>> YEAH. IT'S JUST REALLY SCARY. IT'S REALLY SCARY IN A GREAT WAY. BUT IT'S INCREDIBLY VULNERABLE.

>> DID YOU EVER FINISH A DAY WORRYING THAT YOU DIDN'T GET EVERYTHING YOU NEEDED?

>> ABSOLUTELY. OUR KID COULD ONLY BE ON CAMERA 51/2 HOURS A DAY. HE IS IN ALMOST EVERY SCENE. WHEN PEOPLE LIKE CAREY AND JAKE GIVE YOU THEIR TRUST, THE CREW, IT'S A GREAT RESPONSIBILITY. IT'S ONE OF THE BEST TIMES I'VE EVER HAD.

>> ABOUT YOU EVER SHOOT TURNAROUNDS WITHOUT THE KID ON SET? THAT WOULD BE FASCINATING.

>> I THINK WE DID IT ONCE.

>> MAYBE ONCE OR TWICE. REALLY TRIED TO AVOID THAT. I HAD DO IT BEFORE ON OTHER FILMS.

>> IT'S NOT BY CHOICE. YEAH. I DON'T THINK WE--

>> LET THAT SLIP IN THERE. I THINK WE DID IT ONCE. IT WAS A NIGHT SHOOT MAYBE. I DON'T THINK HE EVEN HAD A LINE. I THINK I HAD TO LOOK AT HIM.

>> I REMEMBER ON THIS FILM "OKJA" THERE'S A LITTLE GIRL IN IT. I HAD TO TALK TO HER. WE DID HER COVERAGE. SHE HAD TO GO HOME. AN ADULT STOOD IN HER CLEATS CLOTHES RIGHT THERE. YOU'RE TALKING TO HER LIKE SHE'S A YOUNG PERSON. I FELT HORRIBLE. I TRIED TO AVOID THAT WHAT IS IT LIKE WORKING WITH THIS KID. HE GIVES AN INCREDIBLE PERFORMANCE. HOW MUCH OF THAT IS YOU GUYS TEAMING UP TOGETHER AND HELPING HIS PERFORMANCE. HE HAS A SIGNIFICANT ARC HE HAS TO DEAL WITH AS AN ACTOR.

>> HE WAS 14 WHEN WE STARTED SHOOTING.

>> I THINK HE WAS 15, PLAYING 14.

>> RIGHT. I WORKED WITH CHILD ACTORS BEFORE. IT DIDN'T FEEL LIKE THAT AT ALL, ACTUALLY. IT SORT OF FELT LIKE-- WE'RE A SMALL COMPANY OF ACTORS, IT'S ME, JAKE, BILL CAMP AND ED. IT NEVER FELT LIKE A CHILD/GROWN UP DYNAMIC WITH HIM. HE WAS EXPERIENCED. HE MADE A FILM BEFORE. HE WAS READY TO WORK. VERY CONFIDENT. YOU KNOW--

>> I WOULD GO FAR TO SAY ED WAS MORE CONFIDENT THAN MOST OF US. HE HAD DONE HIS HOMEWORK. I THINK HE'S A REAL ACTOR. HE WAS PREPARED. HE WAS READY. HE WAS A SPECIAL KID.

>> YOU MENTIONED IT WAS A SMALL COMPANY. WHEN YOU WALK AWAY FROM THE FILM, IT DOESN'T FEEL LIKE A SMALL COMPANY OF A MOVIE. IT FEELS EPIC IN SCOPE. I THINK THAT HAS TO DO WITH THE SPARSE VISION YOU SHOT IT WITH. BUT WAS THAT GOING INTO IT? YOU KNEW YOU WOULD HAVE A SMALL CAST, YOU WOULD HAVE LIMITED EXTRAS, AND IF YOU SHOT IT THIS WAY YOU WOULD HOPEFULLY COME OUT IN THE END WITH THIS LARGER THAN SCALE THING?

>> THAT WAS THE HOPE. I SORT OF FEEL LIKE THAT COMES FROM THE GUTS AND THE HEART FIRST AND FOREMOST. WHAT THE FILM IS ABOUT. I THINK WHAT IT'S ABOUT IS HOPEFULLY TIMELESS. I’VE ALWAYS SORT OF HOPED THE MORE PERSONAL SOMETHING IS THE MORE UNIVERSAL IT IS. I THINK THERE'S SORT OF AN ARC TYPAL FOUNDATION, TOO. THE LAND, THE SETTING.

>> TIMELESSLY AMERICAN.

>> ABSOLUTELY. AND I THINK THE PERFORMANCES. I THINK THESE GUYS DID THEIR WORK AND BROUGHT A WORLD TO IT. I THINK THOSE CLOSEUPS YOU MENTIONED IN WARREN MILLER'S HOUSE, FOR EXAMPLE, I THINK THEY FEEL BIG. I HOPE THAT THE FILM DOES AT ITS CORE. SEE THE MOVIE ON THE BIG SCREEN.

>> IT'S INCREDIBLE ON THE BIG SCREEN. BOTH OF YOU, YOU WERE MENTIONING PAUL'S COMMITMENT TO DOING REALLY GREAT WORK AS AN ACTOR. BOTH OF YOU, LOOKING AT YOUR FILMOGRAPHIES WORK WITH GREAT DIRECTORS AND BEING A PART OF GREAT PROJECTS. HOW HARD IS THAT TO MAINTAIN IN THIS INDUSTRY?

>> I SUPPOSE, YEAH, I'VE BEEN LUCKY TO WORK WITH THE PEOPLE I'VE WORKED WITH. I THINK GREAT FEMALE ROLES LIKE THIS COME ALONG NOT VERY OFTEN. AND I'M CERTAINLY ON SCREEN THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING PROJECTS I'VE EVER DONE AND MY FAVORITE EXPERIENCE MAKING A FILM TO DATE.

>> REALLY?

>> YEAH.

>> WHY IS THAT?

>> WELL, I SORT OF LIKED THE PEOPLE.

>> YEAH.

>> ZOE KAZAN AND I HAVE BEEN FRIENDS FOR TEN YEARS. I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO WORK WITH JAKE. I THINK IT WAS THE FREEDOM ON SET. I NEVER FELT THAT-- YEAH, THAT SORT OF UNTETHERED BUT ALSO WELL PROTECTED AND REALLY CHALLENGED BY THE MATERIAL. I FELT LIKE IT WAS A REALLY DIFFICULT CROSSWORD PUZZLE THAT I HAD TO ATTACK EVERY DAY. SO ALL OF THOSE THINGS COMBINED. AN AMAZING CREW. BEST PEOPLE. WE WERE ALL IN THIS SMALL TOWN IN OKLAHOMA. SO IT FELT LIKE SUMMER CAMP. ALL OF THOSE THINGS. IT WAS A LOVELY ROMANTIC, GORGEOUS EXPERIENCE. A FILM THAT I LOVED DOING. YOU KNOW, THOSE ROLES DO COME ALONG RARELY FOR WOMEN. IT'S ABOUT WAITING FOR THOSE PARTS AND THE GREAT THING ABOUT ZOE AND PAUL'S CAREER THEY DON'T HAVE TO SIT AROUND AND WAIT BECAUSE THEY CAN WRITE IT. I SADLY DON'T HAVE THAT AMAZING TALENT. SOMETIMES IT FEELS LIKE A WAITING GAME BUT TOTALLY WORTH THE WAIT.

>> I'LL REPHRASE THE QUESTION FOR YOU BOTH. YOU SAID YOU HAVE KNOWN YOU WANTED TO MAKE A MOVIE FOR QUITE SOME TIME, YOU LOOK AT YOUR LAST 15 YEARS OR SO OF THE MOVIES THAT YOU HAVE BEEN IN AS AN ACTOR, THEY'RE ALL WITH PHENOMENAL DIRECTORS THAT YOU COULD SEE AN ACTOR TRYING TO LEARN FROM POTENTIALLY. HOW LONG HAVE YOU KNOWN AND HAVE YOU BEEN TRYING TO PICK UP TIDBITS HERE AND THERE FROM THE DIRECTORS YOU'RE TRYING TO WORK WITH?

>> THAT WAS A GREAT REPHRASE.

>> THEY GAVE ME THE JOB FOR A REASON.

>> I THINK SO. BY OSMOSIS, I THINK REALLY HONESTLY BECAUSE I LOVE FILM SO MUCH. WHEN I FELL IN LOVE WITH FILM, I REALLY FELL IN LOVE WITH FILM.

>> WHEN WAS THAT?

>> I DID MY FIRST FILM WHEN I WAS 16. THAT OPENED THE DOORS TO KNOWING THERE WAS A LOT OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF FILMS OUT THERE, WHICH I DIDN'T KNOW AT THAT AGE. GOING TO SUNDANCE, SEEING INDEPENDENT AMERICAN CINEMA. LEARNING ABOUT THIS NEW WORLD OF FILMS TO GO SEE OR TO RENT, WHICH LED TO LEARNING WHO THOSE FILMMAKERS ARE. THEN YOU'RE INTO FOREIGN CINEMA AND OFF AND RUNNING. SO 19 OR 20, REALLY STARTED TO THINK, GOD, THIS IS INCREDIBLE. LOVE WHAT PEOPLE ARE DOING WITH THE CAMERA, WITH THE SOUND. JUST THE EDIT. STARTED DAYDREAMING. I DO THINK IT INFORMED MY ACTING. MEANING IT FEELS GOOD TO GET TO BE IN A FILM THAT YOU THINK YOU MIGHT LIKE. OR THAT YOU THINK HAS SOMETHING TO SAY. IT'S EASIER WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE IN GOOD HANDS BECAUSE AS AN ACTOR YOU JUST SORT HAVE TO GIVE YOURSELF OVER. WHEN YOU DON'T IS WHEN YOU GET THE HOLLYWOOD STORIES OF PEOPLE ACTING OUT OR SOMETHING. I JUST DON'T THINK YOU GET THAT WHEN YOU HAVE A FILMMAKER AT THE HELM THAT PEOPLE CAN TRUST AND SAY OKAY, YEAH, LET'S GIVE WHAT WE HAVE TO THIS.

>> 90% OF THOSE HOLLYWOOD STORIES OF PEOPLE ACTING OUT ARE TOTAL BS. ACTING IS EXTREMELY VULNERABLE. IF YOU'RE IN THIS PLACE WHERE YOU FEEL CONSTRICTED OR SOMEONE IS NOT SUPPORTING YOU, IT'S ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE NOT TO ACT OUT. HEY, PAY ATTENTION TO ME! IT'S A THING ACTORS HAVE TO DO I THINK.

>> THAT'S GREAT. I THINK YOU'RE PROBABLY RIGHT. THAT'S FUNNY. YEAH.

>> SOMEONE WAS ON THIS STAGE RECENTLY SAYING SHE LOVED A DIRECTOR SO MUCH BECAUSE SHE FELT SEEN BY HIM. SHE FELT LIKE SOMEONE WAS SEEING THE WORK SHE WAS DOING AND KNEW HOW TO GUIDE IT A CERTAIN WAY. IF YOU'RE DOING WORK AND YOU'RE ON CAMERA AND EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD IS GOING TO SEE IT AND THE PERSON IN CONTROL IS NOT GOING TO SEE IT, THAT'S TERRIFYING. I CAN'T IMAGINE DOING SOMETHING MORE TERRIFYING OTHER THAN CLIMBING A MOUNTAIN WITHOUT A WIRE. QUESTIONS?

>> HI. I WANTED TO SAY THAT I SAW THE FILM NOT SO LONG AGO. I THOUGHT IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST POIGNANT, BEAUTIFUL PIECE OF CINEMA I'VE SEEN ALL YEAR.

>> THANKS.

>> I WANTED TO KNOW HOW-- SORRY.

>> TAKE YOUR TIME.

>> YOUR ROLE IN "LOVE AND MERCY.” CAN YOU SPEAK UPON THAT AND HOW WAS IT TO FILM IN MONTANA FOR "WILDLIFE"?

>> GREAT. SO THIS FILM CALLED "LOVE AND MERCY" ABOUT BRIAN WILSON AND THE BEACH BOYS. PROBABLY MY FAVORITE ACTING EXPERIENCE I'VE HAD BECAUSE OF THE MUSIC. STUDYING IT JUST GAVE ME A LOT BACK. TROUBLED PERSON, BUT WHO HAD A LOT OF LIGHT INSIDE OF HIM AND SOMETHING FROM THE MUSIC JUST MADE ME HAPPY. EVEN THOUGH HE WAS KIND OF STRUGGLING. MONTANA IS JUST A DIVINE, BEAUTIFUL PLACE. I LOVE HOW SMALL I FEEL THERE AND IN THE BEST SENSE OF THE WORLD. YOU'RE SORT OF ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD IN SOME WAY. AND IT FEELS LIKE YOU'RE IN TOUCH WITH SOMETHING. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND A ROAD TRIP.

>> THANK YOU.

>> NEXT QUESTION?

>> HI. YOU'VE OBVIOUSLY TAKEN ON STORYTELLING FROM ALL FRONTS. YOU ACTED ON STAGE. YOU ACTED IN FILMS. WRITTEN FILMS, NOW DIRECTED ONE. HOW DO YOU THINK THAT EACH KIND OF MEDIUM OF STORYTELLING YOU'VE DONE HAS IMPACTED THE OTHER?

>> WOW. GOOD QUESTION. I THINK A LOT. THIS WAS MY FIRST TIME WRITING AND PROBABLY BECAUSE IT'S AN ADAPTATION, PART OF MY APPROACH TO IT WAS THROUGH MY ACTING. MEANING I JUST LEARNED HOW TO READ SOMETHING AND ASK QUESTIONS. AND SORT OF TRY TO INVESTIGATE THE WHY BEHIND THE WORDS. I THINK THAT REALLY STARTS WITH THEATER. BECAUSE THE WRITTEN WORD IS THE THING IN THEATER. SO YOU'RE CONSTANTLY LEARNING TO TRY TO FIGURE OUT THE INTENT. EVEN IN THE DICTION WITH A PLAY. IN FILM IT'S NOT QUITE TALKED ABOUT OFTEN IN THE SAME WAY, LIKE WHY IS THE COMMA THERE. SO, JUST EVEN THAT. AND I ALSO THINK THAT ALL THE ARTS IN GENERAL JUST SPEAK TO EACH OTHER IN SUCH A BEAUTIFUL WAY. I'VE ACTUALLY READ A LOT ABOUT WRITING BEFORE I HAD WRITTEN. BUT PROBABLY JUST TRYING TO FIND SOME INSPIRATION WHEN I WAS FEELING DOWN AND OUT ONE DAY. YOU KNOW, THAT WENT TOWARDS ACTING. I REMEMBER READING STEPHEN KING'S BOOK ON WRITING, AND RAY BRADBERRY'S AND FINDING A LOT OF JUICE. HOPEFULLY THAT NOW GOES INTO WRITING AND DIRECTING.

>> CAREY, YOU DO STAGE WORK AS WELL THIS SUMMER YOU HAD A ONE-WOMAN SHOW. HOW DOES THAT INFORM YOUR WORK IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA AS WELL?

>> I DON'T KNOW. I DID A ONE-WOMAN SHOW, IT WAS A BUCKET LIST THING THAT I KIND OF ALWAYS WEIRDLY WANTED TO DO BUT WAS TERRIFIED OF AND I NEVER FOUND THE RIGHT PIECE. THEN THIS PLAY CAME ALONG CALLED "GIRLS AND BOYS" BY DENNIS KELLY. I LOVED THAT IT WAS REALLY FUNNY. THEN I DISCOVERED COMEDY IS THE HARDEST THING ON THE PLANET.

>> WHY IS THAT?

>> THERE'S SUCH-- IMAGINE YOURSELF AT A DINNER PARTY WITH A BUNCH OF STRANGERS. YOU WANTED TO TELL AN ANECDOTE THAT WARMS THE ROOM AND MAKES PEOPLE COMFORTABLE. THE NOTION OF THE FIRST PAGE OF THE SCRIPT, WHEN I READ IT I LAUGHED. THE ONUS WAS ON ME TO MAKE THE AUDIENCE LAUGH, I FELT. AND THAT'S THE-- FOR SOME REASON, I THINK IT'S JUST SORT OF A TERRIFYING PROSPECT. THE IDEA OF TELLING A JOKE AND PEOPLE DON'T FIND IT FUNNY. WE WORRY ABOUT THAT ON THE PLAYGROUND WHEN WE'RE CHILDREN. YOU TRANSLATE THAT TO ADULTHOOD, SOMEONE NOT LAUGHING AT YOUR JOKE, IT SHOWS A LACK OF ENGAGEMENT WHICH YOU DON'T HAVE IN DRAMA. YOU CAN'T TELL WHETHER THEY'RE ENGAGED OR NOT. WITH COMEDY OFTEN YOU'RE RELYING ON THAT LAUGH, THAT WARMTH IN THE AUDIENCE.

>> YOU KNOW SOMETHING IS SUPPOSED TO BE THERE. IF IT'S NOT THERE, SOMETHING IS WRONG.

>> YEAH. SO I DID THE PLAY IN LONDON. IT WAS WRITTEN BY A BRITISH PLAYWRIGHT, A COUPLE THINGS WERE LOCATION SPECIFIC. AND THERE ARE A COUPLE JOKES IN THERE THAT ON FIRST PREVIEW BOMBED. IT WAS AWFUL. IT JUST DIDN'T GEOGRAPHICALLY TRANSLATE. SO THAT WAS EXCITING AND TERRIFYING AND BRILLIANT. BUT I THINK THEATER FOR ME IS ALWAYS SORT OF LIKE BUILDING A MUSCLE. I FEEL LIKE YOU COME AWAY FEELING LIKE SORT OF VERY STRONG AND READY TO WORK. AND ALWAYS REALLY-- I FEEL LIKE EVERY TIME I START A FILM I CAN'T REMEMBER HOW TO ACT. IT TAKES ME A COUPLE DAYS TO FEEL COMFORTABLE AND GET TO THE POINT WHERE I FEEL ALL RIGHT. IN THEATER, BY THE END OF THAT, I FEEL LIKE IT'S ALWAYS SORT OF THE BASIS OF EVERYTHING WE DO.

>> SO IT'S THE MUSCLE FROM THEATER ENDS UP BEING THE MUSCLE FOR FILM.

>> THE WAY MY CAREER WORKED OUT.

>> I THINK IT WAS AN IMPORTANT PART OF CAREY'S WORK IN THIS AND JAKE'S WORK BECAUSE IT'S A PERIOD FILM. SOME OF THE LANGUAGE COMES FROM A BOOK. THE FACILITY WITH LANGUAGE FEELS REALLY IMPORTANT. AND ESPECIALLY IN THE WAY WE SHOT THE FILM AS YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT TO BE ABLE TO NAVIGATE THESE LITTLE CORNERS, LIKE A SLALOM SKIER OR SOMETHING. I THINK WITHOUT QUESTION, HAVING SEEN YOU IN OTHER THINGS, I CAN'T IMAGINE THAT WASN'T SO IMPORTANT.

>> GOING BACK TO THE WAY YOU SHOT THAT FILM AND THE SPARSENESS, OFTENTIMES WITH FILMS THAT WANT TO BE SPARSE, THE PERFORMANCES CAN FEEL RIDGED AND STUCK WITHIN THE FRAME. YOU DO AN AMAZING JOB IN THIS IN SOMEHOW STILL GIVING THE ACTORS AN INCREDIBLE AMOUNT OF ROOM OR IT FEELS LIKE THEY'RE ON THE CUSP OF BREAKING THE BEAUTIFUL FRAME YOU SET UP WHICH IS THRILLING TO WATCH.

>> THAT IS GREAT.

>> JUST TRYING TO--

>> THAT'S SO NICE. THE FILM IS FAIRLY COMPOSED, BUT I THINK THE INNER LIFE IS THE MOVEMENT. SO THANKS.

>> IT'S THE THING THAT KEEPS YOU ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEAT. ONE MORE QUESTION.

>> HI. WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING MOMENTS OF FILMING AND WORKING ON "WILDLIFE"?

>> I THINK THERE WERE COUNTLESS TIMES WHERE I JUST CURSED IT WAS A PERIOD TIME, I LOVED MAKING THE FILM, JUST BECAUSE OF MONEY, AND LIKE IT'S SO HARD TO MAKE A FILM. WE SCOUTED ENDLESSLY TO FIND LOCATIONS THAT WE COULD-- THAT NOT ONLY LOOKED WONDERFUL FOR THE FILM BUT THAT WE DIDN'T HAVE TO DO AS MUCH TO FRANKLY. THAT'S ONE OF THE ONLY WAYS IT WAS POSSIBLE TO MAKE THE FILM, FINDING THE PLACES TO DO IT. WORKING WITH THE ACTORS.

>> TOOK A SECOND. TOOK A SECOND.

>> YEAH. GOOD EXAMPLE OF WHAT CAREY WAS TALKING ABOUT. COMEDY BEING HARD.

>> IT'S GREAT YOU CAPTURE THESE LOCATIONS BECAUSE AT A CERTAIN POINT THERE'S NO WAY THESE LOCATIONS CAN EXIST LOOKING LIKE THIS FOR THAT MUCH LONGER I WOULD IMAGINE.

>> NO. THAT'S PROBABLY RIGHT. BUT ALSO THE PLACE WE FILMED IN MONTANA, IT'S NOT LIKE IT'S JUST DEPRESSED AND THAT'S WHY IT'S A RELIC OF ITS TIME. I THINK LIVINGSTON IS ACTUALLY QUITE A BEAUTIFUL PLACE.

>> SO BEAUTIFUL. STUNNING.

>> SOUNDS LIKE A PLACE THEY UPKEEP TO BE THAT WAY. THEY MAINTAIN IT THAT WAY.

>> YEAH. I THINK IT WAS TOUCHED UP ONCE FOR A FILM WITH A REAL BUDGET AS WELL MANY YEARS AGO.

>> GUYS, I LOVE THE FILM SO MUCH. I THINK I MADE THAT CLEAR. OPENS THIS FRIDAY. PEOPLE CAN SEE IT.

>> YEAH.

>> "WILDLIFE" PLAYING AT THE IFC CENTER AND AT LINCOLN CENTER IN L.A.

>> LANDMARK IN L.A. AND THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS--

>> IT WILL EXPAND. CHECK OUT THE WEBSITE IF YOU’RE NOT IN NY OR LA. CHECK IT OUT. REALLY BEAUTIFUL. I WILL SEE IT AGAIN. GIVE THEM A BIG ROUND OF APPLAUSE, EVERYBODY.

>> THANK YOU. THANKS.