After a busy 2009 that saw him in four film releases, Woody Harrelson is starting 2010 off with Defendor, a dark dramedy about a man with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome who believes he is a superhero. On a drizzly day in Los Angeles, Harrelson caught up with Fabio Periera about why he picks the roles he does and the kinds of movies he wants to make in the future.
Fabio Periera: When someone approaches you with a project and there's not much money involved, why do you say, "Yes?"
Woody Harrelson: Because otherwise I might not work! (Laughs). I think it's really about a motive that resonates with my heart. For example, Defendor is a wonderful story that has a lot of heart. So was The Messenger. Both of those were made for very little money. I guess that's it: what resonates with my heart, or is funny.
FP: What do you find funny?
WH: That's a pretty elusive elixir right there because I find a lot funny. I do like a dark sense of humor. I thought Zombieland was really funny (with) refreshing writing.
FP:Turning to Defendor, how did you prepare for this role?
WH: A lot of it involved studying people with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). I really studied and looked at all kinds of videos (of) people with this condition. The thing that meant the most was meeting people with FAS. It's a subtle thing to detect, but they're more childlike and innocent. (It was a) good opportunity to play innocent.
FP: How did you come to this project?
WH: I guess (the director) Peter Stebbings had had some conversations (with my agent) and send it to (him). A lot of agents (won't get involved if) there's no money. That's one of the things I like about (my agent) Jeremy Plager. He said, "This is such a unique, interesting story." He thought it was a good idea, even though it was a shot in the dark with a first time director. I thought he a great job.
FP: And what was it like to work with Kat Dennings?
WH: She is a phenomenal actress. She played a coke whore and couldn't be further from that. The first day of filming, we did this scene (where) I'm in a hospital bed, unconscious, and she's talking to me. It's a really emotional, wonderful scene and I watched (on tape) right after. And (she) set the bar for the film on day one with this complicated monologue. I think she's a real joy to work with.
FP: What kind of characters do you want to play?
I don't know if I've ever been in a serious romantic comedy. I wouldn't mind doing that genre.
FP: What in particular about the romantic comedy genre attracts you?
WH: I honestly feel there's maybe nothing better that you can see on film, or even in life, than watching people fall in love with each other. If you're like me, I'm totally glued to it.
Originally posted on Fountain Avenue.
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