Tribeca: Will Forte does drama in Alexander Payne’s ‘Nebraska’ and the Irish Indie ‘Run & Jump’
Photo: Thelma Adams
Forte's at the Tribeca Film Festival promoting his first purely dramatic turn. In the Irish indie "Run & Jump," he plays a reserved American psychiatrist treating an Irish stroke victim –- and falling for the man's wife.
While at Tribeca, Forte discovered that his film "Nebraska" is in competition for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. In Alexander Payne's first outing since the Oscar-nominated "The Descendants," Forte plays an alienated Midwestern son that takes a road trip to, yes, Nebraska with his alcoholic father (Bruce Dern). Cannes you say, "Can't wait?"
"Nebraska" is set to open in limited release on November 22.
Thelma Adams: It was surprising how quiet your performance was in "Run & Jump" given your comedic history.
Will Forte: Thank you very much. A lot of that is [Director] Steph Green. She made it very clear what she was expecting. We actually started rehearsing two years ago. And then there was a financing issue and we took some time off. But that little break was nice because all the stuff she was trying to tell me really got to set in my head. When we ended up making the movie, I felt pretty clear about what her intentions were for the character. She was just a great director...
TA: Have you worked with women directors before and, if so, was it different in any sense?
WF: I think this was the first time but it's hard for me to answer that question because this was such a different experience for me. It was dramatic and I've only done comedies. In comedy sometimes you're doing heightened over-the-top drama, but I've never attempted any kind of subtle drama.
TA: What was the most challenging emotional scene?
WF: There were times when there would be just a reaction shot in a teeny, tiny little scene where I'm not even the main focus, where I'd be terrified. And then there would be really emotional scenes when I would be just fine. It would depend on the day and how much sleep I got the night before and it was just…
TA: Did you prepare a lot for the big scenes?
WF: Yeah, that might be it. I guess if you only have a couple lines of dialogue in something, you probably don't think to read the scene as much. You don't realize I've gotta be acting even if I'm not saying stuff. It was just such a new experience.
TA: Is your role in "Nebraska" dramatic, too?
TA: Tell me a little bit about your character, David Grant?
WF: I don't know what I'm allowed to answer. It's just such a wonderful story and has dramatic elements, and comedic elements. All the comedy is based in realistic situations.
TA: How did you get the role?
WF: I put myself on tape and sent it to Alexander. He'll look at anybody. When I got to know him, he would just say yeah, there is nobody that he would not consider. Thank God! [LAUGHS]