How would you describe your character in Prisoners?
"The thing that I loved about that character was that I really thought that he was fascinated with a world that was truly a place where a lot of people wouldn’t necessarily want to go, and that fascinated me. I mean, he wasn’t like a street cop. I liked him as a person. I was interested in going into that world and delving into a person who was fascinated with that kind of mindset. To me, it was more his personality than it was about the fact that he was cop."
How would you describe the dynamics between your character and Hugh Jackman’s?
"I would say that my character would be sort of more the cerebral mind of the movie, and his is sort of more of the emotional side. So, I think we both have the same goal and we both have the same wants, which is to find this person who’s done this thing. We keep running into each other’s intention and getting frustrated with it, because it does nothing but muck up the other one's."
Hugh Jackman is goofy.
"That f***ing guy is so nice. He’s genuinely just a wonderful guy. I think there’s actually a difference between good and nice, and I think he’s a good person. We did a lot of improvisation in scenes. We had really intense, very hard scenes to do that, most of the time, we didn’t like each other [in], and he was frustrated with me."
Are you afraid that audiences might think that if they see a character torturing someone and getting away with it that they can, too?
"I don’t think I have the right to sit here and expunge upon the benefits or the issues or problems with torture and whether or not it’s an act that works in getting information. But it’s very clear that this movie, for me, is about revenge begetting just more revenge, and that’s a very different type of storytelling than what we’re used to. Leave it to other people who are much smarter, much more experienced, and in much more important positions than me to answer those questions."
Did you have to physically prepare for this? Did you have to bulk up?
"I love the idea of trying to move your physical self into a character that’s being played. I think I just sort of threw myself into the world in terms of the research that I did and the books that I read and the detectives that I watched and the interrogations that I watched. I watched a ton of interrogations...particularly videos that were very, very disturbing, and it kind of got me into a certain mindset. I don’t think I was really thinking about the physical as much."
Are you looking for specific challenges in your career, or are you at a point where you pick roles that are a little further out there than you’re used to?
"My interest is to commit to a story. I kind of had a whole change in spirit — how I wanted to approach being a part of storytelling — a few years ago. I definitely like to know the real world and what happens even more, because the stuff that’s going on in the real world is becoming more and more interesting to me than just the making of the movie itself. So, what ends up happening is I spend twice the amount of time and preparation than I do in the shooting of the movie, because that’s the stuff that fulfills me even more than just the shooting of the movie."