When acclaimed author Kazuo Ishiguro set out to film Akira Kurosawa’s famous 1952 drama live for the movie that becomes life, he had only one lead actor in mind: Bill Nighy. Matches may not be immediately apparent to the viewer. After all, life, Nye said that one of his colleagues was “Mr. Zombie.” I have to deal with personal news.The recent role of his once-in-a-lifetime SAG Award Nominated The actors deliver towering performances that rest on small gestures and quiet moments.
At its center is life It’s a journey from the inside out.And with director Nye as our steward, director Oliver Hermanus has crafted a handsome period drama that resonates precisely because it captures ineffable themes as timely as ever. Actor tells why life How it resonates with critics and audiences, why he still doesn’t dare to ask Ishiguro, why he thinks bowler hats are endlessly weird. Including winning Best Actor from the Society), Nye could become a staple of this year’s glamorous awards season and bring him much he deserves. First Oscar nomination.
AV Club: Let’s start from the beginning.how life When did Mr. Williams enter your life?
Bill Nighy: The screenplay is written by Nobel Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro. Or rather, my previous life was good. Not only did he write a great script, he wrote it with me in mind. I was drawn to the character because that’s what I’m really into. i was 4 years old. I was born in that kind of atmosphere, and people generally say I’m “British”, but I’m sure there are characters like that all over the world. we can only blame it. But from an acting standpoint, it’s tempting to do something that has to express so much. It’s kind of silly, in fact, their system societies are formed around that kind of behavior. And in England it was extreme. The behavior they demanded of themselves and the fact that they could not express their emotions at all were extreme.
Interestingly, it’s a small island with a bowler hat. When I was doing a white-collar job, I was wearing that hat. I mean, isn’t that weird? Like, there were thousands of people all over the country. And everyone with a rolled up umbrella, They all had briefcases.And they all wore this weird hat made like a crash helmet. Honestly, I promise you, they’re built really solid. has anyone done that? I needed a bowler hat. You can’t go to work on the streets of London without it. I mean, there was some kind of forgotten tribe in the middle of the jungle somewhere, and they all had to wear some kind of very heavy headgear, and they all had to wear the same thing. Say, if you were caught without it, you couldn’t go to work, you say, how weird is that? Well, that’s what we were like.
AVC: Sounds very dystopian as well. Thousands of years from now, if you told me that everyone had to wear a uniform and would be punished if they didn’t, I’d be like, yeah, that truck.
BN: That’s right. And we made it real.
AVC: How did Mr. Ishiguro say he wrote it with Mr. Williams in mind? What do you think he understood about your job and thought you were the perfect person for the role?
BN: I’m confused. I honestly think he thinks I know. I have no idea. I really don’t know and don’t want to ask him. Because it’s too late to ask. And I really don’t want to know. But I know he’s seen me in another movie produced by Stephen Woolley. their finest, which is from the same period.that is [World War II] wartime movies. It is said that he always wanted to marry for atmosphere and general storylines. live, the so-called Britishness of the 1950s. And when he saw me, he thought I was the one to help him. I’m often mistaken for an old-fashioned English gentleman, but I’m not sure.
AVC: But it’s funny because I think a lot of us associate you with attractive, vibrant things, whereas Mr. Williams is so closed off. But you said you’re interested in these constraining issues and building performance with very small gestures and moments. What was it like living there? For example, did you build him out of a bowler hat or turn it inside out?
BN: Oh I don’t know the answer to that. A bit of both, really? Not a bowler hat. So usually costumes really help. they really matter. Just like clothes, it’s really important for everyone. That’s why they’re a billion dollar industry. And they make you move and change the way you feel about yourself. Only the bowler hat… you have to act to get out of the bowler hat. But the rest of the costume was fantastic by Sandy Powell, who is a fantastic costume designer.
AVC: So how did you start building Mr. Williams?
BN: I’m not sure. So I’m just doing the same thing. It gives the impression of spontaneity because you learn the lines over and over and over again. And the story and writing are so great that they convince you into some sort of action. Because he was institutionalized in grief. Because he lost his wife early. So I thought he had his whole personality, or his whole sense of himself, and his whole reaction to the world was formed around that loss, that grief. Voices can struggle along the way. I always expected the sound man to come in on day one and say, “Let me take a break.” But he never did. actual, As soon as I actually walked on the set and saw the sound with a man I said, “I will speak very quietly.” Oh, what I think I said was, “I’m your nightmare.”
AVC: It’s like a quiet whisper. He also doesn’t like to take up a lot of space, right? And as soon as he gets a diagnosis, he becomes more assertive. But it’s a very hopeful story arc.
BN: Well, that’s great. When the phone is off he’s on the hook, you know you’re hit. And people are all saying the same thing. they are not depressed. they want to be busy. they want to do something They want to make the most of it. Because obviously everyone can relate to that personality and tendency to procrastinate in that situation, and the urgency when you look at the clock when you’re my age. That’s why they were there.Like King Learpeople don’t go King Lear It’s one of the saddest stories ever told, but it’s depressing. They go because there’s actually a strange euphoria by the time they leave the theater.that is King Lear is about. I’m not quite sure how that works, but I know it’s the case and that tragedy can be exciting and uplifting. Probably just from the perspective of it not happening to you.
AVC: Amy Lou Wood argues How timely the subject of this film feels. Much of us reevaluating how small our world is, much like Williams has come to do, due to COVID and lockdowns, not terminal illness. bottom.
BN: Yeah I couldn’t agree more. This is the first movie I made after taking a year off due to COVID. I sat under a tree for a year. like many others. I was lucky to have a tree. I didn’t do anything until I did this. I was greatly influenced by it. The fact that we are back. we were making a movie. I’ve been with some people I’ve known all my life. And it was so touching and exciting. Not only because we were making movies again, but the reason we were making this movie was, like you said, probably having the same conversation with yourself that millions of other people had. Because I felt. The thing is, I didn’t even have to think about it. You quickly realized what was important: my family is important.my friends are important. My art matters. Books are important. It is important to take care of each other. It is important to make the most of each day. They are all pretty obvious. Still, I need a reminder. And this movie plays it very timely.
AVC: Because critics and audiences and peers saw and said your phone would explode lifewhat’s the most surprising reaction you’ve gotten to your performance or film?
BN: Surprise is the level of enthusiasm. And the words people choose to express their appreciation for the film. they speak loudly. Yesterday a man said to me, “I’m a different person than I was when I saw your movie.” And he was a writer and a man in the film business. “It completely changed me,” he said. And that’s not the only thing that said things along those lines. Who knows how long it will last? Maybe until tomorrow. But yeah, I think that’s the height of the reaction — I got a call from someone crying in the women’s room saying, “I can’t get out of the women’s room yet.” Because that’s what my mom called a crybaby. But they are not depressed. It’s amazing how many people have seen this movie and how many people love it. Not because we didn’t think we were making a good movie. But that’s because independent films aren’t always seen by a large audience. It was a great surprise that And how strong and positive the response was.