Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Matthew Fox's Vantage Point of his career

As promised, here is my Q&A on Matthew Fox. Such a personable guy. Glad he warmed up to me while interviewing him....

Q&A: Matthew Fox
February 13, 2008

Entertainment News Wire
HOLLYWOOD _ When Matthew Fox began accepting movie roles in addition to his work on the ABC show "Lost," he thought he might have taken on more than he could handle. But after his experience shooting the action feature "Vantage Point," he doesn't feel so lost anymore.

In "Vantage Point," Fox plays Kent Taylor, a secret service agent who is responsible for protecting the president (played by William Hurt). During a global summit meeting in Salamanca, Spain, someone attempts to assassinate the president while he's making an appearance in a town square. The film presents eight distinct points of view of the assassination attempt _ but only one holds the key to the situation. The film also stars Dennis Quaid, Forest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver and Edgar Ramirez.

On a warm and sunny Friday morning at the Casa Del Mar Hotel in Santa Monica, Fox walks down the stairs of a duplex hotel suite and sits down to offer his own point of view on a growing TV and movie career.

Q: Your character, Kent Taylor, has an interesting twist to who he is. Is that one of the reasons you wanted to do "Vantage Point?"

A: For me, that's never the first element. It's more about the picture. It's about the whole movie and it's about the whole story. The director _ his take on the whole story. It's really important to me to be a part of something that is good and has valid reasons for being made. And then the role that I'm asked to play is more the secondary issue.

Q: Speaking of directors, you'd mentioned you wanted to work with the Wachowski Brothers. Was their involvement the focus of your being part of the "Speed Racer" film?

A: Initially it was the main focus. I love the idea of innovation and raising the bar on yourself, and the Wachowskis believe that that's an important thing. They also take stories that have interesting subversive bends underneath. I really like that. But then, when I read the script I was utterly blown away, and the process of making the movie with them was extraordinary.

Q: With "Vantage Point," the various points of view had to be filmed over and over again. Was that hard for you?

A: Filmmaking is pretty much a tedious process, but when you are doing eight different points of view of the same events, it's eight times as tedious. It's a lot. I remember that podium sequence in which William gets shot and the team would swoop up in on him; I can't tell how many times we did that. Every single time, William Hurt was just so committed to what he was doing. He didn't care if the camera was 400 yards away and it was a perspective in which we were deep background. The way he was committed to each take and that professionalism is really something I respect.

Q: Watching the end of the chase scene seemed so emotional. Was it tough for you?

A: Oh God. That was definitely a tough scene. That was a long, long day. That was tough to shoot.

Q: In the chase scene, did you do any of your own stunts?

A: I did some of the driving, but not any of the real intense chase scenes. Stunt drivers did that. One of the only times I got a little frustrated with (director Pete Travis) was when he was asking me to do some close-up shots in the chase scenes. And it essentially had to be where the car was parked, and there were green screens around, and they had someone rock the car lightly because the whole scene is right here (puts his hand squarely framing his face). And I was saying, "This isn't going to work." Pete tells me (whispering), "Trust me. It's going to work. Trust me, Matthew, trust me." And (now) everyone is saying, "The car chase is the greatest car chase ever." I kept laughing to myself every time I would hear that because I was thinking of Pete saying, "Trust me. Trust me."

Q: And that's why you love directors.

A: Yeah. Hell yeah. That's why you want to feel like you're in good hands, because they have a take on it and it's really going to rip.

Q: Have you thought about becoming a director?

A: I've done a little bit. I directed an episode of "Party of Five" when I was on that show. It's a lot. I mean, the one experience I had in directing and acting in the same thing was difficult in itself.

Q: Who is your ultimate dream director to work with?

A: I have a list. A pretty long list. The Wachowskis are up there, I'll tell you that. But there is a bunch. Antoine Fuqua, Aronofsky, Ridley Scott, the Coen Brothers, Michael Mann.

Q: Has your film career affected your TV career with "Lost?"

A: I've had my moments where I thought I might be biting off more than I can chew. I think the summer I did "Vantage Point" and "We Are Marshall," I felt like that. When I committed to both films, I thought that I might not have the energy for this. What I found was quite the opposite. The work I do over the break rejuvenates me when I come back to "Lost." It rejuvenates my passion. It feels like I'm taking something new and bigger to the show and I'm excited. I feel like I'm re-energized. So far, it's worked out for me that way.

Q: You had viewing parties for "Lost" during the first year. Do you still do that?

A: We did for the first year. We don't have them anymore. I think it's the natural progression of the show that people stop socializing together. I mean, the beginning was important. We were all leaving somewhere and going to a new place and no one had any relationships in Hawaii. We're all transplanting ourselves and moving there and setting up camp. Initially, it was about us working together and socializing together as well. I also felt that it was important for us to bond and see the show together and support each other's work, as sometimes the storylines don't connect. We did that for the first year then people started making friendships outside of the show. Myself, if you have kids, you start making friends with your kids' friends' parents. Gradually it's the natural progression of things where we see each other at work then go and we have our lives outside the show.

Q: Going back to "Vantage Point," especially with the presidential primaries underway, do you see its theme of an assassination attempt as a political issue?

A: No. I mean the political part of the film is just a backdrop for an action thriller. It's an action thriller dealing with perspective. You can use a lot of different backgrounds. I'm glad we used the backdrop of a president in Salamanca, Spain, and in the town square, because it really works. But I don't necessarily believe it's a political movie.

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