While Dominic West has been acting for two decades, I’ll admit that he only got on my radar when I started watching HBO’s amazing series, The Wire. Over the course of the series, West did an amazing job portraying the complicated life of detective James ‘Jimmy’ McNulty. While the show was never a ratings bonanza for HBO, it will go down as one of the best TV shows ever produced, and it provided a launching pad for its excellent cast to take bigger projects. For West, that bigger project is John Carter. In Andrew Stanton‘s film, West plays the leader of an alien race who is obsessed with taking over Barsoom (Mars).
The other week, Disney held a big press junket in Arizona, and I landed an exclusive video interview with West. During our extended conversation we talked about how he got involved in John Carter, the challenges of the production and working with green screen, his reaction to the finished film, the reshoots, how he might do an upcoming HBO series, and more. In addition, as a huge fan of The Wire, I made sure to ask about his work on the show and how it opened the door to other things. Finally, we talked about West’s little-known but crucial part in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Hit the jump to watch the interview.
As usual, I’ve time indexed the interview so you can watch the parts that interest you. For more on John Carter, here is a ten minute clip, the latest trailer, clips, featurettes, 13 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the film, and 95 images. Or you can click here for all of our coverage.
NOTE: At the 10:20 mark, West gives away a spoiler about his character. You’ve been warned.
- 0:45 – Dominic West talks about which of his projects people like to ask him about the most: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, 300 or The Wire.
- 1:05 – West comments on his experience filming his small part in Star Wars: Episode I.
- 2:10 – West reflects on his work on The Wire.
- 3:00 – He comments that while The Wire may not have had a huge fan following, his work on it has helped opened other doors.
- 3:45 – West talks about how he got involved with John Carter and meeting director Andrew Stanton.
- 5:00 – West comments on his reaction to seeing the finished film of John Carter after working on it.
- 6:25 – Regarding reshoots, West talks about how involved his own particular scenes were and how much they were reworked.
- 7:05 – West talks about his initial expectations based on the script versus the actual implementation of the script during filming.
- 8:05 – West reflects on Stanton’s directorial style and the difficulty of acting in response to green screens. He makes a great comment about Patrick Swayze’s performance in Ghost.
- 9:35 – Regarding the number of takes for a scene, West reveals whether he’s from the Clint Eastwood school of minimal takes or the David Fincher method of shooting until it’s right.
- 10:20 – SPOILER: West talks about one particular scene where he did around 12 or 13 takes.
- 11:00 – West reveals his favorite actor, movie and director.
- 13:20 – West comments on Fincher’s style of numerous takes and compares it to a scene from Al Pacino’s work in Dog Day Afternoon.
- 15:00 – SPOILER: For his work in John Carter, West reveals his craziest (and most embarrassing) moments on set.
- 16:55 – West discusses his upcoming projects, including a possible production of Othello in New York and an unrelated HBO series.