Ed Harris on ‘Kodachrome’, ‘Westworld’ Season 2, and Needing Financing for His Next Directorial Effort
One of the many World Premiere films at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival was director Mark Raso’s Kodachrome. Written by Jonathan Tropper (This Is Where I Leave You) and based on the 2010 New York Times article by A.G. Sulzberger, Kodachrome is a father/son redemption story told during a road trip to get a few rolls of Kodachrome film developed before the world’s last lab closes its doors for good. The thing to know is the father (Ed Harris) is a famous photographer who shoots exclusively on celluloid; he and his son (Jason Sudeikis) haven’t spoken in a decade. The two are only taking this road trip together because Harris’ character is dying, and Sudeikis’ character was promised something that might help his career by going with him. Also along for the journey is Elizabeth Olsen, who plays Harris’ assistant/nurse.
Unlike some films which feature two people who haven’t spoken in years resolving all their differences in the first or second act, Ed Harris plays a real asshole who is difficult to be around. He doesn’t care how he’s treated the people around him even when this might be the last time he can resolve many old grievances. As you might expect, Ed Harris knocks it out of the park with his performance.
Shortly after seeing the film, I sat down with Ed Harris for an extended video interview. He talked about how he got involved with Kodachrome, the way he likes to work on set, how his character doesn’t do the typical 2nd act turn in the film, and a lot more. In addition, with Harris currently filming Westworld Season 2, he talks about how the production of the second season is different from first, if he had any idea the show would be so popular when he signed on, and what it’s like shooting a few different episodes with different crews on the same day. Finally, as a big fan of Harris as a director (he previously helmed Pollock and Appaloosa), I asked what the status was with him directing another feature. He said he’s acquired the rights to The Ploughmen by Kim Zupan and that he’s written the screenplay and wants Stacy Keach for the lead. Unfortunately he doesn’t yet have financing but if it can come together, he’d like to shoot it next year.
Check out what Ed Harris had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about followed by the official synopsis.
- How quickly did he sign on after reading the script?
- How does he typically prepare for a role and has it changed during his career?
- How many takes does he like to do as an actor and how many as a director?
- What’s the status of him directing his third feature and what was it about the first two films that said I have to direct these?
- Reveals he has the rights to The Ploughmen by Kim Zupan and he’s written the screenplay and wants Stacy Keach for the lead. He’d like to shoot it next year.
How his character doesn’t do the typical 2nd act turn in Kodachrome.
- Did he have any inkling Westworld would be so popular when he signed on?
- While shooting the first season it had production issues.
- How much did they tell him about the first season’s arc while filming?
- Did they end up filming anything from the first few episodes when they started back up with the production?
- What’s the shooting schedule for the rest of the year?
- How they’re in better shape with the Westworld season 2 scripts than they were in season 1.
- How they film different episodes on the same day.
- Talks about what he’s going to do after Westworld wraps.
Here’s the official synopsis for Kodachrome:
Jason Sudeikis, Elizabeth Olsen, and Ed Harris star in this touching road movie that doubles as an elegy for analog in the digital age. Times change, film formats come and go — but familial grudges never fade. Featuring vivid performances from Jason Sudeikis, Elizabeth Olsen, and four-time Oscar nominee Ed Harris (also at this year’s Festival in mother!), and shot entirely on film stock, this road movie from director Mark Raso is a moving portrait of a father and son learning to truly see each other. Matt Ryder (Sudeikis) is only in his thirties, but technology is already wreaking havoc on his life. An A&R man for a boutique record label, Matt’s feeling increasingly irrelevant as the music business grows more shallow and myopic. The digital age also feels like the end of an era for Matt’s father, Ben (Harris), a famous photographer who shoots exclusively on celluloid. Following a grim diagnosis for Ben and after years of estrangement, Matt is approached by his father’s assistant, Zooey (Olsen), to accompany them on a personalized pilgrimage. Ben wants to take one last trip to Parsons, Kansas, so he can develop some rolls of film before the world’s only remaining Kodachrome lab closes its doors. Matt reluctantly agrees, but harbours no illusions that he and the old man will ever resolve their grievances. Kodachrome is both heartfelt and tough. Ben is no angel, and Matt will need more than a pleasant drive to bury the hatchet. Still, time and travel have a way of putting things in perspective, and these two may just get somewhere before the road comes to its end.