James Badge Dale Talks SHAME, Director Steve McQueen, Robert Zemeckis’ FLIGHT, RUBICON, THE LONE RANGER, and a Lot More

by     Posted 2 years, 275 days ago

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James Badge Dale is one of those actors that while you know his work, you don’t yet know his name.  However, I think that’s about to change.  Because after starring in HBO’s The Pacific, AMC’s short lived but really well done Rubicon, and as Michael Fassbender’s friend and boss in Steve McQueen‘s Shame, Dale has shown his versatility and range and he’s become one of those actors that I can’t wait to see what he’ll do next.  And with his roles in Joe Carnahan‘s The Grey, Robert ZemeckisFlight, Marc Forster‘s World War Z alongside Brad Pitt, and Gore Verbinski‘s The Lone Ranger, it looks like I’m not the only one who is a fan of his work.

Last week I got to sit down with Dale for an extended interview at The Grey junket.  Since I spoke to him on camera for The Grey before this interview, I decided to use this time to ask other questions.  We talked about how he got into acting, does he still have to audition, what making Shame was like (he tells some great behind the scenes stories), Rubicon (for fans of the show he talks about a different final episode that was never shot), how he had to fight to be in Robert Zemeckis’ Flight and what he did to land the role, comments on McQueen’s Twelve Years a Slave, and discusses The Lone Ranger.  He calls it a “big, fun Western” with “a different take on it.”  Hit the jump for more.

shame-movie-image-james-badge-daleSince I know many of you might not have the time to watch an almost twenty minute interview, here’s a few of the highlights.  Also, the entire interview is time indexed below so you can watch the parts that interest you.

Finally, a huge thank you to James Badge Dale for giving me so much time.

  • Director Steve McQueen uses long shots of six or seven minutes with no cuts.
  • Even after planning, McQueen likes to give opposing directions like, “If I told you to go right, go left.”
  • The restaurant scene in Shame is one long take.
  • The shot of James Badge Dale and Michael Fassbender watching Carey Mulligan sing was the first time they’d actually seen her sing.
  • Mulligan, who isn’t a singer, sang the song for the first time at 3AM
  • Actors and directors were encouraged to take risks when filming Rubicon.
  • There is a different final episode of Rubicon that was never shot. Calls it a shame because it was “scorched earth that you’ve never seen.”
  • Robert Zemeckis called him “too healthy” to play the cancer patient in Flight.
  • Lost 20lbs in 6 weeks for his role in Flight.
  • Looks forward to working with McQueen again because of “his very specific voice.”

James_Badge_Dale_imageJames Badge Dale Time Index

  • 0:20 – Talks about what got him into acting, including his upbringing and whether or not he did it to get girls.
  • 1:35 – Comments on where he currently is in his career, how he got there and the types of roles he hopes to have in the future.
  • 3:20 – Remarks on how difficult the acting business is on women compared to men and how much Hollywood needs strong female actors and roles.
  • 4:20 – Discusses how he prefers to audition for roles rather than have them handed to him.
  • 5:00 – Reflects on being offered the role in Shame by Steve McQueen.
  • 6:00 – Discusses his work on Shame and compares it to his other work on The Grey.
  • 6:40 – Comments on McQueen’s manner of shooting which pushed the actors every day.
  • 7:35 – Talks about how he’s “a big believer in writers” and isn’t necessarily an improv actor. This led to conflict with McQueen’s style but ultimately got a greater performance out of Dale.
  • 8:50 – Comments on specific scenes from Shame, including the restaurant scene and the scene with Carey Mulligan singing for the first time.
  • 9:50 – Talks about how McQueen is a great director and used fear to capture unique moments on film.
  • 10:25 – Reflects on his work on Rubicon and his relationship with Dallas Roberts.
  • 11:05 – Talks about the pace of the work on Rubicon and how that may have been a part of the show’s downfall.
  • 11:40 – Comments on the existence of a different final episode of Rubicon that was never shot.
  • 12:25 – Talks about his role in Robert Zemeckis’ film Flight and shooting a scene with Denzel Washington and Kelly Reilly.
  • 14:00 – Talks about being “too healthy” to play a cancer patient and the lengths he went to look the part.
  • 14:40 – Comments on working with Washington and Liam Neeson and what he’s learned.
  • 15:30 – Discusses his hopes to be in The Lone Ranger and more about the project. Calls it a “big, fun Western” with “a different take on it.”
  • 17:00 – Talks about his hopes for 2012 and the films he’s hoping to do, including working with McQueen again.
  • 17:50 – Comments on McQueen’s Twelve Years a Slave.




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  • Nope

    I’m so excited to see James Dale Badge and Fassbender in a film together. Two of my favorite actors working today.

  • Chris

    Wow this guy is intense (can you imagine how that combines with McQueen?! :D). Great interview, Steve.

  • xqwyzts

    so, watching this video, i couldn’t help but focus on that very obvious tattoo on Badge’s left shoulder. WTH, 18 minutes in front of the camera and no one mentions that tat? well, the video’s constant buffering helped me figure out that it’s a quote from the play/movie ‘Wit’ which quoted it from a poem by John Donne (English majors, remember him?). It’s a LONG quote—ouch, getting that tattoo must have hurt!—written over a celtic cross which made it harder to read. If anyone else likes figuring out JBD’s tats (he’s a puzzle, literally), under the sleeve, it should start like:
    “This is my play’s last scene,
    Here heavens appoint
    My pilgrimage’s last mile;
    My race idly, yet quickly run,
    Hath this last pace,
    My span’s last inch,
    My minute’s last point,
    And gluttonous death,
    Will instantly unjoint
    My body and soul.”

    JBD’s tat ends there, but that’s only half the poem: it’ll reach down to his wrist if he wants to finish it! He must really love ‘Wit’ and/or anything that reminds him of his mom. And if anyone knows what’s written on his chest, c’mon don’t keep it to yourself ;)

  • Matt

    You didn’t ask him about what the alternate final Rubicon episode would have been about?!

  • Pingback: Improvisation or faithful to the script? | Full-time dreamer

  • Ed Only

    James Badge Dale is the greatest Actor ever and he soars over all others in everything that he does whether it is TV or films. He always amazes me the scope of his talent and the kind of man he is. So kind, caring and thoughtful of others. I love this guy and always will.

    • SOMEONE :)

      yeah he is! had the opportunity of meeting him, it was the best experience in my entire life. he is a wonderful and a gret person, such an honor to meet this incredible actor!

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