John Hawkes Talks THE SURROGATE, LINCOLN, Working with Daniel Day-Lewis, and More at Sundance

     February 4, 2012


Led by a truly remarkable performance by John Hawkes, writer-director Ben Lewin‘s The Surrogate blew me away at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.  The film’s based on the true story of Mark O’Brien, a 36-year-old poet and journalist with an iron lung, who decides that he no longer wants to be a virgin.  With the help of his priest (William H. Macy) and a professional sex surrogate (Helen Hunt), we follow his amazing journey.  Trust me, The Surrogates is great on so many levels (which explains why there was a bidding war; Fox Searchlight won), and it’s definitely going to be a contender at the 2013 Academy Awards.  For more on the film, here’s Matt’s review.

Shortly after seeing the film, I sat down with John Hawkes for an extended interview.  We talked about being at Sundance, how he prepared for The Surrogate, the responsibility of playing a real person, his preference between a few takes or a lot, and so much more.  In addition, since Hawkes just worked with Steven Spielberg on Lincoln, he talked about how Tony Kushner‘s screenplay drew him to the project and what it was like to work with Daniel Day-Lewis.  Hit the jump to watch.

As usual, I’ve time indexed the interview so you can watch the parts that interest you.  Finally, if you missed my video interview with William H. Macy you can watch it hereThe Surrogate will be released later this year.

helen-hunt-john-hawkes-the-surrogate-imageJohn Hawkes Time Index

  • Talks about being in a buzzed film at Sundance yet again after Winter’s Bone in 2010 and Martha Marcy May Marlene in 2011.  The film already sold to Fox Searchlight.
  • 1:25 – After the Oscar nomination for Winter’s Bone, a lot of scripts were sent to Hawkes.  The Surrogate was the one that jumped out at him.  He talks about financing and the production.
  • 3:30 – Pitches the movie for people who haven’t seen it without spoilers.  The Surrogate is based on the true story of a man in an iron lung.  Hawkes discusses at length how it evolved from that starting point.
  • 6:50 – There is a documentary about the life of Mark O’Brien, Breathing LessonsThe Surrogate is “true to the spirit” of Mark’s life, but it is a work of narrative fiction.
  • 8:30 – Says he prefers to do as many takes as they’ll let him to try out different approaches to the scene.
  • 10:00 – With the role there is a responsibility to Mark O’Brien, and to a lesser extent the disabled community.  Hawkes hopes he represented the man well.
  • 13:00 – Hawkes can’t talk too much about the details of working on Lincoln.  He worked one day with Daniel Day-Lewis, and was blown away by the commitment.  Says Tony Kushner’s screenplay is one of the best studio scripts he’s read in many years.



Around The Web

Latest News

Kevin Spacey & Adrien Brody Talk Directors, Collaboration at Jameson First Shot

The short film competition this weekend announced its three winners: Stephan Tempier, Mark Middlewick & Travis Calvert

Our Favorite “AMERICAN” Movies

With “American” in the title, it can’t be bad.

BLACK PANTHER: Ava DuVernay Passes on Directing the Marvel Film

The 'Selma' filmmaker says she and Marvel had different ideas about what a 'Black Panther' movie should be.

High-Res Presentation Reel Reveals the JOHN CARTER that Could Have Been

This actually looks awesome.

BATMAN V SUPERMAN Scenes Include a Rainy Rooftop Battle and Solemn Chats with Alfred

Get ready for some more crash-bang destruction, now with twice the superheroes!

Skydance CEO & COO David Ellison and Dana Goldberg and Director Alan Taylor Talk TERMINATOR GENISYS

The director and producers talk first cut, deleted scenes, what they learned from friends and family screenings, Easter eggs, and more.

Disney’s 9 Most Wicked Animated Villains

Haleigh, Matt, and Dave single out their picks for best Disney Animated villains, ranging from Snow White's Evil Queen to Hercules' sassy ruler of the Underworld.

New ANT-MAN Trailer Disses the Iron Man Armor

Hank Pym believes that a suit designed to make someone shrink down to the size of an ant isn't “cute technology”.

Matt Bomer on MAGIC MIKE XXL, the WHITE COLLAR Ending, Shane Black, and More

The actor discusses his adoration for 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang's Gay Perry, working with Black on 'The Nice Guys', and how 'E.T.' made a strong impression on him as a child.

SELF/LESS: Four Clips & Behind-the-Scenes Footage Reveal the Side Effects of Death

The new 'Self/less' clips finally show off some of Tarsem's signature flair.

Page 1 of 4,02712345...102030...Last »
echo ' '; ?>