John Hawkes delivers a superb performance in Low Down as noted jazz pianist Joe Albany who played with musical greats Charlie Parker and Miles Davis but was torn between his musical ambition, his devotion to his teenage daughter (Elle Fanning), and a debilitating heroin addiction. The bio-pic opening October 24th is directed by experimental filmmaker Jeff Preiss in his feature debut and based on the memoirs of Albany’s daughter Amy-Jo Albany who co-wrote the screenplay with Topper Lilien. Set in the colorful, seedy world of struggling musicians and artists in 1970’s Hollywood, the film boasts a first-rate cast that also includes Glenn Close, Lena Heady, and Peter Dinklage.
In an exclusive interview, the Oscar nominated actor spoke about how he first heard about the project after meeting with producers Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, the appeal of the character, his preparation, not wanting to glorify heroin, working with Fanning and Close, his collaboration with Preiss, what he looks for in the roles he chooses, his experiences growing up in a small rural town, when he first knew he wanted to be an actor, his wild ride with a guy who had just robbed a convenience store, and his upcoming projects including the Off Broadway play Lost Lake and film roles in The Driftless Area, Too Late, and Everest. Check out our interview with John Hawkes after the jump.