Chris Marquette Interview – THE INVISIBLE

     April 24, 2007

Chris Marquette is one of those actors that you know his face but don’t yet know his name. The amount of movies and TV shows he’s been on is pretty decent for someone so young, and he isn’t showing any signs of slowing down as he has a ton of upcoming projects like Fanboys, Choose Connor, The Beautiful Ordinary, Calvin Marshall and The Education of Charlie Banks.

Obviously the one I’m most excited to see again is Fanboys – that’s the movie about the group of friends that tries to steal the print of Episode One in 1998 before the movie came out. Awhile back I reviewed a test screening and if you missed my review you can read it here. And for those wondering when the film will finally be released, Chris says August but I’ve also heard September. Obviously it’s a film I care about and will keep you informed.

As I said in the headline, during the roundtable interview Chris talks about making The Invisible, all of his upcoming projects, and we reminisce about The Girl Next Door and Just Friends – two films that still get him a lot of attention.

Before reading the interview with Chris, here is the studio provided synopsis on The Invisible:

THE INVISIBLE is a supernatural thriller about a teenager who finds himself trapped between two worlds – invisible to the living and all too close to the dead. A high school senior with a bright future, Nick Powell (JUSTIN CHATWIN) is suddenly attacked on a dark night, his shattered body left for dead. Now, caught in a haunting limbo where he can observe the world of the living but they can’t see him, his only chance at a future is to figure out the mystery of what happened to him and why before time runs out. But how do you solve a murder when the victim is you?

As Nick attempts to uncover the ominous truth behind his ghostly condition, the trail leads from his mother (Academy Award winner MARCIA GAY HARDEN) to his best friend (CHRIS MARQUETTE) to a shady criminal (ALEX O’LAUGHLIN) to the tough, troubled girl (MARGARITA LEVIEVA) who Nick comes to realize may hold the key to his awakening from the unexplainable. THE INVISIBLE is directed by David Goyer, writer/director of “Blade: Trinity,” and writer of the “Blade” franchise and the box office smash hit “Batman Begins.”

As always you can listen to the interview instead of reading it by clicking here. It’s an MP3 so you can easily put it on an iPod or a CD for listening in your car.

And I’m not going to have time to transcribe my interview with Margarita Levieva so if you want to hear her talk about making the movie you can listen to the audio. It’s an MP3.

The Invisible opens this Friday at theaters everywhere.

Question: What pitfalls of getting cast as a friend in something like this? And what do you bring to the party that’s a little bit different?

Chris Marquette: You know to be honest I’ve tried to seclude myself from the story as much as possible only to kind of bring as much humanity as I could to that character because at a certain point you don’t really follow this character, he just sort keeps popping up now and then. So I tried to create something in my own head as to what was going on the entire time you don’t see him so that when he does pop up it like oh, wow, he’s feeling some crazy stuff. God knows what happened to him the last few days. I’ve always tried with this movie to keep it as human as I possibly could and not try make it an exposition point for the story. I tried to never make my scenes about like where did the body go rather than like seeing how bad this kid felt about what’s been happening.

How big of a technical challenge was it because the scenes were staged very specifically with having to not acknowledge Justin if he were there in the background.

It was pretty difficult sometimes man. There were some scenes I had with him where he’s like shaking me and that’s really hard to do. There was only one time I remember I like completely broke. He said something that made me laugh and I just remember I couldn’t get rid of the smile for a second and I was supposed to be very, very serious and so I remember being like alright let’s start again because it’s weird man. Try having somebody talking in your ear and you’re pretending that’s not happening at all and not only pretend that’s not happening but pretend other things are happening simultaneously like that became a trick. It’s easy to ignore somebody but it’s harder to ignore them and concentrate on what exactly you’re trying to do.

Did you come up with technique for that?

Yeah, I just didn’t talk to people very much. I kind of listened to a lot of music and you try to create your own silent world in a way and be as like in your own head as much as possible so that if other things come in they’re a little dinned down, you know, they’re a little quieter.

What was it like working with Goyer? What was he like as a director?

Goyer was cool man. Goyer was really nice to have because Goyer was so relaxed. Goyer knew exactly what he wanted so and we had the time and I feel like enough talent with the DP and the whole entire crew and the whole cast to where he could sort of move his pieces around until it clicked. And he was like cool, now let’s move so it was nice because it was a movie where you’re constantly trying get so much tension built up between you and somebody else reviewing what’s going on and so it was nice to be able to go back to the person in charge and be like “how was that, dude?” And they’d be like “it was good, it was really good”. And you’re like “cool, ok good. I can calm down. Thank you”.

I was going to say you’ve been doing a lot of feature films and you’ve been working constantly and you’ve got a lot of stuff coming up in the future. Do you ever wonder what would have happened if Joan had managed to stay on the air for 8 years?

Yeah. I imagined ….the weird part is that I did more features when I was doing Joan than I had done right afterwards. I’d done like 3 movies while I did the 2nd season of Joan of Arcadia so they were actually willing to work around ….both were willing to work around the schedules because my concern when I first signed on to Joan of Arcadia was that I wouldn’t be able to do feature films and that I would be tied up for God knows how long and I was really scared of it so the show runner/producer was really nice and he’s like I’ll help you out the best I can and so there was never a huge fear. There was never like a oh, God I’m going to be stuck on 8 years and never be able to do these cool movies but in a way I’m kind of thankful that I’m not working constantly too. A movie like this took a lot out of me at a certain point I realized. Like all of a sudden I was done and I was really tired and exhausted and I’d been up in Vancouver basically cooped up in my hotel room for 3 months and it was nice to be back in the world and not have anything to do. Joan of Arcadia was a show we filmed 16 hours a day 5 days a week so that just became like one of the most exhausting things I’ve ever worked on in a good way, but still very exhausting.

You’re also in a whole bunch of things coming up. I have a list so let’s talk about Calvin Marshall, Beautiful Ordinary, Choose Connor, Fanboys.

Yeah, Calvin Marshall, we haven’t filmed it yet. I think its going possibly the end of this year. Choose Connor is a friend of mine’s movie. It’s a very low budget movie which I did a very important part of the movie but a very small part of the movie that came out really well. It’s going to premier CineVegas in June or July. I’ll be down there for it. It’s a really great movie they made for like about $550,000. But it’s a great view into politics based on the view of this 20 year old kid who wrote and directed it. It’s really… he did an incredible job. Beautiful Ordinary is a movie that’s like Dazed and Confused. It’s an ensemble cast. My younger brother was starring in and they had a part to play like his good friend and they re-wrote the whole thing and asked me to play his older brother. It’s cool. I played like this drug dealer who gets his little brother to sell all these drugs in high school for him and it’s sort of just about their relationship and it’s a crazy Dazed and Confused movie in a sense where it’s like the end of high school and it’s like 3 days after that where everybody’s just letting loose and partying and saying goodbye to each other and it’s cool. It came out really well, I just saw it and it’s cool. That should be going to a couple of film festivals soon. Education of Charlie Banks is going to premier at Tribecca in like 2 weeks and that should really cool. I just saw it and I actually liked it.

Are you going to Tribecca?

Yeah I’m going to be at Tribecca, so I’ll be there April 26th that’s when I fly in. It’s a really cool movie. I recommend it to be honest and not because I’m in it. I think it’s kind of cool.

Fanboys is going to be fun?

Fanboys is way fun. Fanboys is really nutty. It’s wacky, man. They let me and 3 other guys basically like do and say whatever we wanted to.

You’re one of the Fanboys?

Yeah, I’m one of the Fanboys. My character is dying and so they decide to drive him across the country to steal the print of Episode 1 in 1998 before it comes out. So it’s really nice. It’s a really great subtext of friendship and they’re like me and this guy and he finds out I’m dying and sort of disappeared from my life and now you find out I don’t have very much time to live so he sort of comes back into the picture and we rekindle our childhood friendship.

It’s coming out soon right?

Yeah, it’s not set in stone but as of now its August 17th. But they’re going to start doing screenings in the next couple of months.

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So given that you got to say and do whatever you wanted, do you have that Fanboy in you to…

Oh yeah, man. I got a huge Star Wars collection like you have no idea. I have like every single figure from all the new series and I’ve got a ton of like everything from like 1984 so like I grew up watching Star Wars so to do that movie was like a dream. I felt like a kid in a candy shop the entire time.

Were you around for any of the star cameos?

Yeah, I got to kiss Carrie Fisher, man. That was amazing. That was absolutely amazing. Billy Dee Williams, I didn’t get to meet Kevin Smith unfortunately, I was filming something else while they went back and added in that scene. Kevin Smith’s got a scene that he wrote and directed that they added into the movie which unfortunately I didn’t get to…they wanted to be in it but I couldn’t. Yeah, everybody was cool man. Everybody that’s seen the movie…George Lucas saw it…and was like I loved this movie. Take all the sound effects from all the original movies, you can have them all and you can use whatever you want so they …..

Did he say “Yo”?

Yeah, he said Yo. And he said Dude. He called me dude. He said I was one of the most fabulous actor he’s ever seen.


I’m sure he felt it. No, I didn’t talk to him at all. I wish I did.

So he’s considering you for the third trilogy of Star Wars.

Yes, exactly.

So I believe you guys are going to do some promotion at the Star Wars celebration in May as well as in Europe in July. How do you feel about going to a Star Wars convention?

Man, I’ve never been to an actual Star Wars convention for Fanboys but we went to a comic book convention in December and that was incredible. It was like…I didn’t realize how many people were actually looking forward to any kind of Star Wars fan movie. It was like wow, really, ok, cool. They didn’t know anything about it, they just knew it was Fanboys and it was about Star Wars and they were in. And I was like wow, that’s pretty cool. You know Star Wars fans, man, Star Wars fans are diehard, so these people are really nice and they want to know everything and they’re totally into it and it was cool. I felt I made something the people are really going to enjoy.

Are you going to do anything at the Comic-Con?

Yeah. We’re going to the Comic-Con. They’d gone last year for a little bit, the director and producers went, so I think we’re definitely going to do the whole round.

So let’s ask the question of what’s coming up next that wasn’t on IMDB?

Um, I can’t say just yet in the next 2 weeks something should be announced but I’m not allowed to say it just yet, but it will be cool. It will be definitely cool.

Let’s ask the question– is it a big budget summer kind of movie?

I think so. I think so. We’ll see what happens. It’s a really good production company, really good people behind it. Great writer and director.

Like Spielberg?

Yeah. It’s like Tom Hanks and Spielberg….no, not at all. Don’t quote me on that one. Yeah, it’s like really cool people who’ve been working on this one project for a long time and it’s getting made and they’re like really excited.

So it’s an Indie?

It’s an Indie but it’s a really big production company so I think it’s going to get distributed also.

Is it a comedy or drama?

Action comedy. Sort of sci-fi action comedy. It’s cool.

Do people still…the whole Girl Next Door you know with the Vivid hat and that character you played is that like the one people seem to remember you?

Yeah, it seems it. Just Friends sort of came into the picture after that sort of like and blanketed out a bunch of other people. I did Girl Next Door now going on 5 years so 5 years ago so at a certain point now they’re like…I get less of like “Hey you’re that guy from…” and more like “dude, where did you go to school?” I’m like I didn’t graduate high school. “Are you sure you didn’t go to Notre Dame?” Yes, I’m positive I didn’t go to Notre Dame. “I had English class with you”. No, it’s like it sort of keys in with them and they really don’t know. That movie is like a frat boy movie so for the most part if I’m at a bar and the guy’s like “Dude, fuck her for me dude”. And it’s like fantastic.

It kind of has a cult following.

It became a very like college movie. Most of the people who’ve ever seen it like the movie. I like the movie, I thought it was very funny but most of the people who’ve ever seen it they’re like yeah, dude we watch it in my dorm all the time man, every Friday with some popcorn and some beer and we’re good to go. That’s really cool. Just Friends sort of took that over a little bit though. I’d done that movie and then people a little bit later I felt I look a little bit more similar to that than I did in the Girl Next Door.

Do you enjoy the L.A. nightlife?

Yeah, I do. Well, Guys is my one place. I never really go anywhere else. I went to Le Deux like once maybe 4 months ago and it was like the most chaotic crazy thing I’ve ever been to so I just stick to my jazz night and that’s about it.

I know that you’ve kept friends with a lot of people that you’ve worked with. Is it hard in the industry to keep friends especially out here in L.A. where a lot of people are competitive and all that stuff?

Yeah, man. It’s crazy. It’s to the point what I have realized which is nice is that I have a really close group of friends and they’re all actors for the most part and they’re all actors I’m up against all the time. For the most part it’s nice. You get to know somebody well enough you understand that everybody’s in the same boat. You’re all floating at the exact same speed. Certain projects are good for one person and they aren’t good for another and that’s just what happens. I’ve tried out for stuff that I’ve absolutely loved and would die to do and like my best friend has gotten it. And it’s never been anything other than like cool, man like it’s you and I respect you and I’m glad that you’re doing it and I’m glad that’s it’s a talented person doing this and it’s not …it’s nice because as I kid I’ve grown up doing this and as an adolescent it’s so easy to get jealous and it’s so easy to envy somebody and it’s so easy for people to really turn against you over a project which after a long time you realize it’s not that important. You do movies, you keep going and you do them. Some seem like a big deal and they end up doing nothing, and some seem like nothing and they end up being a big deal. You really can’t tell so at a certain point your friends are the ones that matter and that’s sort of how I’ve kept it.

I’m also curious when you guys were filming the movie if you geeked out with David over superhero movies?

Are you kidding me? He was telling me…I was grilling him about the next Batman. He told me a couple things about Batman and stuff and I was really excited for him. But he kept it pretty quiet for the most part.

It’s kind of hard because he writes a lot of the superhero stuff.

Yeah, he writes tons. Yeah, that’s what’s cool. I think about this thing and I think he was able to invest that kind of like that’s the whole idea about his superhero movie is to make superheros human. So you take a supernatural movie and try to make it as real as possible and David Goyer is one of the best to do that.

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