Jason Schwartzman is really nice and a great guy to interview. His character in Listen Up Philip? Not so much. Philip’s about to have his second book published and he’s sure it’s a big winner. However, when his editor tells him that The New York Times is giving him a negative review, Philip decides he won’t do any press for the book. A raging cynic and egoist, Philip sours every single relationship he’s got and that’s when director Alex Ross Perry lets you see the other side of the situation, what happens to the people around him when Philip is gone.
With Listen Up Philip set to hit select theaters in New York City on October 17th, I got the chance to sit down with Schwartzman to discuss his very first impression of the script, what happened when they tried to make Philip a more likable character, what it’s like getting into the headspace of such a rageful guy, how playing Philip inspired him to be more forward in his own life and more. Hit the jump to hear about all of that as well as Schwartzman’s upcoming film, The Overnight, and his experience working with Tim Burton on Big Eyes.
- 00:00 – His first impression of Philip.
- 01:14 – The script was beautifully written, but also hard to read.
- 02:36 – The importance of meeting director Alex Ross Perry before committing to the film; how they prepared together.
- 04:06 – What happened when they tried to pull back on Philip’s abrasiveness.
- 05:10 – What does Philip actually like?
- 06:30 – The lighting and camerawork.
- 07:21 – Having the camera right in his face for extreme close-ups.
- 07:48 – Incorporating personal experiences in certain scenes.
- 09:19 – Connecting to such an offensive, unlikable character.
- 10:18 – Shooting the movie in chunks over the course of 23 days.
- 10:43 – Watching the movie and seeing the portions he’s not in for the first time.
- 11:53 – How to get into the headspace of such an unpleasant character.
- 12:30 – How Listen Up Philip helped him be more forward with people in real life.
- 13:20 – On Patrick Brice’s new film, The Overnight.
- 14:33 – Working with Tim Burton on Big Eyes.