Babel

 

 

Pan's Labyrinth  

 

Children of Men

 

United 93  

 

Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning
- by George Monbiot

 

Laughter in the Dark
-
by Vladimir Nabokov

 

Lolita
-
by Vladimir Nabokov

 

House of Leaves
-
by Mark Z. Danielewski

 

 

 

.. and still Haley's favorite band....


Radiohead

 

 


Exclusive Interview with Haley Joel Osment : Part 2

Interviewed by Daniel Chia . Researched by Fair and Daniel Chia

 

Haley, given your extensive experience, how do you compare working on a studio backed film, as opposed to an independent film like "Home of the Giants"?

Haley : Well, there are a lot more surprises! [laughs] Doing an independent film like Home of the Giants in late 2005, I would not have been able to tell you that you and I were going to be speaking about its release in the summer of 2007. It's been positive too, we've waited this long for the film to come out because it was only a few months ago that we finally arrived at the proper edit, the proper way this film needs to be seen. We could have gotten it out earlier, but it wouldn't have been the print that it is today. I saw it in Chicago last week, and I saw its first public screening in Los Angeles in May, and it was really worth the wait. A studio film obviously has a strict schedule, and a guaranteed sense of distribution before it comes out, but hey, independent films are a lot more adventurous [laughs]. It's also a great learning experience for me. My dad worked as a Producer on this film. Independent Films require a special kind of ambition and dedication from everybody working on it, from cast and crew and beyond. And me and Ryan and Danielle and Rusty and Dan Schalk and my father have been behind this film and working for its proper release for two years now. I think that is a uniquely rewarding experience.

 

How did you come to be involved with a project like "Home of the Giants", and what was it about the character "Gar" that made you agree to the role?

Haley : Home of the Giants was one of those scripts that I was sifting through back in the summer of 2005, and it just stuck out enormously over everything else that we were reading at that time. I think, most immediately because of the reality of its dialogue. The film has very crucial interplay between me and Ryan, just sort of us bouncing around off each other throughout all the situations in the story. And the way that was communicated in the script, I was saying to myself when I was reading it, oh wow, that's how I talk with my friends. High School films are some of the most easily clichéd when it comes to how teenagers interact with each other. I don't think that you often see accurate portrayals of teenagers. I think that kids know that when they go into the theatre. You know, a lot of people have come to expect that sort of sense of parody and stereotype when you see films about High Schoolers. Home of the Giants doesn't deal with that. Home of the Giants is about being true to that period. It's based loosely on Rusty's experience as a high schooler, so when I met with Rusty for the first time over dinner after reading the script, that sort of sealed the deal for me, because I could tell that Rusty was as genuine a person as the story that he was telling. The character is kind of based on a younger Rusty, I think. It's not a biopic, but the character is definitely inspired by the sense of personality that I got from Rusty, and it was an honor to help create that image of high school that Rusty put to paper.

 

It's interesting that you mentioned the dialogue that Rusty wrote as being very true to how high schoolers speak. However, I am given to understand that you and Ryan were allowed to do a lot of adlibbing and improvisations by Rusty. Can you tell us a little more about that?

Haley : Yeah, that was one of the most fun parts of the film, and when you are working with someone as funny and charismatic as Ryan Merriman, that makes the experience all the more fun [laughs]. With the dynamic between our two characters and the script, Ryan was in many cases the driving force behind the continuing streams of dialogue that went beyond what was written in the script. Ryan is a wellspring of witty commentary in real life and on the set, and that's what makes him such a wonderful person to work with. He's just a very sharp, funny guy, and he was just the actor we needed to play this larger than life character of Matt.

 

Having worked with many great directors in the past, how was it working with a first time director like Rusty Gorman? How did he handle the production, and does his style compare with any of the previous directors from your past films?

Haley : What I like most in a director is, I think, just a sense of realism, there's no trickery. Movie Magic is one thing, but there are no tricks in shaping the way a film set works, in the best of films. And Rusty, being a student of people like Steven Spielberg, and I think he'll tell you one of his favorite films is Jaws, which he has seen hundreds of times [laughs], Rusty really embodies that tradition of a director who is not trying to trick the audience, but a director who is trying to give the audience the most honest and true to life view into whatever story he is telling. If Rusty hadn't told me that it was his first time directing a film, I don't think you'd really know it. He had the confidence and the talent to really handle a script like this. There were challenges too, it was basically a 25 day shoot, in North Carolina, changing multiple locations a day, it was a really fast paced and challenging filming environment, and Rusty and all of the wonderful people we got to work with, cast and crew, really rose to the occasion.

 

Can you tell us more about your character "Gar", without any spoilers…?

Haley : [laughs] Well, Gar is a very intelligent guy. He's a year younger than Matt Morrison, and I think he feels very proud and honored that Matt considers him probably his best friend. In some ways there are some negative aspects to that, because Gar can get a little bit carried away with his almost hero worship of Matt, which is understandable because in such a basketball imbued part of the country, in Indiana, having your best friend be perhaps the best high school player in the State is something that can sort of cloud your judgment in some situations, which is what we see with Gar. He always defends and is loyal to his friends to the end, and as the story moves on, we have to see him wrestle with his sense of right and wrong and the sense of loyalty when it comes to Matt, and some of the less than wise decisions he begins to make.

 

How did Rusty work with you to bring that character to life?

Haley : Rusty was constantly taking notes during the rehearsal process, he had pages and pages of meditations on his script, and little ideas that he had before we started shooting, and he continued while we were shooting. Rusty was someone who was very well connected with his actors during shooting. The performances were really his priority, we would just constantly, throughout shooting, experiment with ideas and little unique things that would happen just coming out of working with the script. That was his strategy, in coming with a sense of spontaneity and honesty within each scene. It was a creatively intense atmosphere.

 

What do you remember the most about the production, and what experience will you take away from working on this particular independent film?

Haley : You know, in a lot of ways, it was really surreal. All of us actors when we go into a film like this try and be on top of things, we have to be extremely prepared for our performances, for our dialogue and everything, but I don't think Ryan or me or anybody really figured out before we were shooting is that we were headed for basically a 25-day night shoot. It doesn't read very apparently in the script, but pretty much the majority of the action takes place at night. So we got there and we realized we were coming in at 6 o'clock at night, and leaving at 3 o'clock in the morning [laughs] and we were like, " wow " [laughs] "I had no idea this was the time that we were going to be working!" [laughs] That was sort of a fun twist in the action, in that we got into this not realizing that the film takes place basically in the dark, which is kind of a cool atmosphere for it to happen. I mean, teenagers at that age typically sleep into the late hours of the day when they can, you know, the action sort of happens at night. So we got into this mindset and this work environment that really propelled us into that sense of reality and danger and spontaneity that the script and the movie really capture.

 

Well, you've mentioned what it was like working with Ryan, what was it like working with Danielle?

Haley : We met with a lot of young women before shooting in the summer of 2005 to find the perfect girl to play Bridge, she's a very unique character, and as soon as Danielle walked through the door and we started working with her, everyone knew that she was the right choice. Danielle is a peerless talent, with her performance, someone who doesn't have to do anything but…I'm trying to the best way to describe it…she basically can just switch on her sense of reality in that character. It appears almost effortless how Danielle can just transform into that character with all of its quirks and spontaneous interactions and everything, and working with her in those scenes, the fact that Gar is very much intimidated by her and sometimes feeling quite awkward around her, that was an easy mindset to get into, because Danielle is such an impressive and formidable talent. It was a real honor working with her, as with Ryan and Ken and everyone else on this project, I really hope we all work together again in the future.

 

Do you have any anecdotes that you can share about them?

Haley : Hmm…. I'm trying to think…that film was basically one giant anecdote! [laughs] You know, I will say that Ryan and I bonded over a lot of golf while we were on the shoot. Ken would come out with us, I got to play with Rusty a couple of times, and Rusty's two real life high school friends, whose names are Matt and Gar, they are the name inspirations for the characters, not the character inspirations. We all got to go out with some of Rusty's old friends. Like I said, we were shooting at night, so during the day, and in very golf friendly North Carolina, we were getting out to play Pinehurst and a lot of the golf courses that were out there. So I think that sort of bonding experience with me and Ryan really led to the connection that we had, because Ryan is a great golfer, and I spend some time on the course myself, so a lot of our interaction could be inspired by the hours we spent out there whacking around a golf ball [laughs].

 

Well, I don't know if you've already read my interview with Ryan, but he did mention that, and I understand that, till today, you still play golf together and you both just recently attended the Dennis Quaid Charity Golf Weekend.

Haley : Yes, yeah!

 

What impresses you the most about him as an actor, and perhaps just as important, as a golfer? He had some really interesting things to say about you as a golfer ….

Haley : Oh, really? [laughs]

 

I don't know if you've read it, but it's interesting…

Haley : [laughs]

 

…so I'm going to ask you the same question about him….

Haley : Sure! [laughs] Yah, we play golf together I guess across the country now. Ryan's really carefree spirit out there reflects the ease with which he gets into his characters. Ryan is a very intensely focused person but he gives off this very honest and inspiring sense of fun when he gets on the set. The work does have to be fun, you know, working in the entertainment industry shouldn't ever feel like a chore, like work, it should feel like something you want to do, and working with Ryan, you get a sense of that especially powerfully, that this is a place you really want to be. When I am on the set, there's no other place in the world that I want to be, and with Ryan, that was definitely true.

 

Haley, you mentioned earlier that your dad is one of the Producers for the film. Can you tell us how that came about and is it something he enjoyed being involved with, in production at that level, and most importantly what was it like to work with him as a Producer?

Haley : In a way it was a new experience for both of me and my dad, with him having that official position. If you look through the names of people that are listed as Producers of this film, I think that their common traits are their enormous sense of support for the film. They are the film's biggest advocates, the group of people that were constantly brainstorming to give the film its best chance while we were shooting and doing the distribution projects and processes are the people that are listed as Producers. My dad cared as much about the script as I did, so working like that was a unique and new collaborative process, where we were working together on the artistic side of it, but also the strategies for making sure that it got the chance that it deserved, it's truly paid off this year.

 

The special May 9th screening of the film was extremely well received, and now the second screening on July 12th in Chicago, again the response has been quite incredible. What do you remember the most about the two screenings, and what were your impressions of the finished film?

Haley : The first screening was in Los Angeles. There were a lot of my friends and people we were close to in Los Angeles. The same went for Rusty and Ryan and everybody, it was a close group of people we really wanted to see the film. But the theatre was so large it ended up being a cool mixture of our friends and people who were interested in distributing the film. It was a very exciting atmosphere, and the response the audience had to the film, the exciting and funny moments, was really encouraging. It was the first time we had seen the film played out exactly the way we wanted it to, with all the final touches on the print, and it really was encouraging and rewarding to see it in that final form.

Chicago was just a couple of days ago, and that was the same sort of atmosphere with a different group of people. In Chicago, that was sort of Rusty's home crowd there, so you could see a lot of Rusty's family and friends who were giving the film the support that it definitely deserved. I think, for me, it really proved what I thought about the film ever since we were shooting it. A lot of independent films are released specifically in Los Angeles and New York, and then the success there determines it's filtering to theatres to the rest of the country. This film in contrast I think is something that will play to audiences across the entire country. It is a universally relevant film to people of all ages. It just hits this moment in high school that everyone can really identify with. One of its advantages, when it gets its release, is that people in Indiana will certainly appreciate it as much as people in New York or Los Angeles or any other city in this country. I am really excited to see how it plays across this vast diverse country.

 

Well Haley, how would you classify "Home of the Giants"? It's obviously not just another sports film... how would you classify this film?

Haley : It's very difficult the give the film a genre. Currently I think the film industry is in the moment of an uncharacteristic overemphasis on genre. I think a lot of the films that you see in the theatre, their exposure in the marketing sense are too much narrowed in on what genre it is. My real hope for the future is for films that transcend genres, because real life is not a genre. You don't have a Horror Day, or a Comedy Day, or a Drama Day. It can shift very quickly, and that's what this film does very expertly. Rusty's brilliance in writing the script is that you are having one kind of day with these characters, you feel a certain sort of atmosphere, then all of a sudden, it changes radically with this one important event. So, I think it's a film, even if I can't give it one accurate over encompassing genre, it moves through a buddy movie, and a thriller, and a sports segment , it really hits the kaleidoscope of experiences that kids in high school are want to experience.

 

We really hope the film finds its distributor soon. All of us worldwide are just dying to see it. We've been waiting for it for two years, and with a possible release coming so soon, we are getting really excited that it will be released, not just domestically in the United States , but world wide as well.

Haley : Absolutely!

Discuss this interview

In the final part of our 3 part interview with Haley Joel Osment, you will see a side of Haley Joel Osment that you have never seen before, as we explore his personal interests and passion for the Arts. Get to know for the first time, the real Haley Joel Osment, as he reveals for the fans what he loves best about the Arts in this unprecedented interview.

 

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