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  • - JJ wanted to meet with me.

  • We met up at a cafe in town,

  • and I remember sitting, reading on his iPhone

  • the new Star Wars movie while he was just

  • sitting in front of me at this cafe in Paris.

  • It was incredibly surreal.

  • [bluesy guitar music]

  • Drive, yeah that was with Nic Refn.

  • We met at Noho Star, we went to that restaurant there

  • and I was actually coming to tell him

  • that I wasn't going to do the movie.

  • When I had read the script I remember feeling

  • that the character of Standard was standard.

  • When he said, well, if it could be anything you wanted

  • what would it be?

  • What would it be?

  • If you could just make it up?

  • And so then we sat there for four hours, I remember,

  • in this restaurant, and we just went through it

  • and just kind of spitballed and come up with all these

  • ideas of, like, well what if he was owning his own bar

  • and he made a mistake because he kept some money

  • that he shouldn't have, and now he's in jail,

  • and then he has to pay for protection,

  • and slowly this whole thing just spirals and spirals

  • out of his control.

  • And I think ultimately it made it just a much more

  • complex situation because suddenly you did feel

  • a little bit for the guy.

  • So once he comes out of prison,

  • suddenly this triangle gets much more complex.

  • - Says you've been coming around helping out a lot.

  • Is that right?

  • - Mm hmm.

  • - Oh, that's very nice.

  • That's nice of you.

  • Thank you.

  • I also remember on set just Nicolas Refn,

  • he would always wear a blanket around his midsection

  • because that's where he kept the energy warm.

  • It was from Nic Refn that, and I keep this with me

  • all the time now, 'cause he says, he's like,

  • you know whenever it says in the script

  • the guys comes through the door,

  • I wonder why doesn't he come through the window,

  • or up through the floor, or break through a wall.

  • And so he kind of goes through all the difference choices

  • of what it's not to get back to why it has to be this one.

  • And that's something that I've always kind of kept with me,

  • that idea of what else could it possibly be?

  • Inside Llewyn Davis.

  • That was kind of the thing that changed everything.

  • I remember I was doing a movie in Pittsburgh,

  • and I was pretty bored, and so I started just playing

  • a lot of guitar.

  • I'd always played guitar, but this time I just

  • really became much more serious about it

  • and I started finding open mics in the area,

  • and I would go and I'd play.

  • And then a few months later I get this audition

  • for the Cohen brothers where I had to play some songs.

  • Everything that happened to get to this point

  • was just so crazy.

  • Then I was doing this other film after I knew

  • that I had the audition coming up,

  • and there was a guy that was a featured extra,

  • he was an old guy at the end of the bar.

  • And there was a guitar laying around

  • and he picked up the guitar and he started playing it

  • exactly in this style, it was Travis picking.

  • And he was amazing, he was so good.

  • His name's Eric Franzen.

  • And I said, "You're amazing.

  • "You play a lot?"

  • He's like, "Oh yeah, I've been playing all my life."

  • "Do you give lessons?"

  • He's like, "Yeah, I actually give lessons all the time."

  • And I said, "Oh, 'cause I'm gonna audition for this thing.

  • "It's kinda based on Dave Van Ronk.

  • "Do you know Dave Van Ronk?"

  • He's like, "Yeah, I played with Dave."

  • And so I got chills, and I was like,

  • "I need to learn how to play, can you teach me?"

  • He's like, "Yeah, yeah."

  • So I go to his place, and he lives right above

  • the old Gaslight, he's been there for years,

  • and it looked like a time capsule.

  • He had all these old guitars everywhere, and records.

  • And he just started playing me record after record,

  • and teaching me how to play in this Travis picking.

  • This was just for the audition.

  • I hadn't even gotten the part yet.

  • Then I got it, and it was the most incredible

  • experience of my life.

  • Lay cold as a stone

  • - I don't see a lot of money here.

  • - You know, Joel and Ethan,

  • they kind of always operate from this place of

  • whoever feels the strongest wins.

  • If someone feels very strongly that that shouldn't

  • be the shot.

  • There'll always be one guy that's like,

  • no, it definitely shouldn't be that,

  • and the other guy's like, alright, cool.

  • And every once in a while, like they'd come up

  • and, you know, Joel would come up and give me direction

  • then he'd leave.

  • Then Ethan would come up and give me direction.

  • Sometimes it was different direction.

  • So I would just do what the last guy said.

  • The whole thing was just like the biggest education

  • I could possibly ever get.

  • They were just so generous with their knowledge.

  • And at the same time, didn't give any compliments.

  • So that kind of really taught me to really just

  • stay within myself and not to look for anything from them,

  • because whenever they'd come up, if it was good

  • they'd just come up and go, yeah, yeah.

  • And then if it wasn't good they'd go, tsk, yeah, yeah.

  • Got it, I got it, we'll do it again.

  • A Most Violent Year.

  • That was particularly cool 'cause it was right

  • down the street from where I live,

  • mostly where we were shooting.

  • So I could just walk to work every morning.

  • It was also the coldest winter in years and years.

  • Underneath that big camel coat and those perfect

  • Armani suits I was wearing a flesh-colored diving suit

  • to keep me warm.

  • And that was really great, particularly because

  • of Jessica Chastain, who I went to school with,

  • we went to Juilliard together,

  • and she's the one that really kind of

  • championed me for the role.

  • I remember it was like a very debonair, very well

  • put together guy, and at the time I was just finishing

  • shooting Ex Machina, and when I met with JC

  • I had a shaved head and a huge beard,

  • and he was like, I don't know if this is the guy. [laughing]

  • What is that?

  • - It's a gun.

  • It's a fucking gun.

  • - There's so much ambiguity in it,

  • which I really loved.

  • It was a gangster movie, but without the gangsters.

  • It was about violence, but lacking violence.

  • It was a really challenging thing to play

  • because everything was so close to the vest.

  • Everything was just this kind of internal volcano

  • that was brewing inside that rarely ever had a moment

  • to be let out.

  • But doing those scenes with Jessica was just so much fun

  • because we are very similar animals.

  • Ex Machina.

  • One of the very first auditions I had

  • when I graduated from school was for a movie

  • called Sunshine that Alex Garland had written.

  • And I remember reading the script and I just,

  • I became so obsessed with it after I didn't get the part.

  • I still would go back and read it,

  • and I had all these ideas for music,

  • and I remember being like, is there a way

  • that I can get these people my ideas,

  • 'cause I've got some really great thoughts about this thing.

  • But that's how much of an impression

  • the script had made on me.

  • Years later, he was directing his first film, officially.

  • I went into this hotel to meet him.

  • I remember as I was going in I saw a number of actors

  • leaving, so it was like this speed dating thing

  • that he was doing.

  • And there was like, oh, oh, you, yeah.

  • Big fan.

  • And then had to go in and talk to him.

  • We sat down, and I immediately started talking