The new espionage thriller The Double opens in theaters this weekend. The film is somewhat of a throw-back to the cold war spy films of the 1970s and ’80s. In fact, screenwriter Derek Haas shared that he and his partner (director Michael Brandt) were inspired by films such as Three Days of the Condor and Marathon Man. In order to communicate the tone they were aiming for the filmmakers screened Kevin Costner and Gene Hackman’s beloved double-agent thriller No Way Out for the cast and crew before they began production.
The Double stars Richard Gere as a retired CIA agent who is paired with a young and ambitious FBI agent (Topher Grace) in order to track a ruthless Russian assassin known only as Cassius. True Blood’s Stephen Moyer turns in a performance as a captured Soviet agent who was trained by the elusive Cassius.
We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Moyer and Grace to get their take on the premise of the film and its relevancy in our current, real world, Geo-political circumstances. The conversation opened with Stephen Moyer sharing that Topher Grace reads several of the entertainment blogs present at the event. Duly noted.
Take a look at the interview below:
Stephen Moyer and Topher Grace The Double interview:
We followed-up our brief conversation with actors with an email exchange with the film’s director Michael Brandt and co-writer Derek Haas.
For Hass, the film, “all started with Richard.”
“He’s always been one of my favorite actors, especially when he’s playing a darker character. There’s a whole generation of filmgoers who know him from softer roles and haven’t seen “Internal Affairs” or “Officer and a Gentleman,” “American Gigolo,” etc. He’s got a real, dark humanity about him and we need an actor that you could still like while he was doing bad things. Richard is unique in that way. Topher is just scratching the surface of his dramatic talents and his boyish charms offset Richard’s darker side.”
SR: Topher Grace has said he feels that there is some sense of nostalgia for the certainties of the cold war. Do you agree? Do you feel like the basic conceit of this film is more relevant to our world than many of us may realize?
Haas: “When we set out to make this movie, two things happened: Russian covert assassins killed LItvinenko in England by spraying him with some sort of poisonous substance. And then the Feds busted 10 Russian Intelligence Officers in DC. Every day in the news, there is an article about how our interests in the Middle East, in Africa, in Europe differ from Russia’s interests. So, yes… we thought it was relevant… and we thought it was more interesting than having bad guys in turbans. Plus, we grew up with Russian Agents as the bad guys and have a great affinity for those books and movies.”
SR: Stephen Moyer plays a very animalistic/physically expressed character. Did you work with him to develop that visceral quality or is it something he brought to the table?
Brandt: “This is pure Steven. We talked about the nature of his character but he created that feral character on his own. Before takes he jumps around, amps himself up and then goes for it. Which is the antithesis of who he is, mind you. He’s the consummate English gentleman the minute the camera’s are off. He’s a real pro.”
SR: He (Moyer) always does impressive accent/voice work — how important was the accuracy of the accent to you? When we hear Richard Gere speaking in Russian did you need to dub that in?
Brandt: “Steven’s and Topher’s Russian are all their own. Richard did his in Russian on set, and did it perfectly, but because the set was too noisy we had to re-record it. We had a dialect coach on from the beginning who helped make it exact. Topher’s first line is particularly hard because he has to roll some crazy R’s. He started working on that weeks before we started.”
Grace has said that his That ’70s Show co-star Mila Kunis provided some vocal coaching for his Russian dialogue.
Brandt: “Richard also spent a lot of time training with Martin Wheeler, who’s an expert Systema, which is a Russian martial art. It helped get him in the mindset of where the character came from. We wanted to use the fighting style in the movie but it’s so graceful and subtle that it turns out not to be very cinematic.”
The Double opens in theaters tomorrow, Friday, September 28th.
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