Q: What lessons have you learned for you to direct? Are you planning on it, are you working on it?
Yeah, in a couple of months.
Q: Are you worried about it?
I am not, I am not anymore, I was until I got this cast, and then the cast is so good that I got this, you can’t mess that up.
Q: But what lessons have you learned?
Well I guess it’s that you have to kind of, as much as you want to try and adopt the styles, I don’t think it’s wise. What I think I’ve learned, I say this now, but it might totally be different, but it feels like the things that I admire about the filmmakers that I have worked with, is that they are themselves. And they don’t try and make movies like anyone else.
And it’s not in an egocentric way. It’s just that I think when you are a director, you can’t, there’s nowhere to hide. You are completely exposed. As an actor you can say, well it’s the character, or I didn’t write it, I didn’t direct it, I didn’t cut it, I didn’t score it, I didn’t make that poster, (laughs) you can hide behind a lot of things. Whereas a filmmaker, you are responsible for everything, and I didn’t I guess realize exactly how much you can tell about a filmmaker by their films.
Q: And you also have to worry about budgeting I assume too.
Yeah, you have got to worry.
Q: When you are a director and you are in charge of everything, so at a certain point, you thought you could do this. When did you know that you could be an actor, an adult dramatic actor?
I don’t know if there was like a specific moment or even that I do know that now. Fluff is always within reach. (laughter)
Q: You have kind of emerged.
That’s nice, but the reality is is that I was sort of gift wrapped a career by Henry Beane, who gave me this opportunity to do this movie The Believer, which was coming from doing Young Hercules and The Mickey Mouse Club was something that gave me the opportunity to break out of that in a way that I don’t think I could have done without that opportunity. And it was sort of, I couldn’t get an audition for The Believer or a movie like that, because of my past.
And yet after that film, it was like suddenly people were talking to me like I was some serious person all of a sudden. And I tried to play that role for awhile, because it felt good, but it wasn’t something that I knew, it was something I was sort of pretending to be, and then you hope to believe it at a certain point, until you make it.
Q: Can you talk about working with Eva, what was it like, and this very intense chemistry that was created there?
I would like to say it’s our chemistry but I think the reality is that it’s Derek’s process. I think that chemistry is evident in other relationships in the movie as well and I think the chemistry between Dane [DeHaan] and Emory [Cohen], or Bradley [Cooper] and Rose [Byrne], so much of it is just about Derek’s process, and the kind of environment that he puts you in that evokes a kind of connection.
I think we all have a chemistry with one another because we are the only actors in the vicinity, because everyone else is like real people from the environment, that there’s connection between you because you feel like oh my God, they are going to smell a rat. I am sure I am sticking out like a sore thumb.
Q: Is there a lot of pressure now from your representatives who say, Ryan, we need you for the A-list stuff and you say, I love my craft, I want to keep making movies like this? How much pressure is there for you to say, I want to do this?
Who is they?
Q: CAA, whomever represents you.
I think part of it is that I am not with a large agency, so I never honestly have heard the term “A-list” until today. I haven’t heard it for a year or so, and I don’t have people around me who put those pressures on me and I guess the people I have been with, I have been with my manager since I was fourteen, I have been with my agent since I was sixteen, same with my publicist and my lawyer and everybody around me has been in it for the long haul.
And all of these things that are developing for me were never a part of the initial plan. You know, when I first started out, I was never really considered for leading roles, so I just sort of wired my brain to believe that if I was going to have a career, I was going to be as a character actor, and it’s only sort of in the last five years or something that it kind of opened up.
Q: How do you feel about being an Internet sensation?
In terms of the internet thing, it’s just a wrong place, wrong time kind of thing.
Q: Was it any easier getting this role having had the chance to help shape it as opposed to when you were taking on the script which was more rigid and structured?
Yeah, absolutely, it’s a much more rich experience, because you feel a sense of, you are invested in a way that you are, you just can’t be unless you are involved in that way.
Q: Do you see yourself exploring this improvisation in your own filming?
I’m so nervous to make any predictions about myself as a director, it’s really something that I think you have to do in order to know and I will tell you all about it when it’s finished.
WARNING!!! – SPOILERS FOR PLACE BEYOND THE PINES FOLLOW!!!
Q: Were you okay with the fact that your character dies so early on in the movie?
Yeah, I think so. I like it, I like to keep it going. Less is more for me.
Q: But was it weird when you read the script… did it create a whole new conversation for you?
I loved the structural narrative of the movie, I think it’s so interesting, and it reminds me of that film ‘The Red and the White,’ that Russian film, where you are sort of, you follow one solider until he is killed and you follow the guy that killed him and the baton keeps being passed.
Q: Like the Richard Linklater film Slacker.
Right. I like it and I think what I love about what Derek has done is I feel like he’s, all the reasons that you go to the movies are still there, there are still the conventions of a heist film, a crime drama, a family drama, a thriller, and yet, it’s deconstructed and laid out in a way that allows you to have a different experience watching it, and I think that that’s, as an audience I appreciate that, because I love those genres, but it is nice to experience them in a different way.
The Place Beyond the Pines will be in theaters in limited release on March 29, 2013.