Stephen Lang is back as a bad ass playing blind victim turned villain in the upcoming thriller Don’t Breathe. He didn’t fall short when it came to preparation, “I mean you have to approach the acting problem with tremendous respect first of all, okay because it’s a real condition that, it’s an affliction. It’s also, you have to get past that and begin to see it as a source of possibilities.” Lang also owns up to the challenges of playing a blind character, “I’ve never done a movie with physical stuff where I didn’t pick up some dings.”
Screen Rant caught up with Lang at the film’s L.A. press day to discuss his frequent bad-ass roles, how he prepared to play a blind man, and his fans in Detroit.
Hi Stephen, how are you?
Stephen Lang: Hello. Fine thank you.
Okay first of all, your movie was awesome. Congratulations being in my nightmares-yet again.
Stephen Lang: (LAUGHS)
So I have a question, why do you always play either the bad guy or the bad ass?
Stephen Lang: Well, I don’t think that I always do-I do a lot I guess you know, what can I tell you one things leads to another you know and I been around for a long time and so, at this juncture of my career if I’ve been somewhat “typed” as the old bad ass, I say that’s cool by me you know I can live with that. But I’m always looking to branch out and diverge and who knows maybe I’ll get a romantic scene one day.
Would you like a romantic scene?
Stephen Lang: Oh, I’d love one.
Do you want a little Rom-Com action?
Stephen Lang: A little what?
Like Rom-Com, Rom-like romantic comedy.
Stephen Lang: ROM-COM! Yes I would. Rom-Com, I thought it was like going to Comic-Con so. I’d like a little Com-Com also, a little rom Comic-Con com and all that.
Stephen Lang: But I’ll take, I’ll take this for right now.
You were blind in the film, and the obvious question everybody wants to know is, describe the preparation that went into being a blind man throughout the entire film.
Stephen Lang: Well I mean it starts with, I mean certainly you do a lot of research on the Internet and everything and you want to understand the nature of it because that’s, that’s the right thing to do. I mean you have to approach the acting problem with tremendous respect first of all, okay because it’s a real condition that, it’s an affliction. It’s also, you have to get past that and begin to see it as a source of possibilities. What’s possible when one is blind? And so I did everything from mundane tasks of making coffee or cooking breakfast on a stove, and sometimes, I did it, I did it with varying degrees of success but BUT I always was getting better at it as I did it, so that right there is something to note.
You know what I mean, the more you kind of do the tasks, the easier it gets. And that led me to think that, well, this is his home, this is where he’s been for a long time he’s got to be extremely facile in this house. What that really entailed was getting to know the house very well, which meant sort of, haunting the sets and counting steps. How many steps is it to the second floor? Where does everything go in this house? So, when something is actually out of place that presents a real problem for me. How did that get-did I do that? You know, stuff like that. So, that was, getting to know the house I think was probably the single most important thing that I did.
And you wore contacts correct?
Stephen Lang: MM HMMM
That made it so you couldn’t see anything even if you did want?
Stephen Lang: Well I could see about, they cut your vision by about 60%. And then the fact that we were working in darkness an awful lot of time cuts it probably another say uh you know, 15 or 20% or something so I couldn’t see well, and the rest of it I just basically you take care of yourself. You know at some point you don’t want to, you know I don’t want to see.
I understand, and did you get any shin bruises from bumping into things?
Stephen Lang: I’ve never done a movie with physical stuff where I didn’t pick up some dings. And you do, but I never knocked myself cold on this one anyway you know. But I’ll tell you what I had, there were people who were always there looking after me too to make sure I didn’t trip over a cable or something.
Absolutely. And my last question for you, did anybody recognize you in Detroit?
Stephen Lang: In Detroit, you know, yes three people did.
Good. I know it’s pretty desolate there, you know, to my understanding.
Stephen Lang: It is but you know, its desolate but it’ll, it’ll fight its way back I hope.
Good, I’m from Cleveland so I appreciate that comment. Thank you so much.
Don't Breathe opens in U.S. theaters August 26, 2016.