Best Male Lead
What can you say about “The Sessions” director/screenwriter?
Ben Lewin is an amazing storyteller and person. I don’t who else could’ve done the movie better. I’m glad I got to work with him, and I’m glad he took a chance with me.
Can you talk about how you got into character for “The Sessions” by pretending that you were paralyzed?
It was really my own choice. And any amount of pain I dealt with is minute compared to what many people deal with daily, but it was a physical challenge, for sure. I’m standing before you. I’m not too beat up, so I did all right.
What does winning this Spirit Award mean to you?
I think anytime people notice your work, it gives you more confidence. It’s not really the reason to do work, to make art, but when people notice it and see it, that’s a really wonderful thing.
I’m working on a film in Connecticut. It’s based on a Leonard Elmore novel called “The Switch.” Jennifer Aniston is one of the stars, and she’s already been in a movie called “The Switch,” so we’re looking for a new title. Dan Schechter is directing. Tim Robbins is in it. Yasiin Bey, Will Forte — just a really great group.
Where are you going to put this Spirit Award?
Next to the other one, I guess. In a closet. I need to make an area. I don’t have a lot of hardware, so to speak, but maybe I’ll make a spot, and when I’m feeling lonely or sad, I can look at it. [He laughs.]
How did you developing character of Mark O’Brien in “The Sessions”?
Mark O’Brien left a lot of amazing writing that I was able to check out and read and learn more about him. There’s his autobiography. There’s his poetry. There’s an amazing short film by Jessica Yu that won an Academy Award a few years ago called “Breathing Lessons.” That was hugely informative. I spoke to Mark’s survivors: Cheryl Cohen Greene and Susan Fernbach. I just tried to figure out the physicality of it, but that was kind of a start.
For more info: Spirit Awards website
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