Did you enjoy shooting the Faults in our Stars movie, and did you read the book before before you shoot this movie?
I read the book before we shot. Wow, such a complex and beautiful and
existential piece for YA. But maybe I just don't know my YA genre. I was
so moved by it and yes, it was a daunting task, the idea of playing a
father who has a child with cancer. I was such a fan of Shailene Woodley
and Laura Dern before met. And the script was so good it was a no
brainer. We really did have a great time together. This cast and the
producers and director and John Green too, we all bonded in a serious
way. We had a lot of dinners together in Pittsburgh and basically hung
out whenever we could. I love Pittsburgh. It reminds me of a bigger
Charleston WV where I grew up and consider home. Very very special
project and I think everyone should see it.
Your character had to cry a lot in The Fault In Our Stars. As an actor, how do make yourself be emotional and cry?
DID have to cry a lot. It was so specifically stated in the book and
everyday on set Josh Boone, the director, said "looks like you gotta cry
again". So there was a little bit of pressure (A LOT). On "The Fault in
our Stars" it really wasn't all that hard--or at least it was easier
than other times. I have two little 2 1/2 year old boys. I was playing a
father to a child with cancer. That in itself is a pretty good setup.
My heart goes so soft anytime I even think about my boys. In fact, I've
become hyper sensitive to kids in general and I get emotional pretty
easily when it comes to them. Even total strangers. I did some research
of course and read blogs about kids who had had cancer or are still
living with it. One boys' blog, Max Mikulak (www.maxsRingOfFire.org),
was particularly beautiful and heartbreaking. I feel like I got to know
his family. Anyway, there are a lot of sad and inspiring stories out
there and so it wasn't hard to get there. I started in the theater in
New York and I feel like every play I did I had to cry or do an
accent--and 8 times a week. So, that was pretty good training. I've
never used the peppermint spray that you can ask for on set. And maybe I
should have, but I come from that hard headed only do it if it's real
sort of mentality. Making yourself cry for projects always demands some
kind of new head trick. The same visual or memory only works a couple
times at best. So, you have to keep inventing. And sometimes you don't
have to do anything. Like when I was doing a lot of plays, your body
would get used to that moment that you had repeated dozens of times and
it would just happen.