“He’s not that intimidating,” Jaeden Lieberher says of Clive Owen, his co-star in the new indie dramedy “The Confirmation.” For one thing, the actor is a pro at sharing the screen with big names. Born in 2003, he’s already acted alongside Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy and Naomi Watts (“St. Vincent”), as well as Michael Shannon, Kirsten Dunst and Joel Edgerton (“Midnight Special”).
But in “The Confirmation,” from “Nebraska” scribe Bob Nelson, it’s mostly just Lieberher and Owens. They play a father and son — one down and out and shaggy, the other quiet and over-protected — spending a weekend together, which turns into a sometimes amusing, sometimes harrowing search for the former’s expensive and beloved carpentry tools, which have been stolen.
Given his track record, Lieberher knew not to freak out at sharing a movie with the acclaimed star of “Croupier,” “Children of Men” and “The Knick.” “I didn’t look at him as Clive Owen,” Lieberher tells us. They would spend a lot of time hanging out, even when they weren’t shooting. “Things became natural between us. We’d just talk about normal life instead of the script.”
Owen is no stranger to acting alongside kids, having done it in “The Boys Are Back” and “Intruders.” He isn’t someone who avoids young co-stars. In fact, they help his acting.
“Child actors tend to work more on instinct,” Owen explains. “If you do too much acting in front of them, if you’re too controlling, too honed, coming in with your thing already worked out, then a child actor can make you look like an actor, because they’re more open.”
Still, Owen found that Lieberher wasn’t a typical child actor. “To be honest with you, he’s the full-deal already,” he says. “He’s already very knowing, very honed. Unusually for a child actor, he’s incredibly restrained. That’s something you tend to learn when you’re much older: that you don’t have to say everything with your acting. He innately understands that.”