Finn Witrock's approach to handling being in an ensemble cast that includes Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling and Christian Bale — all of whom star in Adam McKay's "The Big Short" — is to make light of it. That way, he doesn't have to focus on how intimidating it can be. "I get to share [the screen] with such mediocre actors, it's really tough," he says with a laugh. "I wish they were, like, a little more famous."
When you heard the whole list of this cast together, what was your reaction?
It's like, "Uh, are you sure you want me there? Am I invited to that party?" You know, I always get an immediate sense of, like, "Uh oh" when I see a bunch of really famous people in a movie. But then I read the script, and I was just immediately sold. I was like, "I will do whatever I can to be a part of this" based on the way the story was told, the structure of it. I had a meeting with Adam before the audition, and usually you try to keep your cool, but I was just blatantly like, "I want to do this. I think it's brilliant, I think it's a work of genius and I think it's going to change the world. So what can I do?"
Adam has a very particular understanding of how to explain all of this.
I think that's a big goal of the movie, to be an education without being didactic. And to make the average person at least understand the principles. Some of it is still incomprehensible to me, but I know the fundamental movements of what happened. Like I talked to the guy my character is based on, and he always gets to a point of complication where it just starts to be this incomprehensible jargon language. But that's a big point in the movie, too, and the book. It's purposely incomprehensible. They've clouded it in these terms and this jargon that's supposed to make the average person's mind numbed.
It's kind of insidious that way.
Yes. And that's how they can get away with doing so much. When I finished the script I was so angry, and I think it should make people angry. And I think it's good that there are these big names that you recognize passionately telling this story and trying to make you angry, because I think it's going to help get the word out there. And every actor is so good in this. They were really behind it 100 percent. It's different when it's a story you really want to get out into the world.