Justin Long has a horror movie to promote. It’s called “Lavender,” in which he has a small but key role as a doctor who tends to a woman (Abbie Cornish) who realizes she’s blocked a traumatic memory involving mass murder, which she fears she may have committed herself. We can’t say any more about it, which would be tricky if we didn’t wind up also talking about other things, including an even scarier film he was once in: Mike Judge’s 2006 comedy “Idiocracy.”
There are big spoilers about your character here that we can’t talk about. Admittedly, I had trouble coming up with questions about your role without ruining it for everyone.
Without any spoilers, I can say part of the appeal to playing him was that he was very guarded and kind of subdued. I wasn’t able to show much and I had to keep a lot of things inside. I thought it would be an interesting acting challenge. It was fun to do — surprisingly. You would think playing a guarded character like that might be a little tedious to shoot, but it was fun. We all had to lift each other spirits in between takes, because the subject was so heavy and dark.
And the whole movie is a mood piece, meaning it’s slow and heavy. I’m not sure what that feels like when you’re in the middle of something like that.
It was always about setting a very specific, creepy tone. The whole film, even the innocuous scenes where there aren’t any big scares of major revelations, they all had a tinge of creepiness because of the way [director Ed Gass-Donnelly] shot it. I wasn’t sure how he would put it together, how it would seem when you saw the whole thing. That can be a little scary. You have to really trust the director has a vision for it, otherwise it’s going to be a little boring. [Laughs] It’s going to be cool and creepy or boring as s—. I was hoping it went the former.
That level of trust is unusual, I imagine. I guess the most extreme example of this is a Terrence Malick movie, where you’re not even sure if the scenes you shot will make the final cut.
You’re just a background actor in a nature movie, basically. And by the way, I would jump at the chance to do that. [Laughs]
I’ll put that it in this article: “Justin Long wants to be in a Terrence Malick movie.” I’m not sure that’s how this thing works.
You know, why not? Isn’t that kind of how it works sometimes? I’m not saying it’s going to work. [Laughs] But hey, listen, I’m not getting auditions for him, so don’t discard every available outlet.