The movie Jake Lacy has seen the most is “Ghostbusters.” He estimates he’s seen it hundreds of times.
“I watched it at least twice a week from the ages of five to 15,” the actor tells us.
It was probably inevitable that he’d wind up in comedies. He was customer service rep Pete Miller on the last season of “The Office.” He’s Max, the Republican-ish gentleman who knocks up Jenny Slate in “Obvious Child.” He’s Fran, Lena Dunham’s love interest on the fourth season of “Girls.”
But he only happened upon comedy by accident. He studied drama at school and has a background in Shakespeare. The roles he kept getting, as it turned out, were in comedies. Ideally he’d like to mix it up, do more films like “Carol,” Todd Haynes’ 1950s-set lesbian romance, in which he plays Richard, the young man Rooney Mara’s Therese leaves for Cate Blanchett’s elegant society dame.
“Carol” was only Lacy’s third film, and it meant getting used to a very particular director’s very particular methodology. Haynes had a book, Lacy recalls, that he would share with not only the production team but the actors as well. “It’s a visual look-book of images that he’s pulled together that create a sense of the look and the world we’re moving into,” he says. “He has this attention to detail and this creative curiosity that pulls from all these different sources to create a fleshed-out version of New York in 1952, 1953. It painted this sense of the world in our minds as opposed to this polished, plastic version of the period, which I think is immediately accessed in our minds when you hear ‘1950s.’”
In the novel — Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel “The Price of Salt,” originally published under the pseudonym “Claire Morgan” — Richard is angrier, a guy livid he’s being dumped for another woman. Haynes encouraged Lacy to see him as something more. “Richard is first generation-born-in-America,” he says. “There’s this certain excitement for the American dream and succeeding. For him, the dream would be to one day manage the department store they work at, to have kids, to possibly move to Jersey and commute in. That would be amazing for him. For Therese, she has a different dream. They don’t add up.”