Sometimes it's more fun to play a character without worrying about how likeable he is. Josh Lucas does that — and then some — in "The Mend," as a mess of a man, Mat, who moves into his estranged brother's apartment and promptly destroys pretty much everything around him. And in the true spirit of independent filmmaking, "The Mend" was even shot in writer-director John Magary's own apartment in Harlem — which led to some awkward moments on set.
Why do you think this character is as damaged and dangerous as he is?
What I would say is this is a guy who is justifying having given up. He's justifying, basically, his sort of anarchist idea about everything. It's a guy who has lost, and he's saying, "I lost because I don't give a f—," but the reality is they went hand-in-hand. He started to lose because he didn't give a f—. It's a kind of character and a kind of personality that, to be honest with you, more and more in my life I'm trying to stay away from thinking those thoughts. [Laughs] Because they lead to where he goes, which is basically homelessness.
That sense of unhinged-ness, while terrifying in real life, is great in a movie.
It's a guy you don't want to have dinner with, but it's a guy you want to watch someone else have dinner with. [Laughs] It's not like an animal, but you know it's going to go wrong. It's just when it's going to go wrong is the question.
Where did his guttural, throaty noises come from?
My sense is he's sort of rotting from within. And look, I've known times in my life when I've drank too much, smoked too much, and this is a guy who's always in a space where his insides are just … you don't feel good. I think in a sense he's constantly hungover. It's not just that he is, even, but that feeling is there even when he's not.