In Bob Byington's "7 Chinese Brothers," which premiered at this year's SXSW, Jason Schwartzman stars as Larry, a particular breed of aimless slacker coasting from dead-end job to dead-end job insulated by booze and pills — and finding himself on the wrong end of people's fists fairly often. Schwartzman sits down with Metro to talk working onscreen alongside his own dog, trying to relate to people with zero ambition and having a face people seem to want to punch all the time.
Is this the most you've ever been punched in a film, as a character?
I've been punched a lot. I think this one, I got slapped and punched a few times. And I think in "Rushmore" I get punched a few times. "Scott Pilgrim" is just exceptional, of course. But yeah, a lot.
Do you ever worry about why you keep getting offered such punch-able roles?
No, I can understand why they would hit these people. It's weird to be hit but not coming out of a fight. That's a whole separate kind of punch, and I think that it's very effective in a movie. A character just getting pushed or punched out of a frame can be funny and it's also very shocking. I liked it. I understood why this character was getting hit.
He's a bit eccentric, to be sure. Where did the randomly talking in different accents come from?
My dog in the movie is my dog in real life, and I said to Bob, "You know what's weird? I've been thinking about this, I talk to me dog in accents probably because he can't judge me." So Bob just wanted to try things in accents, and there was a really fun, experimental way about doing this movie. A lot of things were modular. The story was written and the lines were written, but the ideas of these bits — like when I talk to my dog about keying a guy's car, we tried that in so many different places in the movie, and it never worked. And the one day halfway through I started doing this English accent and all of a sudden it seemed to work.