Dallas native Scott Haze has been pals with James Franco for quite a while — and even played a role in Franco’s adaptation of William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying.” But they reach a new level of collaboration with “Child of God,” based on Cormac McCarthy’s novel, in which Haze stars. To prepare for the role, Haze moved to Tennessee, shunned society and lived in a cave for a time. He was far more social when we caught up with by phone for his first-ever interview.
The work you did for this role — “intense” is putting it mildly.
Moving to Tennessee was a drastic thing, but I thought it was necessary to actually fully grasped what it would mean, to bring truthfulness to this character. The place in Tennessee that I moved to was in the middle of nowhere, actually where Cormac wrote the novel, so I wanted to go there to get it as authentic as possible. You know, being alone for that amount of time did something to me. [Laughs]
That’s a luxury, getting to spend that much time preparing for a role.
Yeah, you normally don’t get that much time. I knew that this was a passion project for James, and it’s not every day an actor gets a role like that — because they’re just not written. It’s challenging, it has all the elements that you look for as an actor, that you can really sink your teeth into. Some roles you don’t need to do that for, you don’t need to move to Tennessee and sleep in caves, isolate yourself.
How is it for you taking this film to Toronto?
This movie is a special film in terms of how… How do I put it? For the attention that this movie is gaining, it makes me extremely excited because of how raw it is. I feel like it’s a throwback to movies like “Taxi Driver” and movies where it’s just storytelling. You don’t have product placement in movies like this, so to go to Toronto with “Child of God” is an incredible, incredible thing to do. I feel extremely blessed that this is the first movie I’m bringing there, because by far it’s been my most enjoyable experience doing a movie.
You and James have adapted both Cormac McCarthy and William Faulkner. How do they compare as source material?
If you look at literature in terms of who really captured the south, the grandmaster, I believe, is Faulkner. These stories that Faulkner wrote really strip down the truth of what that time was like, and if you look at Cormac’s work, Cormac is a lot like Faulkner in the sense of there’s not a lot of stuff that isn’t necessary. It’s really raw, it’s really honest, it’s really truthful.
And you and James are making “The Sound and the Fury” next.
It’s going to be a blast. We’re so excited to go tell that story. It doesn’t get much better than that for myself as an actor to be involved in one of the greatest novels written, in my opinion.