Interview: Guy Pearce on playing someone with nothing left in 'The Rover'
Guy Pearce talks about starring in "The Rover," a dystopia that doesn't give the audience much backstory and how it's like a "f—ed-up 'Of Mice and Men.'"
Guy Pearce is a little preoccupied with water bottles at the moment. The Australian actor was apparently so taken with the particular metal bottle — made by S'well — that he carried around on the set of the dystopian film "The Rover" that he contacted the company himself about them. Which is why I find myself carrying an identical bottle into my interview with him. "Ah, you got one! Excellent! What color is it?" he asks straight off, comparing it to the one he's actually sipping out of.
The package says it's blue.
That's good because this is the color of the one I carried around on the movie. The whole time, the art department woman told me, "When we get to that scene that we're going to do in the cafe, I'm going to use that bottle." I said, "Oh great, fantastic." But she said, "I need to get it more battered up and beaten up." Of course we used it, because there's something sort of blue in every scene, there's a small blue thing in every scene. So she used the bottle, and it's there like an internal promotion. [Laughs] And then I ended up buying all the crew one of these each and had them print "The Rover" on them, which I think is what you've got in there. Can I have a quick look? [Takes my bottle and unwraps it]
So that bar in the movie just serves water?
Pretty much, yeah. We don't even know if it's a bar or what it is, it's just some sort of place. It probably serves food if you were to ask, but I don't know what you'd get.
This film doesn't waste a lot of time explaining why or what everything is, it just presents this world as it is.
And that's what's great about [writer-director] David [Michod]. As an audience member, there's so much of you wanting to work out what's going on that it's nice to not be told everything all the time. I think it can be really evocative if you feel like a fly on the wall or you're just brought into a world and it's happening in front of you without following the usual formula. And I get why formulas work and why they're utilized, but I do think it's really interesting sometimes to just come in crossways instead of just being introduced in the front door and explained everything.
Your character basically has nothing left at the beginning of this film.
That's right. It's interesting, because everything you don't know about my character at the beginning of the film I also didn't know about that character when I read it. So I really had to sit down with David and make sure I understood who this guy was prior to the film. I didn't really need a big back-story, it was more just personality. In stripping away the civilized man and the moral man and the ethical man and all that sort of stuff, what he was then reverting back to being — like we would've all been thousands of years ago, the uncivilized people we were. So it was an interesting journey to get to the point of understanding what was left of him, the survivalist and animal he has become.
I noticed some parallels between this and "Of Mice and Men."
Yes, yes. We didn't discuss it, but I think once we were underway and I really got a sense of what [co-star] Rob [Pattinson] was doing — it's difficult for people to do that kind of twitchy, nervous, broken-down character. It's very easy to go over the top with that kind of stuff, and I just thought Rob was so gentle and heartbreaking, and it was really informative for me. It was interesting to see the development of his character and then understand that dynamic, and then it did make me think of "Of Mice and Men" — or at least a more f—ed up version of it. [Laughs]
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