Archive for the ‘Interviews & Articles’ Category
As 2012 came to a close, Jude Law celebrated his 40th birthday. Whereas a few years ago we might have known everything about it – where and how it was marked, who was there, eating what food – it now passed quietly, and without public comment. For 11 months earlier, Law had accepted £130,000 from the publisher of the recently defunct News of the World in compensation for years of intrusion by the newspaper into his private life.
‘It was a beautiful, happy day,’ Law admits, with a broad smile. ‘A big lunch surrounded by all the people I love most in the world – my children, my parents, my sister, my nieces and nephews, my godparents. Dad made the loveliest speech… I felt very happy. Very at peace.’
Law has lived a lot in his relatively short life. Aged 17 he dropped out of school to start acting professionally in the Granada sitcom Families. At 22 he won the Ian Charleson Outstanding Newcomer Award for his performance in Jean Cocteau’s Les Parents Terribles at the National Theatre.
One year later, he had his first child, Rafferty, with Sadie Frost, whom he married the following year. In 1999, aged 24, he was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance as Dickie Greenleaf in Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr Ripley. By the time he was 30, Law had three children and 17 films to his name and was widely considered to be one of the most bankable film stars in the world.
This success did not come without a price, and Law’s halo seemed to slip with every news story about his private life. After divorcing Frost in 2003, he embarked on a scandal-filled on-off-on-off engagement to Sienna Miller (they finally split up in 2011) and became a father for the fourth time in 2009 when a daughter, Sophia, was born as a result of a short-lived relationship with the American model Samantha Burke.
Unfortunately for Law, this has often meant that the public has overlooked his professional achievements during the past decade – 23 further films, not to mention a critically acclaimed return to the stage (for which he was nominated for two Olivier Awards and a Tony Award). He has also used his public profile to positive effect with his charitable work. According to Jeremy Gilley, the founder of the peace movement Peace One Day, it was absolutely thanks to Law’s presence on two trips to Afghanistan with him in 2007 and 2008 that Unicef and the World Health Organisation were able to vaccinate millions of children against polio on the days of agreed ceasefire that resulted.
‘I’m 40! I’m an adult!” shouts Jude Law. “Aren’t I?” We hold these truths to be self-evident, I reply, as the actor, laughing, stares across the table with those adorable baby blues and more hair than’s fair. “But,” he says more quietly, “part of me thinks I can’t play a doctor. Who would come to me?”
You’ve got to be kidding. Who wouldn’t come to Dr Jude? In Steven Soderbergh’s film Side Effects, Law plays an Englishman in New York, a slimy limey of a pill-dispensing psychiatrist who becomes entangled in murder, drug switcheroos, a risible lesbian insider trading scam and lots more vaguely voguish, putatively Hitchkockian hokum before the credits. Astute critics have compared this performance with the one Law gave in the 2004 film I Heart Huckabees, where he played a shallow business exec in psychic meltdown. “The de-smugging of Jude Law is yet again a dramatic motor to swear by,” wrote the Daily Telegraph. Quite so: seeing Dr Jude losing his Brit cool when wrong-footed by faux-innocent Rooney Mara or handbagged by crackers shrink Catherine Zeta-Jones is worth the price of admission alone.
We’re sitting in a conference room at the Guardian in London’s Kings Cross. For an hour his PR chaperones have left him alone with the clown who once inadvertently cycled into the canal we can see from the window. If Law sacks his minders later, that would be understandable.
Between us is a pill bottle whose label says it contains 20mg capsules of a new antidepressant called Ablixa. Perhaps if the media inquisition gets too much, you could neck some, even if the directions explicitly state “Take ONE daily” and warn that side-effects include sleepwalking and insomnia. “But they look like Smarties!” says Law. That’s because they are Smarties. The PR people for Side Effects, which deals with the perils of prescription drugs, handed out the bottles at the press screening the night before. Nice gag. One could barely concentrate on the final credits for the rattling of antidepressants as the hacks scrambled out of the cinema.
‘Side Effects’ star Jude Law chats with SheKnows about his role as an ambitious psychiatrist and what he’s doing personally to better himself.
Jude’s character in Side Effects believes that prescription pills are the answer to whatever ails you.
“I was intrigued by his absolute devotion and belief in medicine,” Jude told SheKnows at the press day for the movie in Los Angeles. “He’s someone who has worked very hard to get where he is, and to get as successful and effective as he is. It’s almost like a religion to him. He has a great faith in medicine being the answer. People that have that kind of faith are incredibly inspiring.”
In his own life though, Jude is turning to more holistic methods to improve his mood. The actor, who just turned 40 in December, told us he’s trying to expand his hobbies right now.
“An age with a zero on the end of it is always a good time to stop and address what you want to happen and what you want to do with yourself,” Jude told SheKnows. “I have certain ambitions — most of them have to do with making myself a wholer, happier person. Yoga is involved and evolving my hobbies a little bit more, doing stuff for myself.”
Eating right is clearly important to Jude, too, as he ordered a tuna Niçoise salad before the interview. And when SheKnows suggested he throw in the butternut squash soup, he was all over it as well!
The world of psychopharmacology is a tricky one to navigate, and one that Jude Law got first-hand experience with playing Dr. Jonathan Banks in Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects. In the story, the character not only faces accusations of moral misdoings when it comes to treating his patients – facing serious questions after use of a drug he prescribed leads to a violent episode – but is even shown to be a user himself. So how did the actor start looking through the eyes of Dr. Banks? With faith in psychopharmaceuticals.
CinemaBlend.com had the pleasure of sitting down with Jude to talk about taking on the project, what he believes the film has to say, and the importance of keeping a performance genuine.
When did you first get involved with this film, because I know that you worked with both Steven Soderbergh and Scott Z. Burns on Contagion before this.
I read it when I had just done Contagion just because Scott and I got on very well and he wanted me to read some of his stuff. And then Steven got involved and I ended up getting a call at the beginning of the year… no, it was over Christmas break, actually, and I got on-board.
Was it something that he mentioned while you were making Contagion or…
No, no, Steven wasn’t involved by that point. He got involved later. I read it and I knew it… but they tweaked it a little bit.
How did they change it?
Just little things about order. When you got to see about [Rooney Mara’s character]’s life – her past life with her husband and all that stuff. Subtle changes.
So not like an overhaul.
Scott had been working on it for a good eight, nine years – the idea of this project.
Indiewire sat down with Jude in Los Angeles to talk about working with Soderbergh for second time, who’s on his wishlist of directors to work with in the future, and what it’s like to face off with Rooney Mara.
“Side Effects” came his way after getting along well with Scott Burns on “Contagion.”
“I read it just after ‘Contagion’ because I got along well with Scott. He had it and had been working on it for a long time,” Law said. “At that stage, Steven wasn’t involved. And then, I got one of those very fortunate phone calls. Steven wanted it to be his next film, and when someone like him asks you, you go do it because you know it’s going to be intelligent, smart, it’ll look good [and] it’s a pleasure to make. The fact that it’s also a really interesting piece of work, an interesting character, it’s a very easy decision.”
Having been exposed to Soderbergh’s on-set working style (usually acting as his own DP), Law was prepared for the easy-going process.
“…he makes it very easy. He makes really important decisions, but kind of simply. Little things like really going to the locations, the real place, immediately you’ve got an authenticity, that you don’t have to recreate—you’re in it, you’re being genuine,” Law explained about Soderbergh’s style.
Jude talks to Huffington Post about the joys of working with the now-retired Steven Soderbergh, why “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” is better than “Sherlock Holmes,” and whether he thinks we take him for granted?
I very much enjoyed “Side Effects.” Though, with Sundance, I’ve seen 23 movies since “Side Effects” — but I still remember it well.
That’s some task.
The lack of sleep is the task.
Did you get any skiing in?
There was no time.
It doesn’t sound like it.
With you starring and Steven Soderbergh directing, I was fairly sure this wouldn’t turn into a “wrongfully accused” courtroom drama, but I’m very glad this wasn’t a “wrongfully accused” courtroom drama.
No, it steps into the shoes of films like “Double Indemnity” and “Body Heat” — the film with a twist. You know, it’s entertaining. But, at the same time, it’s nice to be in something that has a subject matter that’s so thought provoking and timely. And it does it in a very subtle and intelligent way, you can’t help but come out and have an opinion and a sense of what one’s relation with prescription pills is. And, at the same time, it’s a ride — because the characters and your loyalty to certain characters shifts and change all the time.
What were your initial thoughts about how to play Dr. Banks in “Side Effects?”
I wanted to make it very clear that this guy was good at what he did, and was aware of the sense of boundaries, of when and how a situation may arise for a psychiatrist and where it will impact his or her private life. But we’re also telling a story. So as an actor, at some point you have to work out where the drama is best played out. As the story dictates, his life starts to implodes, so it was important to me to have a sense of him kind of crumbling. At the same time there was a beautiful subtlety to the story, where you’re not sure whether he’s got the upper hand or whether there’s a time where you think he’s going mad.
Did playing the part make you feel any differently about psychiatrists?
A lot of the discussion around this film is about the abuse of medicine or perhaps relying on medicine for all the wrong reasons. Of course medicine is used for a lot of good reasons, too. I kind of left this job feeling very respectful of psychiatry as a profession.