Derailed: Clive Owen and Vincent Cassel interview
Golden Globe winner Clive Owen (Croupier, Sin City) and renowned French actor Vincent Cassel (La Haine, Ocean's Twelve ) star together, alongside Jennifer Aniston, in new thriller Derailed. Owen plays Charlie, a hardworking business man married with a young daughter, who embarks on an illicit affair with Aniston only to be discovered by crook LaRoche (Cassel). LaRoche then proceeds to blackmail Charlie for thousands of dollars. We caught up with them in London to discuss the film and try and find out some on-set skinny.
Derailed is out on general release from the 3rd of February.
LOVEFiLM: Vincent, how easy was it for you to play such a cold blooded bad guy, yet give him some charisma?
Vincent Cassel: Well, very easy I have to say (laughs). Maybe because I just had fun doing it, the badder the guy is the more fun you have. And if you have fun on screen then it shows. We pushed the idea that there were two different personalities into my character LaRoche.
I don't mind playing a villain; it really depends on what type of bad guy it is. And as long as there is something to chew on then I don't mind plying a villain at all. Although for every two bad guys I play I say no to twenty-five, so I think I might stop for a while now (laughs).
LF: Clive, did having an American accent help you get into the role of your character, who is very different to you?
Clive Owen: Yeah the accent was slightly weird as we shot all the exteriors in Elstree in London, but that was how it was written, so yeah it was very helpful.
LF: You work alongside two renowned US rappers - Xzibit and RZA - in the film. Were either of you a fan of their music?
CO: I am a fan, and I'm also a fan of those guys acting as well. Sometimes when you have people from the music industry going into the movies its all a little bit gimmicky, but I thought both RZA and Xzibit showed themselves to be really proper good actors as well.
VC: I grew up on both their music, Xzibit and the Wu-Tang Clan's. I've got rappers in my family; my brother is a rapper in France, his name his 'Squat'. Yeah so I was really happy to work with them, in a way I was more impressed by Xzibit then by Jennifer (laughs).
LF: Clive, the film could be described as a good old fashioned thriller. How did you prepare for this part, did you do much research before hand?
CO: I think the key to making this film work, is that you have to believe in Charles' nightmare. It's a very reactive part. Normally a leading man drives the narrative and the story forward, but here the story just comes at him. And in order for it to be convincing you have to believe the nightmare, he has to react well enough so people think it is believable.
Also audiences can be very judgmental and because it's a moment of temptation - y'know he's a married guy he ends up in a hotel room with a beautiful girl and he shouldn't be there because he's married - the audience could easily condemn him for that. So the challenge was to make him understandable, he's a fallible, normal guy that ended up in this situation but doesn't really deserve this horrific nightmare.
Charles is one of those characters that you look at and you think 'why are you doing that? Why don't you do this?' but that's the genre that we're in. He's a guy who feels guilty about how he got into this situation, and it very quickly spirals out of control. And it's very much like those old Hitchcock movies; he's an ordinary guy who enters a spiralling nightmare.
LF: What was it like working with Jennifer Aniston?
CO: It was great. People who can do what Jennifer does so well, that light comedy, are never to be underestimated, it's the hardest thing to do. It's the people like her, who make it look so easy, are seriously talented. But this is a different part for her. And she's been under a very serious, severe spotlight for the past year or so - and she's incredibly uncomplicated, grounded and lovely considering all that. I think most of us would go a bit weird considering all that she's had to deal with. But she was a pleasure to work with.
LF: Did you realise that Julia Roberts recommended you to Jennifer Aniston when she was considering the role?
CO: Yeah, I heard about it afterwards. I think that Julia and Jennifer were hanging in the same place after we'd filmed Closer, and Julia said some very nice things about me. Which was very nice!
LF: Clive, has winning the Golden Globe changed your career at all?
CO: The award things are like putting you up on an international platform, so I'm very fortunate I'm getting offered a lot of films, so if that's a direct result from winning the Golden Globe I have no idea.
LF: What's next for you Vincent?
VC: Well actually I've just played the devil (laughs) - but I'm producing the movie as well so I feel better about it. It's called Sheitan, which means the devil in Arabic. It's directed by a young French director who's only 24 years old.