David Michôd, Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson were interviewed while they were in Cannes for Canal+ Rencontres de cinema and they had a great 20 minute chat about The Rover.
They also debuted NEW footage from the film! You’ll find the new footage sprinkled throughout the interview.
If you don’t understand French, the interview is tough to hear but thanks to @LeRPattzClub, we have a transcript/translation available:
Laurent : Guy, Robert and David , thanks for being with us today. You’re here to talk about your upcoming movie, The Rover. First of all, David, I want to know how you manage to shoot a movie who is a thriller, an action movie, a survivor movie, a road trip with strong characters. It’s amazing. What was your first motivation when you decided to direct this movie?
David: The 1st idea was very simple : just about a man in the desert who got his car stolen. Then I started building everything else around this idea. Throughout the screenplay writing, it became a mixture of various different elements. This movie looks like a western. What I really wanted to do was that the audience could feel something. During the shooting , it happened a lot for me that , after watching the dailies , I was like “What is this movie I’m doing? What is it ? It’ really weird”.
Laurent : Guy , was it a constant work on your character everyday?
Guy: Actually I talked a lot with David abt who was this man , what he lived before you met him at the beginning of the movie. For me, most of my work was done during rehearsal during our talks in order to really get who the character was. Of course, when you’re doing a movie, the shooting is always a work in progress. You know which way you’re heading but it ‘s rather how you do it to get there.
Laurent: Did you try to make up a backstory for your character?
Guy : Yeah, of course . You can’t only rely on the very few information we have when we discover the character. You must rely on the entire story. For me , the movie wasn’t just about a stolen car. The objective was a previous one so that’s what I focused on.
Laurent: Robert, the movie atmosphere was also important for you?
Rob: Yeah absolutely. For me , the difference is how I viewed my character. Contrary to you. Rey, my character has always lived in that world. Whereas Eric, Guy’s character, had a different life before.
Laurent: At the same time, this character is a present. Everything is allowed with this kind of guy.
Rob: Yeah, when we read his description. We’re told he’s from somewhere in the South of the USA. But we don’t know precisely what kind of accent he has. It’s amazing since we can play this character in so many different ways.
Laurent: Yeah that’s true.
Rob: I remembered when I arrived on set in the morning I didn’t know what was going to happen to him or what was his accent like.
Laurent: Robert , did you try different things with Guy? Did you exchange ideas during the shooting?
Rob: Yeah my role.
Guy: And we also rehearsed before the shooting. We had a week to rehearse in Adelaide so we could find out who were our characters at that time.
Rob: and as for my character, you must know that most of my acting consisted in reacting to your character. Your part is like a constant force in the movie.
Guy: And I also play according to Rob’s reactions. I also had to try not to react.
Laurent: Just like a tennis match.
Guy: Because Rob gives both a vulnerable and heartbreaking performance. Which was awesome for me since my character couldn’t be overwhelmed by all that. At leads up to the moment when their relationship changes.
Laurent: Guy it must be so exciting when a director like David propose you such a project?
Guy : Yeah it’s incredible. Even when you know him for a long time, when it’s with someone you like, with whom you want to work with; when he gives you this kind of project… you know it balances all the times when you have to fight to get a part or when you’re playing characters who are not very important. So when you get this kind of proposition, it’s always exciting. It’s like when you’re a small actor and they propose you a big part, you have this feeling of euphoria that never changes. It’s very rare but when it happens it’s delicious, it’s a great honor.
Laurent: David, how did you try to work with Robert and Guy? Did you give them a lot of freedom?
David: no , no freedom at all !
Guy : He locks us in our rooms. We can’t even go to eat at the restaurant. No freedom at all !
David: When I write a story , I have a very precise idea of who the character is but it’s only after casting the actors and after talking abt the characters with them that they get all their dimension. I imagine the character of Eric with Guy on my mind. I had always had him on mind when I wrote the script. But we could really talk about him in details with Guy a few days before the shooting. It’s incredible what we could do with such a few days of rehearsal ! When we worked on set the very 1st day, to shoot the very 1st scene with Guy. It was exhilaring for me . Just to see the way Guy was standing. I had the character in front of me. Then we had told him all about Eric’s backstory. I didn’t know who I wanted for Rob’s character. I met Rob before and I had found him very interesting. When I started the casting, I had this weird feeling that he was the actor I wanted to see the most ! Fortunately he came fo the screen testing and once more it was exhilaring. I was convinced I had found the character and the man who was going to play it.
Laurent: Eric is such an exciting character to play because its’ a physical part. Guy using your body as part of your performance, was it something particular?
Guy : I love that. I’d rather let my body speak than with dialogues. I’m much more an instinctive character than an intellectual one .
David: It’s amazing how much information you can send to the audience with a physical acting. Very soon during the rehearsal we talked abt using the shoulder and his way to walk. The shoulders and the neck. It’s strange to think it’s often the way to get a character. When I 1st realized that on the shooting it was very exciting for me since Guy’s character became really lively !
Laurent : and after all it’s the story of the movie. They are like animals. It’s also a metaphor of our society. It’s not really good currently to be a human being with the global crisis. We can really go back to our primitive instincts. Maybe I’m wrong but I think it’s the movie’s topic right?
David: When I was writing the script, I was projecting myself in the future as it is depicted in the movie and there were my own anguish and my own despair and in particular through Eric, Guy’s character with his anger. I started imagining an older world in a few decades, completely devasted by the people who are in charge today : from the origins of the economic crisis to our inability to find a solution to fight global warming. I just imagine the Man in a few decades living in a world in which he’s angry. Angry enough to commit murders.
Laurent: Do you agree with that Robert? Is it really about our society?
Rob: Yeah . When I read the script, I was thinking about all the ramifications of the story. In the movie you can see 2 stories which are close together and they are full of emotions. It’s what makes me and Guy come closer.
Guy: To build these charactars, you have to start from the inside in order to understand the feeling and the essence of the character. Of course you know something’s happening on a larger scale. But personnally, in order to play my character correctly , I had to build him from the inside towards the outside. After that you finally understand what’s happening and that’s when you arrive in Cannes that you realize “Oh yeah that’s it!”.
Laurent: The movie has a connection with the current economic and political world. It’s a post apocalyptic movie. Currently , and not only in France, but also in the USA or even in Australia , it’s the same mess. You know what I mean?
Guy : How easily we’re always on the verge of a global catastrophe for anybody !
Rob: It’s completely ridiculous. I remember a scene we were shooting near a mine which was still active . We just stood there and realized how ridiculous the situation was. How ridiculous the mine was taking out all the ressources within the ground. Nothing will be growing up for at least 400 years. There isn’t any wild fauna left. There’s only birds left. We just have to sit down and play video games.
Laurent: Yeah you’re right and at the same time it’s a real movie. It’s really cinematographic. There’s a lot of light, desert and huge landscape. Was it a hard shooting for you?
David: We had quite a big crew if we consider the place we were shooting. We were very very far from the next city?
Laurent: From the civilized world too?
David: And it was very hard. It was so hot. There were a lot of flies. There weren’t any network. We were constantly dirty.
Laurent: You mean no mobile phones, no networks?
Guy : the more up north we went, the less network we got. We just put our mobile phones on the tables and we just realized that we had to talk to each other.
David : Which was wonderful. We stuck together every nights. As we were leaving at the same place, we started to get drunk !
Laurent: Did you feel a kind of pressure on your shoulders since Animal Kingdom, your previous movie, had a huge success in the whole world. Did it add some pressure for this movie?
David: Yeah I felt pressure Not necessarily when we started shooting but when I decided to do this. This movie , I literally get into it. It’s now when we arrived in Cannes that I could feel the audience’s expectations. I don’t know what other people are expecting from me for this 2nd movie. I have no idea abt what they are hoping for. So I have absolutely no control to know if my movie will meet their expections or not. So this is the aim of this week in Cannes : to try to know the place of The Rover in the world.
Laurent: Do you agree with that Guy?
Guy : I can’t see what he’s talking about !
Laurent: You drank too much last night !
Guy: Of course I understand him perfectly ! It’s interesting when we speak about the expectations surrounding a movie. What is fascinating in our job is the huge difference between the reality of what we are living from the inside , when we shoot a movie, and how is it perceived outside. At a certain level , trying to understand what people are feeling from the outside is exactly the same thing when you try to understand from the outside how we work in the inside. We can think that these two processus are ridiculous but I understand the point of view. The 1st movie David made…
Laurent: Yeah Animal Kingdom.
Guy: was an incredible movie
Guy: It had an incredible success. The importance is to know if you can deal with the pressure from the 2nd movie. Are you obliged to be as good as the 1st one? Or do you do like David and you focus on the following movie and the following one and not try to compare with the first movie. It’s this way you can manage to do it. Its the problem when you come to places like Cannes. People are automatically comparing movies. I want to say “Oh no don’t make comparisons!”.
Laurent: Is it the same thing for you Robert? Do you know exactly what is your next project or is ot the contrary? Do you say ‘I’ve made a movie with David Cronenberg, with David Michôd, now I’m going to try something really different? ‘
Rob: No I think it depends on the director’s choice but it took me a while to realize that. You’d be much happier working with the best directors in the world and something better will always stand out. You don’t necessarily need to read the script. It’ll be great to have them.
Laurent: Guy, I remembered you in Cannes for LA Confidentials. It was 17 years ago, in 1997. We were a lot younger then.
Guy : Yeah a lot younger !
Laurent: Is is always a new experience being here in Cannes?
Guy: Oh yeah absolutely. I met this morning the producers of “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert “which premiered here in 1994. Unfortunately I coudn’t be here. Generally , we come here with great films. This year it’s with The Rover, two years ago it was with Lawless and of course before that with LA Confidentials. It’s a great experience. In Cannes, movies have always had a priviledged place so it’s an honour to be here. Here people really adore films so…
Laurent: Is it the same thing for you Robert?
Rob: I love to come in Cannes. I always try my best to come here. For the moment, it’s a complete success. I got three out of three.
Guy: We are going to help you fix that. We’re going to ask Jane Campion.
Rob: Yeah it’s the same for me. It’s here we can feel people’s gratitude. It’s completely different. Even for the interview. Everywhere else in the world when I’m promoting a movie, I’m only asked what is my favourite meal or something like that. It’s so frustrating.
David: Noboby asks me this question !
Laurent: And screening your movie is Cannes it’s a bit crazy ?
David: It’s crazy when you look at that from an outside point of view. It’s exactly what we think. But I realize that this festival worships the cinema with his ceremonies and his traditions, with the upcoming pressure going with each screening on several days. So when we land on the stairs we know we’re going to live one of the most important moment in our lives. It’s really magical .
Laurent: Thank you very much all of you. Thank you.