« WTF with Marc Maron Podcast

Episode 1203 - Melissa Leo

2021-02-22 | 🔗

Melissa Leo’s acting style is a combination of gut instincts and a compulsive need to ask questions. It’s a style that already earned her an Oscar and continual employment, but also keeps her from falling into the trap of business-as-usual. Melissa and Marc talk about her performances in movies like Frozen River The Fighter and the new film Body Brokers, how she played a character not unlike Mitzi Shore for the series I’m Dying Up Here, and what is the one type of part she refuses to play, even though she gets offers to play it over and over again.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Folks. Paramount plus is just another streaming service, its live sports, breaking news and a mountain of entertainment. All in one place, stream live CBS sports like the NFL March madness them, esters in Champions League plus critic. We acclaimed original series like the good fight the stand and star. Trek. Picard pair my plus start streaming March forth, all right. Let's do this, how are you what the fuckers, what the fuck bodies, what the fuck Nix What is happening I mark Mare- and this is my podcast devotee of welcome to it the twentieth most listen to podcast entwined. Twenty, according to her Edison tracking. What does that mean
What's real, what isn't I'll take that number? I'll. Take it- there are twelve years at this is still be in the saddle. galloping Buddha. getting mildly aggravated it. Many Bumps in jostling, but trying to maintain an even keel is at me. This describe some alien there. I don't know man. Today I shall talk that Melissa LEO. the greatest actress in the world? One of them for sure I don't want to give anyone. The big titles does always many. but Melissa. Rio is one of them. She wanna an Oscar, remember for the fighter, which is a movie. I watch at least three or four times a year and when, on a plane or watch it there too as she did the movie frozen River, which I just watched and that gutter and ask your nomination. I did not see it or know about it when he came out and it's a beautiful
fuckin movie, an amazing performance, she did tv shows like homicide in tremor. And she's in this new movie body brokers are a body. Brokers, which is great direct, by in written by this guy, John Swab. and we're doing something we actually don't. Usually do this. We grabbing to people on from the same movie militia, today, a Michael K Williams on Thursday, because as this is an independent movie that definitely deserves attention, because it's it's a our story about a real thing and also- Michael K, waves, commandments, fuckin Omar from the wire woody kid me, We can meet a million reasons. Have these people on, but this. Movie body brokers, it's an sure thing would all was his I think a lot of people know now that the racket of rehab and just how d been dark that racket can get
yeah I've gotta buddy, who works in in the rehab ministering, yet acquit a couple, a rehab because of that corruption on how they once it became part of the broader insurance umbrella, I think, was a requirement. Maybe during Obama care to provide money for rehab there. For dubious, devious, evil, fuckin people that started, running money through sick people. They started running money through junkies, they started pay. Junkies to relapse? They started. providing junkies with with medical, procedures, they didn't need, they started. You know, hijacking tests piss testing, you got taking that money overcharge. Just running bill, billions of dollars, Three very sick individuals who were some of them? Hopeless, that's effective thing about addiction about knowing about it and understanding it if you ve, got the It's one thing, but
really knowing that most people don't recover from it and a good presented. Two people die from it. No out of people just live with it that you have the percentage rate of people that actually gets sober and stay sober is fucked painfully well, and education of people in this country, around addiction, alcoholism is still fairly unenlightened. But this movie is a window into the dark racket. the exploitation and how suing insurance money through drug addiction rehab and it sir it's fucking It's a job like I'm familiar. with the world having been in it- a patient, and as somebody who is sober- so the language of the movie, yours close to home. For me in some ways, but the movies darkest fuckin. satisfying and this guy, this guy swab, who erected body brokers, he doesn't any punches man,
That said, ending sit there like yeah there's a lot of fuckin movies with third act problems right now get the biggest thing we got to deal with a lot of people around a lot without electricity, there's a winter store mornings everywhere. People are freezing two deaths in their chairs at home. And people are broke the pay dammit rages on. We don't know how we're gonna bouts, backed by lectures talk about the third act of some of these, current motion, pictures that are available now what happened? What what fuckin tragedy. The third act to some of these movies are. I don't know I would just like you get through you. You walk into a movie you get about. two thirds of the way in and then they dropped something you I come on How far do you want me to fuck and suspend my disbelief, to enjoy this movie. Now I know this is bullshit you knowing you I can't even get back to where I was, and I just got out hope the ending a satisfying enough for me, too,
walk away. Thinking, I'd just waste half my life or a quarter of my life, or maybe the last hour of my life. Watching this containing the shiny piece of garbage. Aside from that movies, I can recommend are This movie, the body brokers no man's land, which is a beautiful forever. Adaptation on grief and the great american disappointment I, like the Father, a white with Anthony Hopkins, which was a unique twist in that you don't realize, Initially point of view the is being shot from and when you do it sort of jarring, but then you have to he said together and sort of a wonderful way too difficult movie, but its beautifully handled and I liked Judas in the black Messiah. They add do a great job and it's a story that a lot of us don't know. I don't know how true they were The story, or even if it's as shortly after it,
as it plays out to be but dumb, but it's it's education and sustain painful one fucking. Yet if we shot movie to be honest with you what else of course, the atom Curtis six part mine, fuck That is I can't get you out of my head. and also wanted your have spread a little love to my friend, if Nestor off who has been on the show a couple times. He wrote the book, the comedian them a big fan of his writing. Nobody writes about comedy, like Cliff Nestor, and he has a new book out- it's called. We had a little real estate problem, the unheralded story of native Americans and Comedy it's out now and get it wherever you get books. I have not read it. I'm looking forward to reading it, I'm just been a little backed up on the books, man, but apparently Steve Martin likes it Judd likes it. I thought cliffs other book comedians and all the stuff. We used a right for the double.
If a new blog on comedy is stellar. best stuff, the darkest stuff the truest stuff he gets in. There he looks into the dark portals of show business and oppose out the gems. I'm sorry that I do get to interview one of the original native american stand of Charlie ill before he passed away, some missed opportunity. I see what the story was a good guy, but this book cliffs new book, We had a little real estate problem. The unheralded story of native Americans Comedy is out now and I guarantee you it'll be something you know nothing about anymore, come away from it educated and engaged I'm saying that without reading it also movie body brokers, amnesty housewives, about Melissa LEO you're in the interview sheet she clearly harbours bad feed, things towards the people who who didn't believe in her early on. and you know
This interesting thing about people right. Why say people? Why be general? This interesting thing about me, and maybe you wouldn't. Let me think this through a minute gimme, a second right and anyway just kind of divert here and say that if you are having trouble meeting your goals or difficulty with relationships or trouble, sleeping or you're feeling stressed or depressed better, help is available. Better health. Offers secure online professional councillors who can listen and help. It's simple. You just fill out a questionnaire to help assess your specific needs and better help will match you with your own licensed professional therapist. Then start communicating and under forty eight hours, login to your account any time and send unlimited messages to your counselor you can schedule. Weekly, video or phone sessions, and everything you share is confidential. It's easy and free to change councillors if needed. So many We have been using better help their recruiting additional councillors in all fifty states. You ve heard me say this before, but it's true. So it's worth it
again. It really helps to talk to someone. Trust me. It helps I'm doing it now. Debbie You have with Mark Mariners, sponsored by better help, and our listeners get ten percent of their first month of online therapy when they visit better help dot com slashed You tell visit, Eighty lp dotcom slash W e F, enjoying the over one million people who have taken charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced better help, professional, ok right, but I was it as I was about to say about harbouring bad feelings towards the people who didn't believe in you back this far along you know. You know my success is fine. I enjoy my success. I'm happy I'm successful, I'm you know not a household name, I'm not the huge star, but I earn a nice living. I have health coverage, I like my house, I have a certain amount of financial security, because I've worked hard for a long time by day
it didn't look like it was gonna pan out and theirs. Certainly people from my life. you know without mentioning names who I you'll. Even it's a little slights from back, a day? You remember them. This is like pro or it's not like. I made your trauma, but it was just like you know when you're, either desperate or or or coming up. Or really trying your hardest to be a success. It something and people either dismiss you stand in your way you're just because they can or the don't see it, I don't see it. It sticks with you and it's like not an active grudge for me, but if you if you bring it up it sort of way. You know bringing up a divorce took to anybody, to some dude
hey you, member, when you were divorced, don't even fucking. Why you bring that up, some of its very close to the surface, but they're just people were sort of right now and talk to that guy. Could it happen recently? You know. there. There is somebody that debt was reaching out, you are to be on the show and yet the end at the beginning of of what we were doing here, the sky, slighted us you know, and it was it was. It was pretty quick. but it was loaded because of the tone and the dismissive nature of it and and stuck and there's no fucking way. That were gonna, have that person on the show why because your, why can't walk? Why can't we just be bigger ways, not something they you talk about? guess. I've talked about a lot of that stuff with people, but there are certain ones there. in tones or certain people there. the way in which peace, both trigger you or or hurt you when you really trying and that just fuckin go away. I don't
if your Jesus they just don't, fucking go away again, not active brains, not I'm fire with it. I don't need to pray to have removed or me it created a ways out an active thought, but you know since its introduced into bed soup, into the brain into the juice ended. fuckin grey matter once a year that that debt, that name or that moment is dropped in the slight view just one fuckin fuck fuck that guy fuck that guy that's what you win. You drop that coin in the flat. Businesses have to be flexible lately from working remotely to changing their business models for long time survival in growth. Some performing arts companies are now entirely streaming online. Some major clothing companies are producing and ninety five masks. If you are in charge of hiring for your business, these changes have major job even more challenging, especially if you have to hire for brand new roles
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talking to the amazing actress, Melissa, where were you, knew all really how's it down there. Well, it's hard to know truly because I'm down here working so I'm primarily, keep myself very safe, as a very interesting project. Wonderful role for me, so Korea, what is it, no I'd. Nobody told me. I can tell her not tell it's just a pilot for far so great, not everybody will get to see it. Will time will tell, but that's a very
interesting character, who, whose brother explains that she's so weird, because she's twice exceptional, which is a newer kind of phrase for learning differences are men and she's a little bit of a social imbecile and a genius- great, is interested in forensic genealogy and to find out more about that. You'll have to watch the show oh I'm in So when you get when you liked embark on a roll like that, would like what do use daddy, What do you do? His fascinating, because actually this character, I've been sitting on for ten months. We were gonna, shoot the pilot in March, and everybody knows what happened in the United States in March and we all got sent home and you know with our fingers. and toes cross that we would be able to come back on yeah them too
half months ago. We got the call, indeed we're gonna come back and try and shoot it now, so I've, never certain hibernate it with care your first so long, while I really I trust my writer show runner the wonderful Chris Levinson. I mostly allow all the research to be done by them and not fill it up with other ideas of my own. They ve offered. I meet a couple: of women that the characters loosely based on. I have said no, thank you I am curious to meet them, but I dont want them, or I think I'm portraying them right. So I just mostly go by the writer and ask the quest, since, as I need to have an idea of what I'm saying and by the? U go through like when you lied to make choices is an actor somebody who has is
in the real world or in the world of people, an awkwardness but in a world of the mind, YO a genius, You know, how do you sort of do just manufacture that are just go by the scripture? It's it's a little bit of all of those things and and playing Luke Kelly these last couple of weeks after waiting so long to be her has been fascinating, and I am informed by my writer her research. I am informed by the information she has on on this. On the subject, the information I have gathered a long way, my own learning differences that probably come into play right and it's it's an incredibly institutional role in and I did you, know, there's a
sweet little show about love on spectrum that their eyes, how you watch that occur in what I I really got from. That was that this all kinds of ways this shows up in people, yes, and that we could both invent things and also be quite factual about, though the representations of say a panic attacks I don't know that I've ever had a panic attack in my life. I don't know, there's ever witnessed a panic attacks. right. Maybe I'm in constant panic about fraeulein, asked questions, and I if they smile when we finish the take an there's filing a bigger than good. Exactly you get you can get to panic, though I mean panics. Never that far away, is it for many of us spent so far away, For many of us learning differences
so far away. You know that's right! That's right, search, sort of an amplification or reduction of. What's already inside of you in here, and there Marty, pants side, but about soul written for me, but I must say that must be followed, it's it's very fun to pet play. Somebody with that kind of intellect, because I my intellectual, besides much lower in my body somewhere around my gut and to have that kind of cerebral intellect It's so much fun to play both interesting. I got into because every ip it feels like me cause. I watch. I've watched you for years at me. I've obviously not seen all of your movies. Have you seen all of your movies. You ve made a lot of movies. I've done a lot of movies and television. I've seen most of it, because I not egomaniac as many people consider ACT is to be asked of us, are kind of the opposite of that, but I watch it to improve right
What works, what doesnt work like a game movie, game films making alone could actually here when I had a coach that'd, be fun You never had a coach, you can get a couch, he I could get it got to actually is innovation, and I realize I've never really understood that idea of enacting coach. I don't really know what a coach would do. I again, I'm using so much my gut unfair, and then my later be it like, with the case with John Swab and body brokers he's just he knows his film inside out what more n formation could I bring to it that You know sometimes that can detract from the film too much. Outside information. I want. I love your movie. I really I like a camera sober guy, so I can sum of the landscape was familiar to me and I our people that work in that industry. So Oh, what was what was it sort of it a day,
stating dark movie about a real thing, and about the insurance scams around treatment centres. First, I didn't love the narrator there's like. Is this going to be glib but there had to be a way to deliver the information to set up the thing and then, once you got into it, What within shooting about your character? The therapists is at once established. It's going on. Everybody in that industry become suspect. You know so Ike So I'm sitting there looking at you thinking, I guess she in on it she and then so. Bright, but the day they ultimately that doesn't really matter because he doesn't seem like you are. But but I thought I thought, The performance was great. I thought the whole movie was kind of policy. it's a varied. John swab is nothing if not a ballsy director and a smart balls director and Visa Oklahoma Guy seems like a young guy hazy, younger guy, I mean to somebody like me ceremonies younger, but no here
the younger fellow arm, he's got a lot ahead of him. Here is the sun s story about John Slob, and I he approached me for the film. I believe he calls run with the hunted, which was the priest is found to body brokers. I'm dumb He had a role that I felt In many ways I played too often, which rolls on at it in their ways the characters name is Birdie arm. She was the character who, in the end, the weight of all this wrong doing, and you can see in Johns films whose wrong whose right is a slippery slope of complicated realities. Yeah, it's not black and white and good and bad, but In the final analysis, there was actually a line she needed to utter towards the end of the film. Why do I do the terrible bad things I do in Burma
this case prostituting young women. I that's like it's scary thought to me. a woman, prostituting others without this. Story of how she got there being told some other interests. story being told. And in the end just said, because I'm a bad bitch. That's no reason for behaviour here and I was very clear with John. He worked very hard to alter this in some way and find the ice. John you're, ruining your movie. de I have got a good movie, go make that movie and maybe one day you'll come to me. but something else and fly God. He did not just not just once, but twice over the other one. This sum arrived shot his next film that will be coming out after a bit called I'd, read and I play for him in that I read and I just I just DORA John. I adore the person that he is. I adore, though, life's path
he has travelled his honest, open, nature and sharing that in his work and his work trying to better for the world in some kind of way. By examining things that aren't an example here I figure it like. I called a buddy of mine who is working to treatment world and he said that he had to quit two jobs because of the corruption, just at all levels of exploitation, the drug ACT, the victims, but I was really happy like lately. I've watched you out of independent movies, but he didn't sell out the ending Mimi. He let it happen and it lands hard and in an then that's when I realized that the narrator in order that movie to survive the human spirit that guy to come back. Do you know that you actually their eggs that there had to be that button arouse we're? Just gonna be like woe of what he did and but
watch, your very smart movie watching on your part, because that is something that John himself. So Gold with a rule, no film maker worth their salt, wants to have a film work with a voice over right. You know the right sort of it, but always in the script that vote silver was there, because John already understood what you understood at the end of the phone well yeah, because at the beginning it sort of like it had struck a note like you, like the big short really. There was enough this explaining and they were sort of a kind of I guess not sarcastic but kind of a devilish narration to the door. Darkness. Eight, that's unfolding. That gives it a kind of a comedic tone. Initially, any kind of diminishes a bit. Then at the end you realize I love. This is a a devil. You know I'm some level right yet so so, I like that, no Jerez, definitely people in the world who do wrong and Johnson afraid Chuck that that either.
yeah illustrates the lack of conscience on behalf of those people, but I watch. Your string of movies rightly that that we're all in DE movies that had this kind of strange like this wasn't wanted them, but I watched I want frozen river for the first time last night, because I knew I was gonna talk to you and I I'd go watch watched fighter, I watched a fighter, it seems like once a month, so I know that that movie, I know some your other work, but in frozen river, I just watched no man's land did you watch nomad, then with I haven't seen that I watch out my watch. Another movie called machinery and then frozen river, and all these like, movies have these bleak, tragic, undercurrents, but somehow or another the end. The human spirit is enough to lift the movie. You know to it a resolution where you don't wanna know shoot yourself an
What was it that was true frozen river to which was really a break out movie for you right as and when I was in its wake up movie for me, and I don't I'm not often asked play the lead and widening hunt asked me to play the lead in that film and- and it's so much more interesting for an actor to really think their teeth into the whole story right to have the characters, whole story being told and not sort of used as a pawn in the telling of the rest with the story is a tricky thing for supporting after two to to do is is sort of literally support. The rest of the film is very good. different than than carrying the film rearing interview you, you feel that the way it's just it there's a different there's, a different and tension, and it would still has to do with that. The character who is leading their story is more fully told road and the supporting
characters- you may or may not know about in the beautiful thing and frozen river, although wasn't sort of sold this way, but as in river is a highly unusual film in that actually has to women who are leading the film messed up no less than I am a lead actor in that in that film, it also gone predictable budgets where those movies were you really you you don't see anything coming and that's it. That's really so amazing. I it's a really great experience. How I am delighted that you had a reason to. Finally why What's that film, because and this might be completely the wrong thing to say but I'll be, the girl in the room do in that frozen river is by far a finer film if you're just look yet still making then fighter will ever hope. Today fighter is a fascinating story and has fascinating elements to it. Dick ackland
alone is not enough to tell a story about in fighters about so much more than the bail nails the care, so amazingly, even though he is so far from dickie in reality on so you know, Is this wonderful things, bout fighter, frozen river an incredibly intentional film, maybe a female. Which not a lot of films you ever hear about. Are an Courtney set out to make a film that her, rather straight quite white father would sit his ass in a chair and watch from beginning to end its of area intentional film law What you saw last night is what court me Hunt wrote on the page. It's not manufactured after words from the footage. That's their and Ozma move this year, move that their its
credibly well written film that was in credibly well, realized for aid, much smaller amount of money than anybody will ever know and by a much smaller amount of people than ever is accepted as a legitimate Ronald people to make us all right. It's as in river is miraculous- and here I am- I dont know how I, MR, why MR put their so there you miss things here. What are you gonna do ask all day advertising advertising and also, why do you know, there's a lot of it, but it came out at a time when I shouldn't have missed it, but I mean but it's interesting. Getting back to this. This thing that that moves you they you, you said something That's the reason for behaviour that you know without without a reason for behaviour. You don't really know where to go with this, got that you have
You need to know that for every character, right at me doesn't matter how small it is. Oh yeah! No! I have to So a lot of questions were asked. Word is a fine example of I mean I had to answer all kinds of questions. If I were in the fighter, and a lot of those questions were answered because I met them all mine. At all, nine of their children and automatic Alice Ward herself, the guys were hanging around the set constantly opened. catching sight of Alice, we're on it has all been in love with her at one time or another in that tiny little town of law, and they of me because they saw me ass her and all of that reality of it added to the form it. So they warrant things that as an actor, I had to guess yeah I could
turn to Alice, I could turn to Loan Massachusetts sounded town. I know well, but I know enough about New England to understand the long cold winter nine children, several different fathers did, you know, you're sure, a lot information here it. Also, like you know, in comparing those two movies, the weird thing about those David, a rustle movies patent, particularly like silver. play book, surviving how it s like Let's do it seems to me, go together that their fundamentally that its entertainment movie, you know it's gonna, end good. You know I mean it's like there's a happy ending on that thing, so Like in terms of what's revealed in the story in comparing into something like frozen river, I mean Russell enters that movie, knowing that it's gonna be a glorious at the end right,
You know frozen railroad, wrestle he adores movies and Movie Gower Young people, all kinds of things they want had to the strengths of those films. You're ever bring like those two in particular hustle cures for joy. I got it got away from you a little bit, but because I didn't understand what what the movie was about. But that's ok. Yeah, but the frozen river movie. It's like you, don't feel like everything's gonna, be ok for anybody, but you do. like the human spirit transcended right exactly exactly right. You just gave Mitchell's described very, very nice, like when you started. Where did you where'd? You grow up born in Manhattan in actual Manhattan. actual Manhattan. I a New York New York, your care Brooklyn. Here I was there until I was my brother and I
struggle over this about eight or nine years old, when of four RO reasons we were evicted from our apartment: unease, tenth street, the family of the family, my mother, my brother, and I ah you dad, was already gone. My dad had gone. That was part of If the commission, he had two went control departments in his name. You are cold, understand that on an sailor, probably landlady to boost their you're mad at you ask that apartment. When I was a kid was forty dollars a mother ass, it happened garden. If only for the garden attend, the area was written I've been now for better between now between second or third one of the prettiest spots. In the same, my god, so remarkable block The building that I came home from Saint than hospital and spent the past several years of my life in was actually, although their brownstones, that all match on one another year,
that's on that side of tenth street the other side of tenth street, not so the coroner up by third, avenue no longer either. Could then why you owns it, but the majority of the block, a brownstone spilt by a single architect back in the in the middle of the block- is one twelve and one well has a different kind of wider, broader windows in it. because it was built originally as an artists residents I came home to live in an artists residence. I went to PS one twenty two. It is now known in New York. Is public space one? Twenty dear sir, we're not going to show you are here, and that was my great school why I also used to go with my mother to the covered market. That is also now a theatre. So I was, it was just meant to be that I do what I do remember you have. These memories are clear her
Memories are clear of of those places year of my upbringing, my family, not so much the memories of going around the corner to the building that eventually became the public theater arm and working with Peter Schuman and his bread and Puppet Theatre refer Reserve child sooner nodded child theatre. Peter The Schuman is a german political avant garde, puppeteer rocard here for thence. Nineteen sixty three has orchestrated the Breton puppet, the inroads his thing her. That that's Schuman, sad thing, and how do you get out of the ocean Originally they were based nearest did he on that building that that joke pap, eventually gotten called the public theater I have a huge roaring. It's a its building and for a dollar a month, Schuman and his troop at a floor available to them in that building
that was real estate has changed in New York on yeah I would go over there and work with clay and paper machinery to build these puppets. And we were asked my brother and I did we want to be in the show. I had no idea whether you know was for I had no television in the house, you know and we would go and me and a bunch of grown ups would pretend story. It was the story. the nativity raw, and we would pretend the story and do it and they all cared so much about the pretending it was so serious that was wonderful and then leaving over there one time at night and these. people set down in and watched the pretending he you could hear them believing us pretending and that I was sold on. I had no idea was life first director, I
No idea? This was theatre road that we were performers it. It just related to my favorite childhood game of pretending and many years later realized. Probably in my life, twenties early thirties Schuman had been met. first director sure I'm a pretty obviously planted the seed in a way right time any I gave it gave an outlet to something that was inside of me. That was the one thing it seemed to understand. I could list stand a game of pretend better than anything. Real, Indeed it was pretending, a relief mechanism. Did you would you did you like to pretend? Because it we just finer because it got you out of whatever sadness, there are areas that I can explain about. It is that it was, I understand, did it there stood pretending in a way that the world full of its complications and arm
Oh yeah, we're not getting yet. I didn't understand that no matter where you like, thereby in it this is- right language, I walk down the street and and hold my mama's elbow and say Mama, I'm blind the area and she would forever fail by. You know Take me her elbow away or look at that mom. I can't see she wouldn't let alone we had not not not enough. she and why she was an invite you you want to be part of the improv maybe not the issue So you did. That is a kid and then, like didn't evolve into, did you did you act throughout Highschool did? Did you continue? I didn't. I had very unconventional upbringing and very unconventional edge creational reality merger, where I was thrown out of eighth grade because the art teacher didn't like man she claimed. I had not done my homework and I showed her the peg
thing? I had done again and I said well, I did my homework, but she said it didn't fulfil the assignment, and I didn't know what that man tonight told her. She could shove it up her behind and dumb they sent me. The headmaster headmasters. I just don't know what to do with you and I said well how about I just don't come to school and then I went a little bit too high school, but not really. Dont really remember any classes. I remember skipping classes much more than returning to class it's weird and then my mom got a job in England than that brought us over there, and I learned did eventually in a small theatre school there in London. That was in our view it is shift yeah. It was. I mean it. I had also as a Frenchman in that high school up and Bela's Falls Vermont. I had gone to them and said I see we have this big theatre here. Do you do
Yes, we do we put on a production every year, yes quite serious, and it's all good well I'd like to be involved in that, and they said as well, dear heart, when you get to be a what is it Junior or a senior near you can be in the theater programme as it were. You know, I'm gonna do this with my life, and so I think it might We really good idea to. Let me be a theatre programme and my keep me interested in school and they didn't Yet that way, I like. That you can still tap into what seems like a visceral resentment of these people there there bad like I was sitting here listening to and unlike Jesus she's
I like it hurry. I may go daddy you gotta hold onto that. I mean I doesn't do it's not far from the surface, with three their hero, the people will stop you in your life when you have a fairly clear idea of something. That's it. That's a dangerous thing. I mean it real they could have stopped me and I dont know what I would have done with my life if I hadn't captain finding the door that said acting run going through her very seriously do not know what I would have done with my life than there were enough influences that I probably wouldn't be here now Those people are usually doing it out of some dumb personal issue of their own by just some dumb. Power. We are stupid, insensitivity, protocol and business. As usual, I mean there are having more dangerous than business as usual in the United States of America. Exactly so, but that's
I think it seems that you know if you for that, Before I mean you like, it seems like a in terms of you establishing yourself. To be the amazing actress that you are was was easy ride on the one hand that might be so and on the other hand, I knew, and I say still to people. Of any age. That think all I want to be an actor, my first responses, and I said to myself for many years: if anything can stop you, let it You mean I tell people that about comedy to exact figure out, other thing that will make you happy Not it's. It's not further. Fainted hard are the ones who feel like they think that it early cool, that's right! It's not for people who actually think in terms of like a it's. It's a choice, you're gonna do that so right. That's what people don't understand! It's not like! I'm going to try it! It's not like
I do this other thing, but I I want to try. This is like there's. No other thing and I bet I bet when you were being funny as a kid. I bet you were really funny and I bet you got in trouble for it all the time all the time I got this was united at yeah sure a bike, when it came down to it. There was, I just didn't see any their option there. You know there is this there. There was never a plan b outside of you know why working at a restaurant- and even that went away if you like, but so bad that it wouldn't want me as waiter get around like a gothic, you tried the right. It will try to help me And then there is this idea, like you know, as things as soon as I get more bitter and less successful, I like, like it, always teach teach. What what am I going to teach and we go back, but you know it's just I think it's really a matter of like there's. No other thing that you could do
and you know that that that to me is what an artist is whatever kind of artists. They might be good right and any right. There are some people like Yahoo. I talk to you. Do you know I'm Jacobs Director his parents were experimental film people in New York and they still at it and it just small world of like experimental. My Kenneth angers type is stuff, but they ve been doing it for fifty years and they have no desire to change anything. This is what they do, and you know any in he's archiving summit, but but like Might it not just talk to him- and I realized- oh, my god- the doors there there There was never there's, no other choice. This is it an end. Success has little to do were that the Althea success might lead us a little better. and have a little nicer wolf over her right right, perhaps but on
it's not. It doesn't change the instrument, doesn't change them Hence I now make it a little better. Even you know in terms of liking, even if the judge the the baseline desperation, love of fear of destitution or or not I'm getting any work is relieved. A little bit it may be. You shouldn't complained about that. It is used to use the space wisely right, absolutely absolutely that that is the space wisely. It find it exactly and that it also you know who knows the at any point, any one of the jobs could be the last job ideas, Fortunately, that I'm not? I have kept my toe and their produce, sang dip tomato,
go into working with a writer to develop some and not I'm an actor for hire what I am so you had to come in a way you were provided. You were given opportunities to do these other things and he had to come back around to like you know what I just want to act and you know, that's why I need. I think I have very strong feelings about the way that actors are sort of kept out of a lot of the conversation about what we do. We talked about an awfully lot we're talk to very little is a true like in what way very true, We I mean, like he's. My understanding before I started doing more acting of director was that you know during there going to tell you what to do, but a lot of times directors hire you because they they believe that you know what to do so.
So, would in that context, in a broader context. What do you mean that actors are left out of the conversation? Well, I mean, as simply as a phase of making a television show or a film than we call pre production broker, in which daily meetings are taken. Investigation throughout the area you'll be. working and to find the locations conversations about those locations which will eventually be my characters home here right they do not include me right and that kind of can then also Continue to this and so you know, well on this. I eventually I had been asked several times. What did I think the character would wear? What did I think the carrot? Well, I think she might where this and that and talk to the custom desired tried on a bunch of clothing that turned out. the show runner nor the network. We're twisted insane man.
and they had another idea of how the character would look and then I said, will you tell me happy to do as untold. That's actually the job of the act is a very difficult in today's world were half of the time or more then you're being told to do by somebody who does not know what they are talking about, that we're not gonna start up the de generally know that right away, or does it take them, sometimes it's a slow burn to that you're helpful, always helpful. That's a grim nature, that horrible realisation, where you're weeks in doing you, like, oh my god, they don't know whether or not they listening to our word. There is little tricks. You can do something one should not talk about it and interviews where you can sort of Gaul. Yes, of course, and do what you know is right right there you, you know, you you agree to you know, do do
one thing that they want, then do it, you yeah you're way, but the truth, and that is even worse, because it shows that that is that You know as an actor just like, like seamen on a ship right. The captain says all hands on deck. All hands show up on deck right. That's just what, We do so when the director says. Do it more brightly here. You can't on here that Yes, so, even though you know it needs to be darker, you find yourself do. Yet more brightly right and then and then you have to watch and guide fuck. What, That's why we watch our work and also the other sacrifice. You have to make good when you you have these sort of like sure I'll. Do it that way and you do it your way is that when your way works better they're going to take responsibility for it? Oh, I have no problem with that and I don't know I don't need. Any of that. I dont need to
well to know my name or no my work or no. It was my idea I have that is of no importance to me? Does it work? That's all I want to know and you can. You know that I just don't? Have I don't I'm not In my own nature, to not take the ownership rights and in fact you a director who very much wants to take the ownership. It's a joy of working with John Swab John Swab is has now oh fear. Being the leader of all of us right, and that makes it did that it makes you feel like you. Can you then take more risks. I would imagine a hundred percent that you know you you. You trust the guy and he's got a vision. So if you're part of someone's vision- and they know what it is- it sort of like- ok great- and now I guess I ever say to work so well. did you? Did you train at all? Did you go to acting school at all? I did
I did several different bouts of of my time, of course, there is the very early days with Peter Shoe money who would have, even though no is training and man numb. I dwell too on the small Theatre School in London, where I dont know that I learned them But I think that I learned things about the gist plan of theater and and and things like that, I was really good time I spent they're having a year going to mount First Theatre school, and then I came back to the United States and I wasted some time, oddly enough out local homer and that it was due work in it, The gas station working in a bakery agree. Lange. Why Oklahoma? I had a notion that I could, in the middle of the country there make a bankroll like. Maybe a thousand dollars or something like a lot like that and then from the sun
or of the country. I could work my way west to act or I could head, Bacchus come on Oklahoma refugee I've had I grant you decided. I was that fella. There is a failure of very little young. There was a fallen Bob ad absurdum No one goes to Oklahoma. Just because we have now learned in Norway. That turned into just nothing in all sorts of nonsense and my father worrying about me. perhaps more than he ever had in his life to that point, and he applied to college for me now worse now, where's your dad. I me I know he split and there is a problem with the apart YAP when he leaves out on the extent of long island and there's a relationship there. I won't say that it's as close as of father and daughter could hope to be on its probably my bad, but on I have a hard time with that
appearing when when I most needed him. Yes, on but there's a relationship they are- and I am I'm glad my son developed a relationship with his grandfather. That feels very, very important to me. How he's a good man, my son, is thirty. Three well he's a grown man. A grown man. Yes it s working his own way in the world. Is outsiders show business some? He is No, no. No, it's a much more stable industry. He's in Nigeria is a fine artists what's this medium. primarily paints, but he was he trained. For some time it cow arts also gone to a very known of art school, when in Germany and his living now in Berlin and and making his first step, says the actual artists?
There is a great, quite remarkable amazing. I am not the only one who thinks what he does is not only very good but quite interesting work which is important in art. His name is John Matthew. Mortimer Hessel heard we call him Jack Jack heard is. He also is dad was John heard right, I'm sorry for that guy's let what a great actor Yes, yes, very sad loss. I have a psychic that tells me he's right here, rose riper, it's her! so funny cause. I just watch cutters way recently. oh, my god that some good acting right but I was so damn good. He was grey seldom get out. I love him and that any sort of aged be beautifully as an actor really were you guys together when he passed away now we have not been together for a long time. By the time my son was nine months old, we had separated MA. Am he was well known for being here?
the hard on women and myself included and a wonderful dad. I have known plain system of John is as a father. He was. He was a hard partner to help you. You ve had quite a life. There Melissa how it is then one or two ups and downs in round the clock said one thing and another should give very lucky and blessed in London so what and so you ok You did they wondered thing, and then, where do you train also, then I hear some training there in London and then I went to Sunni Purchase for certain too a half years, and I really was not going to graduate within the four year programme. I excelled in theatre voice for have a good programme. They had a very good. Very interesting programme might act Teacher John Potter is no longer with us, she's, much beloved by me, and many of the students after being in her class she's little difficult,
to be in the class were, but, like some parameters, are we nowhere in that class? We I've been Chris Coopers. Other did, I'm not sure about Chris Cooper stand to she was in the year ahead of me, eighty Falco came in behind me review in finishing up now. I didn't, because there was a very small handful of academic classes at the theatre, arts, majors work too to pass, including theatre history, but let's go back in the conversational, oh, but I didn't really go to school right way. So I never really learned any of those things too, and we had a wonderful theatre, history, teacher Norris Hoddan he had designed, the theatre programme. There are large an dumb, the beginning of it semester with him. He is perhaps all by a book wonderful book called the concise history of the theatre and every time he gave up lecture once a week, they being page numbers on the blackboard.
I did not know. I was supposed to have read those pages. You didn't understand how a classroom worked I have no idea how a classroom works and that then dean of the Theatre Arts Programme, the wonderful dough Stockdale, saw in me something that made sense to him that I was not good at that side of things. But that my talent was elsewhere that bring us back to this woman, I'm playing now where there's an and even she's twice exceptional. Once in that she's got some failing socially on and the characters part academic. may I would save from Melissa aided some kind of special help. Get the basics near.
Yet the basics. You can't ever really go forward and I never really got the basics. I've learned how to reign reading scraps there. I really learn everything I actually know through my work not through being in school, ha. So there's a lot of things in the world that still art. Surprise, an interesting to me that people learned about in seventh and eighth grade right. yeah I like math. This is a wand, to me. I have a fear of numbers, I just don't understand when I can use my fingers say they were good luck so your whole semblance of life and you're standing of as I imagine some of the things that you MR warning. You ve learned through characters I give you the absolute because it because you do like a million movies. I mean the guy that I brought that up before me. I can too
thousand innate you d, you were nine movies that words were released, under what they were It's alright, but like in the same two thousand nine seven movie. So it seems to me that once you see going like if the if it if it took, that was two to three weeks. For weeks five weeks you could line up, maybe three or four five five movies a year, yeah I'd. Never I haven't had that kind of career, where I see the work well ahead of me radius, its it just it comes. I do it and in the last eight nine years, ten years there have and things that have sort of come in on top of each other right and because I don't know any better. I say to my representatives. Well, it's it'll work by do both of the right and they work very, very hard with scheduling and negotiation right things, and I
I still remain. It's a where necessity that I refuse work There is a role I consistently refuse and then it is this person I've alluded to in the conversation, but the way men who is not really explained mostly Suddenly there was a- on that came to me. I didn't even open and read it. All. I read was the byline. I know I'm not interested it's about a young woman. She's got some issues, apparently Her biggest issue is her mother and the staff Father in the house, but we're not telling their story, which might be very interesting why somebody ends up being such a louse as apparent right but I don't know that story. I went through very hard parent hood, but both me and my son's father were the best pair?
since we know how to be to our sense or to be a shitty parent. I just I can relate to that, because they played Alice Ward. That's what people say yeah, I was worthless fire from a shitty Para Reich and that's why? gotten Academy award for it, because I refuse to simply play the shitty mom right right. and if you ever you're saying that if you are not given a script that view at least valve. Some reason why This behaviour is what it is. You know why, but even that sign, sometimes that filmmaker will sort of try and write a great big, long speech, you're, bringing right right. You woggle, bug carried out. A study is not in the script. No exit when in doubt that is the part that very consistently I have refused. I dont think we need to see too many more. we are well aware my parents were mean to me coming of age films. I really think that with real
the exhausted that John right in my lifetime sure but also in the fighter that what's interesting amused like it. It's about what you said earlier about those people who have power or make choices and they're stupid because to be actually you in two compartmentalize that performance as like, while she play that crappy mother in that movie, is so shallow that you know to type cast you as that. Based on that, you know that. That's not that's a dumb person I would have to agree with you That then says very sadly that there's a lot of them out there were. There is no doubt that if there is one thing we ve learned as of late, there, there's no ended imperator stupid so, but but back to this idea of learning through, like as it's interesting to me that if you are kind of a blank slate in terms of education outside, The things that interest you, that the process of playing even a character, like you did in in the body
brokers. Yo engages you in a way of thinking that that is unique, its proactive helpful, it's interesting! It has its own context and you learn to be a therapist in a way exactly exactly right and it's interesting. What you are saying about the therapist embody brokers as well, because the questions that you were asking about. Her are exactly the questions I asked of John. And on. It is and I m sure good therapists. Is she a bad therapists and them? What's the John would give me on it and it was brilliant, wait, a direct me. What is to say Well, I'm sure she thinks she's good at her job right. You know that she's trying her best. That's what people do and in the context of that, it's like the right good. How could you not know and whether or not she knows, thou that ensure French and out again done matter. I
don't need to venture. I guess that right, because, What John is telling me by answering my questions? The way that he did is telling me that doesn't matter to the film right, it's another great direct. Your gave me exactly the same direction. Basically, when I asked the matches I was face off with Denzil Washington the final scenes of flight, and I said to two too on the back, as I said, what do you want me to do? Do you want me to mother ham? Coddle him be angry with em. He was Drunk flying a commercial airliner, we know What is it? What is he has you want me to come at him and the matches? diligently said to me. I want you to get hit. Get Denzil to tell you that Bruce any means necessary, that's what he sang to me saying any means necessary and giving the after a very clear objective.
and then Venza you know, he's a he's, a real, acting animal. That guy's, like that's, like I octane shit. So, What was I like working with him on that super exciting? day and a half of my life, just at the railing day and a half of my life to have something so clearly set as my objective cod, still in exactly the right way. Little did. I know it on just everything about that one It was also, if you remember in that film MAC, as has done cells face up on these. screens the whole time yeah. So whether or not the camera was facing, where I was facing over, he was here he was on screen the whole time. Very very present and alive, and it was Now, though, I never got within, I think ten feet of him.
It was some of the most intimate plan. I have ever experience and fill out like so those kind of moments like with this guy, who directed her body brokers the mecca, something like who were some of the other directors, You found gave you stuff that you could take away forever. You know A hundred- and you re too came up to me and whispered in my ear, when I was trying to figure out. How to deal with Jack. The husband in twenty one grams? he said to me, it was said, good remark, because it wasn't about the character wasn't about the scene. It wasn't about. The way was playing it. It was about me a friend of the movie camera the church was not what I was trained for roads and his whispered in my ear Melissa is much better when you don't
Lynch, your jaw, I thought TAT was my strong right, He was saying to me: it looked like shit on felt right and I'm a man of breather. So you gonna cut to me. I m all internet, my mouth open, so I have to really pay attention so. I guess I want to ask you a little bit as we kind of land thing. I got you. I grew up I was a door man at the comedy store night unites. I've had a lifelong obsession work there I still work there and you I had an obsession with Missy and used but have played a character based on her. I am dying appear which I guess sadly didn't last, but it was. It must have an interesting being in that world for a little while. But you didn't really you do. very study Missy. You did what you want with that thing right when I,
went to shoot the pilot for I'm dying appear? I had never heard of myths see. I had never been to a comedy club. Why had been inside the improv in New York, Marty Back and nineteen. Eighty four invited me to take His improv workshop for Free Marty, Marty Marty. Failing no kidding Anne, and he had the ad at him through a friend, and he said Tom and and take my class unless it, I can't afford a class, and he said no, no just come, I'm inviting you for free, ok, I did at one time the most terrifying experience ever in my lights and will you there and be funny? I'm guessing eighty four, eighty five somewhere in there thinking back, it was such a bigger and it was the only time has ever so. It wasn't a up and running commonly club. It was a kind of coming up during the day when this cloud was sure sure and their rights
I went out to do I'm doing up here. I had never heard of of mischief who had seen the store up on sunset, but by now right here right. I guess that seems seemed automated go someplace to be made to laugh, I just anyway. Whatever I get it better, but I get it better now and I have sites you respect for the comics. I mean not only the comics, the comics, that we were telling history about the comics we're on the show with an actor areas, plus their hearts were being asked to play coming right. It is actors. Now the money is the hardest thing. The drama is easy, peasey care, he heard a funny sure it sitting there. It's such a ban on purpose. Thing. I make somebody last that's like well, Get your mind around that, so I I knew that the character I was playing was jewish because. A pilot episode. She has a long, long speech,
It's about a relatives in arms Treblinka. Yes, So on a house is this guy from New York, the jewish lady out in Color poignant. Well yeah. I had New York so that tax at the third of it eggs, ok, so I could do New York. That would be easy rage. I had to die my hair that really grassy blonde. Your name was Goldie. For God's sake, what else would ensue from New York do wrong when they got to California so? Those are all things that info may in finding my goldie, though there were in the midst of shooting the pilot, and I find out that its based on a book, but no no, it's but necessary. I read the book here. Ok, so I don't we the book we finished violet
and somewhere after we went to series, I did open the book and read it. I find it an extremely massage monistic book. I both like what he is saying about Missy on the one hand, but despise it all the end turned toward her just completely unwarranted. and then I heard at one point that poor Paulie just months before, his mother passed as a matter of fact was like, but my mother never did cocaine and my mother, never as they Jesus somebody tell Paulie sure I'm not playing his mother, yeah, so I was the biggest problem off now. Was that was yeah. It's complicate because I have at this point played real people. Lady Johnson? Alice? Ward? Yes, that's a very different thing than venting like a character, and I feel
two eyes? I m always protective of the women on mass to play. I was very protective of mid see. There was a lot of thing of Nitze of Gold digger, very protective of things. You know that their asking me to do within the Show- and I felt were downright disrespect full of her didn't offer, ants to underside. I understand her side of the story Melissa LEO understands very well. Why Missy Shore didn't pay those comics in the beginning, the car, makes never once thought about what it costs to buy that booze and keep the place go in, and I mean I get the whole dialogue, but they they wouldn't. They won right, say that exist equally in the show, so that was hard power through. There was a lack of empathy with because it's a weird subculture, it's a very specific thing, the comedy store and it had it.
profound effect on a lot of people that went on to become very big, players in the world of entertainment and she sort of like reference then something almost magical for both darkness and light? I'm I'm guilty of it myself. I did a I can marry you know with MIKE binder. and I was in her office in like I was a door man there and I worked for her and I was show it is like she was the dark queen of this world that yeah. She was like the mother. Tell these wayward border, criminals it out. It's crazy man. I think that is that is that documentary on Netflix its outcome restore documentary? It deals with her a bed. It yeah it's annoying as one segment that deals with how I love that I love that, because that was much more gracious towards Nitze, then the I'm dying up their book ever. Was there really
There was a seeking of an understanding of it or you here, yeah yeah. You need individual and- and I really enjoyed that it is my I believe- and maybe I don't know enough- that invented modern a comedy missy when the husband left in the store was there and she said black one spot lie only comic. And that had never been done before in theirs there's comedy shops. Raw data was one after the other showcase room like her and Bud probably created, This sort of like here you can see twenty comics at a night thing. Yet that we have here a comedy? Only no vaudeville, no right singer and dandy right just stand up there and be funny. The original improv was sort of a brew. Ask you had more variety the sort of catch rising, start back in the day, but you're right, ass, straight of comedy yet well
I love the movie. I love you and with great talking here, and I wish you all the the work with this film it needs to be seen. I thank you for talking about body brokers today and bring in John swabs name to the forefront. You're gonna hear a lot more about this yonder after I care bonuses. Take here. Thank you, sir. So much for the time there you go. I was Melissa LEO. I am lover and the movie body brokers in theatres and video on demand now Michael K, Williams from the movie on Thursday, show how void? Maybe one day I'll give you talk to that directors like to pick his brain, but got out also check out that other movie that that we talk to frozen river tremendous. You got the time and don't forget if your struggling right now check out better help, it's a secure online service providing professional councillors who can listen and help. You just go
got a questionnaire to help assess your specific needs and better help a match. You with your own, licensed professional therapist. It's a affordable option than traditional offline counselling. Deputy Footmark Marin is sponsored by better help in our listeners, get ten percent off their first month of online therapy when they visit better help Dotcom Swash W Tia visit. h e lp, dot com, Swash deputy I've enjoyed the over one million people who have taken charge of the mental health with the help of an experienced better health professionals, check out quits book we had a little real estate problem. The unhealthy story of native Americans and commie out now get where you get books and now I'm going I can play with my wife
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Transcript generated on 2021-03-08.