Interview: CEREMONY director Max Winkler and actors Michael Angarano and Lee Pace

GATW Guest Writer

by: GATW Guest Writer
April 9th, 2011

After meeting M & M (Max Winker and Michael Angarano) back at SXSW, I was excited to hear they were in town with a new edition to their delectable duo, actor Lee Pace of their movie CEREMONY. At the top of the Empire State Building, I met with the three lads to catch up on their experience traveling with the film, sporting fake mustaches, British accents, the power of Uma Thurman and future upcoming projects (including the much anticipated TWILIGHT: BREAKING DAWN).

How has it been since SXSW, traveling the festival circuit and getting ready to release in theatres this weekend?

Max: We've had a lot of fun! We’ve been getting to go to really cool cities and talk to people about the movie. Our New York premiere was just last night which was very exciting for us. It seems like people like the movie which is very nice for us to hear.

Michael: So exciting. Like we always say about the movie, it’s a very personal movie and it’s very important. You know, I am very encouraged when people say they like the movie. It feels much more personal and very special. It’s very exciting now that people are going to finally see it.

Lee: I just had a fun time making it. I had fun working with these guys! My memory of the movie is just living in that house together, the cast spent a lot of time together. I just remember messing around and then to see the movie cut together, I’m really proud to be a part of it.

What’s so great about your role, Lee, is that people unfamiliar with your work wouldn’t know that you don’t normally sport a British accent! Did you work with a voice coach?

Lee: I did. I worked with one of my teachers from Julliard, actually! But to be honest, I’m basically just making fun of with my friends.

One of my favorite moments in the film is the dune buggy scene between you (Lee) and Michael.

Lee: Oh yeah, the tide was kind of an unpredicted character in the movie. And on the day that we shot that dune buggy scene…

Max: Wait, you’ve got hair in your beard…

(Max reaches to take it out of Lee’s beard)

Lee: Do I? Was that yours?

This is awkward...

Max: I am not that tall, I can’t get up there! Go on, keep talking about the dune buggy scene…

Lee: So! We get there in the morning and dune buggy doesn’t work. So we kind of parked it out in the middle of the sand. We shot the scene one way where we are all walking around and I walk around the dune buggy and get back in (when you see the movie you’ll know what I’m talking about). And then the dune buggy starts working... but the tide has moved in within six feet of the reed and we just decided to shoot it like that. It ended up working pretty well!

Michael: Was that the first day of us working?

Max: I think that was the first real day of you two working together. It was also the first day that the financiers came to visit the set! And their first image was just coming over the hill to see the dune buggy fully submerged in the water and me... in a suit, trying to push it out with the grips.

I had just made eye contact with an amazing man, who is also the producer, as well as one of the financiers of the movie. I remember thinking to myself "this show may not be going on for too much longer". But we got the dune buggy to work, we got it out of the ocean and I changed clothes! These guys were fantastic in that scene. It’s one of my favorite scenes.

Acting aside, the music is equally as fantastic. Can you talk a little about the soundtrack?

Max: The soundtrack is as important to me as anything. I write to music. I chose some of the songs that are in the movie before I even wrote a line of the script, really. I sort of just make a big playlist and start to subtract the songs that I’m not into, and sooner or later I get the soundtrack, which is mostly those songs which I feel so lucky to have gotten. For instance this band the Fruit Bats, Eric Johnson’s band, he's the composer of the movie – that is a band I always listened to and I loved. To get him on and to do the score is phenomenal. And yeah, I think the soundtrack is there to really help with the tone of the movie;  sort of capturing that funny, sad, in-between feeling that music that very can easily sort of pinpoint.

Mike, back at SXSW we spoke on how different this role is from previous roles we’ve seen you in before. You’re older and a bit of a brat, as opposed to a younger, more angelic character. How was it taking on this role and also taking on a fake stache?

Michael: The mustache was very fun because it literally changed how I spoke and how I acted. I couldn’t smile when I had the mustache on because it was glued on and I would have to smile like this (Mike covers his face).

My face wasn’t as expressive as it usually is. It just added to the whole physicality of the role with the weird suit and the pomade hair I had going on. There’s so much dialogue and Max’s one direction throughout the movie was just to speak faster. So I mean, all of those things really added to the manic energy of the whole first act. But it was fun, very fun. I think at the core of it, my character is very insecure and that’s what drives him.

It’s also a very different role for Uma Thurman. Rather than seeing her with a sword in hand and fighting off 50 ninjas, we see a very vulnerable character.

Max: Yes this is true! Uma, when you meet her in real life (and you will meet her!), she’s very sort of funny and playful and neurotic and really witty. I don’t know how often she really gets to sort of play with those things.When I first met with her to talk about the script, I saw that side of her and I knew immediately that the whole movie would work because of her.

It’s mostly sort of young boys...young men on the set, experimenting with their facial hair. So to have a woman on set and to have that woman on set be Uma Thurman, I think we all got kind of serious when she was around  to impress her and to be very serious. She’s the best, she’s fantastic and so terrific in the movie. Also a terrific woman and a great mother to boot.

So what's next for all of you? Lee, I know you have TWILIGHT coming out soon.

Lee: I do! I play a vampire and its super fun. Bill Condon really made a really fun movie from start to finish. I’m excited. It’s really cool and really sexy. Right now, I am rehearsing a play here in the city. I’m doing THE NORMAL HEART on Broadway. It’s very sad, and I really love working on it. I'm surrounded by a great group of people.

Michael: I did a movie called HAYWIRE that Steven Soderbergh directed and comes out in August (I think?). A movie called RED STATE by Kevin Smith that is doing a self-distributing roadshow right now. And another movie called HOMEWORK that Gavin Wiesen wrote and directed, that comes out in June.

Max: I’d like to take this opportunity to announce my retirement. This will be the last time you’ll hear from me at Gordon and The Whale.

I don’t believe that for one minute, Max! We have a contest going on with you.

Max: Oh yeah, that’s right… I’ll announce it after that. Um… no, I actually just finished writing my next movie! We’ve got a great thing going. I really want to make that as soon as possible. I’m very excited and can't wait to start it.

For more on the contest Max speaks of, go HERE for a chance to win yourself some CEREMONY swag. And be sure to check out the trailer below, as well as the film which hits theatres this weekend!

Commenting Rules: Comments are intended to open up the discussion to our readers about the topics at hand, and as such should be offered with a positive and constructive attitude. If your comment is not relative to the above post or is disrespectful to the authors and readers, we reserve the right to delete it. Continued abuse of our good nature will result in banishment of the offender. Additionally, if you have any burning issues to point out to the GATW crew - typos, corrections, suggestions, or straight-up criticism - please email us instead of commenting here.

  • Angel2rowdy


  • Dr Bieber


  • Dr Bieber


  • Anonymous

    Uma thurman in a new movie called Ceremony directed by Max Winkler … here’s another interview:

  • Recent Post