Proving once agains this blog refuses to conform to the normal limits on most sports blogs, actor Dermot Mulroney joined me for a 15-minute chat to talk about his new, cool movie "The Grey, which opens Friday. This interview covers the new movie, his long career in Hollywood, and the sorry state of his favorite team - the Washington Redskins.
The Grey was filmed in sub-freezing temperatures of Smithers, British Columbia. It looks like these guys froze shooting this.
Dermot Mulroney: Hello, Mac.
The Big Mac Blog: I know, this is big-time isn't it?
Dermot Mulroney: I'm happy to do this and love to talk about this.
(I threw that part in because it's not every day a big-time Hollywood actor says my name, correctly)
The Big Mac Blog: Exactly how cold and miserable was it shooting this film?
Dermot Mulroney: I don't think my body remembers being cold. I think it's built into your DNA that you don't remember how cold it was. If you ever find yourself that cold you are meant to block it out and not remember it. We were all the way cold. All the way. You could not put on enough clothes. The director was very straight forward and said he wanted us in those conditions and this is how it's going to be. No special treatment.
The Big Mac Blog: How cold did it get?
Dermot Mulroney: The coldest recorded was 37 below zero. They recorded the wind once a 65 miles per hour. It was extremely dangerous but we pulled it off.
The Big Mac Blog: Any time during the shooting you think, 'What did I get myself into and why am I doing this?'
Dermot Mulroney: Quite the opposite, actually. Under normal circumstances, because the director and the star are great, you want to do this anyway. Then you know this is going to be a memorable adventure to make this you want to do it that much more. The cold, the snow and the wind was all part of why I wanted to do it.
The Big Mac Blog: In shooting this movie did you have any close calls?
Dermot Mulroney: I did not. I kept myself as warm as possible. A couple of the actors and crew members nearly did get frost bite. The director said it took about six months to get all the feeling back into his finger tips.
The Big Mac Blog: Is this the most physically demanding role you've had?
Dermot Mulroney: This was, without a doubt. But I never remember feeling cold, or hungry. It was the constant excitement that you do peform at your peak. It was the most the demanding thing I've done as a film actor. But weirdly I was so glad to be there.
The Big Mac Blog: Was it easier or harder to do a movie where there are just a few of you and it almost feels like a play?
Dermot Mulroney: There are a lot of times you do a movie with actors and never work with them because you're scenes are never together. In this movie, everybody worked everyday. It was a communal effort to make this. It rarely works that you work with the whole cast every day. It did have the feeling of working on a play. It was like working on a Greek tragedy in the northern woods.
The Big Mac Blog: Did you ever get close to the dogs, or wolves?
Dermot Mulroney: No. They weren't dogs or half wolves, these were real wolves. They weren't even tamed or partially domesticated. If you didn't have any business on being on the set that day, you weren't there to see the wolves. You were not invited. That had to keep those animals as far away as possible. There is one scene where they had four or five wolves go after (a dummy) and to do it they stuffed the dummy with red meat. So the wolves just shredded it all apart. I worked with the wolves, but I was never actually there.
The Big Mac Blog: This movie has one final scene after the end of the credits - without giving anything away is it worth sticking around for?
Dermot Mulroney: You are the first person to ask me about this. I hate to give that away. It's a really brief shot, but it's real satisfying. I don't know how you advertise this, but there is one more bang for your buck in this movie.
The Big Mac Blog: I am sure you have done some dud projects, but you have to press on and sell the thing; how do you do that?
Dermot Mulroney: I have been in plenty of movies that didn't work or I didn't prefer them. What you are asking is how do you talk positive about something you aren't thrilled about.
Every now and then something comes along you can climb aboard be excited about it and really promote. Of course it doesn't always happen. I have a great time working and people I work with, so there is always plenty to talk about if a journalist asks a specific thing. You can always get through it.
What I find interesting is rather than the actors trying to play it off, it's the journalists having to play it off; they know if it's a crummy movie or they don't like it. An actor, by definition, can pull it off. A journalist doesn't always have that skill set whether they can pretend it's the best movie of the season. To me it's more fun trying to watch them play it off.
The Big Mac Blog: Would you prefer the journalist say, 'Listen, Dermot, this movie sucked, but we're going to talk about this anyway."
Dermot Mulroney: I tell you what, I would prefer that. The studio would not be pleased with me, or you at all. The easier thing is to play along. I do reiterate, that is not the case with this movie at all. This is one of the best movies I've been in. It's great to see in the theatre - it's big, it's loud.
The Big Mac Blog: A lot of people see you as a sex symbol, are you comfortable with that?
Dermot Mulroney: If it gets me my next job, I am more than comfortable with that. I love what I do. I don't try any extra hard to look a certain way.
The Big Mac Blog: Do you feel secure in your place in this business and did you have your "I made it moment"?
Dermot Mulroney: I never suffered, even when I was in my early 20s and getting started, that moment about getting my next job. I always thought I could make a living doing this if I establish myself strong early on. Then it comes to what you are doing and what you get. I don't decide. It comes to me, or what I audition what I get. This isn't a master plan. I have been lucky to do a wide variety and I am pretty sure I will work again, and I think I'm 26 or 27 years into this I still love it.
The Big Mac Blog: You are from Washington D.C; did you grow up a Redskins fan?
Dermot Mulroney: Of course. I still am.
The Big Mac Blog: How?
Dermot Mulroney: I don't watch every game, so I don't get it rubbed in myself. For me it's more of a nostalgic thing. I go back to the days when the helmet had an arrow on the helmet. I am more old-school fan.
I know with the game coming up it goes against everything I was brought up to believe, but I can't go with the Patriots I have to go with the Giants. What do you think?
The Big Mac Blog: I am with you; I think the Giants win this. I live in Dallas/Fort Worth where the Cowboys are just as bad as the Redskins.
Dermot Mulroney: Right. We're going to have to wait a while before they return to that fierce rivalry because there is nothing to discuss this year because they both suck.
The Big Mac Blog: It's been a pleasure, and I hope the movie works out well.
Dermot Mulroney: Thanks a lot and we appreciate the support.
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