“The power of movie magic is never more evident than when seeing an actor in person and realizing they look nowhere near as glamorous or gorgeous as they do onscreen. Unfortunately, that’s the case all too often. But Paul Rudd is an exception…”
Paul Rudd prefers to let his acting speak for him
The power of movie magic is never more evident than when seeing an actor in person and realizing they look nowhere near as glamorous or gorgeous as they do onscreen. Unfortunately, that’s the case all too often. But Paul Rudd is an exception; in person, the 33-year-old actor is every bit as cute and charming as he is onscreen: bright blue eyes edged with the faintest of smile lines, moppy brown hair tousled just so, pearly whites blazing. But Rudd met with GCN to discuss The Chateau, his newest film, and not his status as a homo-heartthrob, so he quickly got down to the business at hand.
“I loved doing this movie,” said Rudd about shooting the digital video feature on location in the south of France, despite frigid temperatures and extremely rustic conditions. In fact, the actor, best known for roles in major Hollywood films like Clueless, William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, and The Object of My Affection was drawn to the film primarily for the way in which it would be made. “You can do things with DV that you can’t do with film,” he said. “It allows you a freedom to just move around and improvise.”
The results of this freedom are typified in scenes like one where his character, a befuddled student named Graham, corners a housemaid in the kitchen of an enormous chateau he and his brother have recently inherited. Ignoring her rudimentary English skills, Graham delivers an amusing stream-of-consciousness discourse that touches on The Celestine Prophecy and Way of the Peaceful Warrior. “The script just said ‘Graham tries to find out the father of Sylvie’s baby,’” said Rudd. “I knew where I was going to end up, but had no idea how I would get there. So a scene that could have been 30 seconds long, because of my own – and the character’s – self indulgence, takes ten minutes.”
Rudd admitted there’s quite a bit of himself in Graham. “Incorporating facets of your own life into the character makes it easier to draw from when you’re improvising,” he said, quickly adding, “but I don’t think I’m quite as lost as Graham. And my French isn’t quite that bad.”
While he enjoyed making an independent digital film, Rudd has no plans to turn his back on Hollywood, or theater, his primary passion. His next project combines the two; he’ll reprise the role he played on Broadway in Neil LaBute’s The Shape of Things for a feature version directed by LaBute. Previously, he’s been seen on New York stages in LaBute’s Bash: Latterday Plays, as well as Twelfth Night, and The Last Night of Ballyhoo.
Rudd never planned on doing much stage work. “I was never really a big theater lover or even a big theatergoer,” he admitted. But after noting the theater backgrounds of the actors he admired, he realized that performing onstage would help him sustain his career. “Now, I really enjoy it. Theater is the way you get better, just by the repetition of doing a show every day.”
His efforts are clearly paying off, as evidenced by the ease in which he navigates back and forth between movies and the stage. His strategy is pretty simple, he said. “I just do things I want to do, things I’d want to see myself.”
Michael Rucker writes about film for HX and Empire magazines, and is a regular contributor to Gay City News.