Justin Theroux Dishes on David Lynch’s Inland Empire
Source: Now Playing Magazine
He may be moonlighting on screens alongside Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx in this week’s big screen re-up of Miami Vice, but Justin Theroux has another movie coming out this year that in some circles is even more hotly anticipated — namely, David Lynch’s Inland Empire, the visionary filmmaker’s first big screen work since 2001’s Oscar-nominated Mulholland Drive.
“I love it!” exclaims Theroux when asked about the film and his experience on it, which involved breaks of several days while he was simultaneously on call for Miami Vice duty. “It’s loosely a mystery [but] I have no idea what kind of movie we’re going to have,” says Theroux in an exclusive interview with Now Playing from the editing bay of his directorial debut, Dedication. “As far as what the movie is about, I could rattle off a couple scenes, but it’s difficult to describe. I play an actor who sort of gets cast in a large movie, and in that movie I play a Southern gentleman, and that’s about all I know. And then there are tons of scenes within that, but I don’t know how he’s going to use those scenes, you know?” Theroux estimates the director could have literally hundreds of hours of usable footage.
While Lynch always exerts an exacting stylistic control over his films that often renders flat narrative description or attempted plot synopses rather moot, the tightly controlled and digital video-shot Inland Empire production marks a further descent into the type of beautiful, slurry mystery the director indulged after Mulholland Drive — in which Theroux also starred — morphed from a failed ABC television pilot into a stand-alone feature film. Eschewing a completed screenplay, he instead parceled out bits days before filming. “David never really gave us a script, he just gave us scenes, these little 10-page packets,” recalls Theroux. “And then we’d go home and he’d hand us another one at the end of the night, or hand us three at a time. But they sometimes seemed really linked and sometimes didn’t. So the actual process [of filming] seemed probably very similar to what it’s going to be like to watch it, which involves sort of having to link it together as you go.”
Regardless, it’s the experience itself that Theroux most cherishes. “Working with David is probably the best time you’ll ever have in your life,” he notes. “Contrary to what anyone might think, when you’re making a David Lynch movie you don’t feel like you’re making a David Lynch movie; you feel like you’re making a Farrelly brothers movie or something. He’s just a really, really fun guy to be around, and everyone that he works around and hires is just a blast. So you just go and have a goof and get serious for the work, but the rest is just gravy. It was really fun.”