Q: Could you tell me about the caged text from this film? The dialogue, the script itself. Is it different? Because screenwriter Nick Cave is so multi-talented (he writes novels, poetry, and songs), is there a difference in the way he writes for films?
A: GUY PEARCE: Every writer’s different. He has a particular insight that is incredibly evocative. The other writers are evocative, as well, but there’s something brutally honest about him. He’s a no bullshit kind of guy, really. That comes through. The thing I’m always interested in with Nick is how easy his poetry comes to the surface, because he is obviously so poetic. He doesn’t necessarily present that. He presents more of a rebellious character, in a way.
Q: It looks as if his music upsets that. Does Cave see himself as a musician first and a writer second?
A: PEARCE: No, he’s always said, ‘I’m not a musician, I’m not a musician.’ But he knows he’s a musician. But even as a songwriter and after all these years of writing songs, I think he sees himself as a storyteller. And to call himself a musician…. I don’t think he’s ever felt like a great player or a great singer necessarily, even though we all know he’s fascinating and actually really interesting. I think ultimately he knows he’s come from the word, more than anything else. So it’s interesting working in films of his: we all know his songs, it’s like reading an extended version of his songs.
Q: The two of you seem to be very busy with movies coming out.
A: PEARCE: We are extremely popular.
Q: How hard is it to make choices? When you read something, do you know immediately ‘this is for me,’ or do you have to convince yourselves?
A: HARDY: Sometimes, sometimes….
Q: You’ve said that you were afraid going into the film. Is that true?
A: HARDY: [Yes, but] that’s with everything, though. Commitment, you know? I used to be late, but I turn up. I have a problem with tardiness that I can’t control. It’s about control. I don’t feel safe. The preparation, security — it’s about being in a safe place to create what we do.
Q: But when people come at you with a proposition to do something, does it depend on the director, the part, or the script?
A: PEARCE: It’s a number of things. It’s the big three, usually, isn’t it? It’s the character, the script, and the director. And, any kind of….
HARDY (interrupting): Money! Extra zeros.
Q: Is that true?
A: PEARCE: Money, yes. Sometimes it’s easier than others. I’ll go backwards and forwards on things, or sometimes I’ll be really close to saying yes, and I’ll tell them that I’m about to say yes, and then I say, ‘Actually, no. I’ve thought about this for two months now, and it’s just not for me. I’m sorry.’
Q: You would do that to people?
A: HARDY: Of course, mate. You’re not doing it to a person, you’re weighing your options. You’re here to live. You have to sit with things and see how they affect you, and you have to start a conversation. It’s like a deal, there is no deal that is finite — except probably death. You can get out of anything pretty much. That’s why we have a crew of lawyers. The conversation starts, and then they could stop it with you.
PEARCE: Or they’ll say, ‘Actually, we couldn’t get the funding with you, so we’re actually gonna go to Brad now.’
Q: Does it help knowing that you always have something still to come in the future?
A: HARDY: Is it nice to know that your future’s full when you go home? Yes, it is.