Waking Life was, in many ways, a reunion of actors from Richard’s past films, how did you snag the coveted lead role?
He said at Sundance that he had me in mind from the beginning. I’ll take that at face value since I know Rick doesn’t bullshit people.

How would you say that you work with director Richard Linklater? What kind of direction does he offer for scenes?
Rick comes into rehearsal with a skeleton script, you read it with him until the words become your own. Sometimes you riff or bring in your own material and he decides if it works or not, then he retypes it right there on a laptop and prints it back out for you to learn. It’s a really rewarding way to do it, when it works it feels extremely natural, because you really feel like they’re your words.

After watching Waking Life it seemed that somebody had to do some kind of drug to come up with that stuff? Were you high at any point in the process, either on camera or off and how did this help or hinder the process?
No, this was done pretty soberly. I like hallucinogens and ecstasy in my leisure time but I would never ever work on somebody else’s time fucked up. Maybe if I’m making my own stuff.

Did you understand half the shit that was said in the film?
Sure! If you didn’t get anything just ask. I really LOVE talking about this movie. It’s all hard to digest when you first see it because the animation is so hypnotic that the words just start to sound like chanting or something. I feel like the movie is a drug in itself. I feel like my perception gets altered every time I watch it. Not like I learned something or anything pat and preachy and Spielbergian like that, but like my body chemistry has been fundamentally altered.

Okay, so you claim to know exactly what the people are talking about in Waking Life. I say you either have to be high, or watch it several times to get it. Explain some of the concepts from the film?
Well, I think it’s a little dangerous to start trying to sum up what the movie is about. You either end up sounding pat or sound like you’re tooting your own horn. Ultimately, Rick is the one who decides what we say and what we don’t say about the film. To me the film is about having different perspectives on life and somehow having those seemingly incompatible perceptions co-exist. Seeing in all directions at once. Also to me personally it is about letting go of fear and dread and opening yourself up to the limitless possibilities around you. Absolutes that we take for granted are sometimes really not so solid and unyeilding after all. A lot of times the walls are really made of cardboard and all you have to do is knock the fuckers over.

Waking Life deals with the dream world — do you look at dreams differently now? Have any strange dreams during shooting?
Yeah! We all did actually. Rick and I both have always had a lot of lucid dreams. I think his are probably a lot more heady and mine are a lot more overtly pornographic. As soon as I realize I can control my own little shadow universe I just conjure up harems of every girl I’ve ever known. Maybe I have issues, I don’t know.

Did you have to do anything special technically to have yourself animated? In terms of the acting?
We thought about it. I wondered if I should be more exaggerated or something, but in the end I just did what came naturally and played it straight. I’m a pretty low-key actor as it is and I usually feel awkward when I am asked to ham it up any.

Get the rest of the interview in part four of WILD WILEY WIGGINS>>>

Posted on October 17, 2001 in Interviews by

If you liked this article then you may also like the following Film Threat articles:
Popular Stories from Around the Web

Tell us what you're thinking...

Comments are governed by the Terms of Use of this Site. Click on the "Report Comment" link if you feel a comment is in violation of the Terms of Use, and the comment will be reviewed appropriately.