Michael C. Hall talks The Trouble With Bliss
By Ron Wilkinson Mar 28, 2012, 13:47 GMT
A guy in his mid-thirties watches as his life comically unravels after he enters into a relationship with the daughter of a former high school classmate. ...more
Michael C. Hall granted a round table interview, leading up the March 23rd release of his latest film, “The Trouble With Bliss.” One of America’s foremost performers, he had this to say about the upcoming comedy drama:
Accomplished in both stage and screen mediums, Mr. Hall was enthusiastic about working with a leading cast having the same breadth of experience. When asked how his theatre training shaped his performance in this film, and his film career in general, he replied that he was gratified by the challenge of the issues in this screenplay.
It was the chance to examine a life crisis in front of an audience that attracted him to this story. In addition to his theatrical experience, at one time he lived in New York’s East Village, on E. 5th St. As it turns out, this is nearly the exact setting of the film.
The film told very little about Morris Bliss’ back-story. There is a wide gap between Bliss the high schooler and Bliss the 35-year-old slacker who is portrayed in the film. When asked if he took it upon himself to fill in those missing years for the same of an accurate representation of Bliss, Mr. Hall responded that he did exactly that.
His imagined picture of Morris is a city employee working on a street pavement repair crew. Also, he had a previous relationship with an older woman, with children, that ended abruptly when she dumped him. This was a heartbreaking experience that came back with a vengeance when his mother died a year before the time of the story.
Morris has a recurring fantasy/ambition about traveling the world. Unfortunately, he cannot seem to get out of the Lower East Side. Mr. Hall has done his share of travelling, however, his goal of travelling to India has, so far, eluded him. This experience allowed him to inform some more of the imaginary Morris Bliss.
Mr. Hall had not read Douglas Light's novel “East Fifth Bliss” prior to having been presented with the project. After reading the screenplay and realizing it was something with which he wanted to work, he read the novel. Having lived in the area and been a part of that unique milieu allowed him to fully understand the story and grasp the part with enthusiasm.
Director Michael Knowles adapted the screenplay. When asked if he felt this made the director easier to work with and more effective, Mr. Hall responded that he did. He felt it was, and generally is, helpful to work with someone who has a firsthand knowledge of the story.
One of the interviewers commented on the beautiful job by Mr. Hall in working with Peter Fonda, as Morris’ stagnating father. Mr. Hall credits his sense of reverence for Mr. Fonda with making the father-son relationship work on screen. Peter Fonda was very open and had a great desire to tell the story; he had an easy availability in working with Mr. Hall.
Like his father, Morris is flawed and has suffered injury, nonetheless, he is open to change and full of hope that something will change. When he dons his dressy, but ill-fitting, blue jacket with a sense of purpose, a message is sent. His wardrobe informs Bliss’ feelings. The jacket seems so strange on Morris it might have been what he wore when his mother died. Many of Mr. Hall’s acting mannerisms at times such as this were unconscious. “You go with what feels right.”
Morris Bliss starts out the film in a relationship with a girl who may or may not be of legal age, but we do not immediately condemn him. Mr. Hall agreed, yes, Morris is doing something morally questionable, but he is without malice. He is emotionally stuck.
Perhaps his case is extreme, but he has feelings in common with all of us; we should consider his circumstances and take it from there. Morris has a good heart and is not out to hurt anybody. Of course, Lucy and Stephanie were pursuing him, he is not a woman chaser or a stalker.
Commenting about the principal supporting actress in “Bliss,” Brie Larson (Stephanie). “She is so talented and smart, I would love to work with her again. She is directing at Sundance this year (Indeed, and writing: “The Arm,” directed by Brie Larson, Sarah Ramos & Jessie Ennis). Other honorable mentions, among many, were Chris Messina (“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”) who he worked with on “Six Feet Under,” Brad William Henke(“funny and grounded”) and Lucy Liu (“A dream to work with”).
Mr. Hall’s current work is depicting the evil genius Dexter Morgan, who methodically and meticulously disposes of society’s riff-raff, seemingly at will. This would seem a difficult transition, from such a capable man to the feckless Bliss?
The actor replied it was done through rehearsal with the director and some of the actors and that it helped knowing the East Village and imagining himself there. Working with the script, he relished playing a character who is ordinary and did not know what he was doing (at least not every step of the way).
Moving effortlessly between TV, film and stage, it would be expected that Mr. Hall was comfortable with a degree of improvisation. When asked if he had the chance to do that while shooting “Bliss,” he replied that the director pretty much stuck to the script and did not encourage much improvisation. In any event, Mr. Hall said the director was great to work with. “He is good talking with actors and was able to bring them around when they were off balance or did not feel right about the scene.
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FROM THE WEB
Further Reading on M&CBrie Larson Biography - Michael C. Hall Biography -
Michael C. Hall Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesPeter Fonda Biography -
Peter Fonda Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesSarah Shahi Biography -
Sarah Shahi Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sites
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