I am still in Toronto, Canada and what an amazing respite it is. Even though I’m working 12-hour days with an hour or so on each side for travel and hair and makeup it is great to be in Canada. To be away from the American cultural frequencies of aggressive entitlement, potentially explosive divisiveness, panic, fear, hate and the pounding storm of garbage information that we are inundated with every day in the political climate we are living in. Canada almost seems bucolic, even in the city. Low key, human, integrated, reasonably paced, inclusive and just pleasant somehow.
And the work has been truly engaging and fun.
As much as I have been acting lately, outside of ‘Easy’, I don’t think I am always able to fully appreciate or immerse myself in the art of it. I can do the work and all that it entails, like the waiting around, but to really get a flow going is elusive sometimes. Doing this movie up here has been pretty immersive somehow. I am a playing a guy named Ron Oberman, a Mercury label music publicist and Johnny Flynn is playing David Bowie. It’s really just the two of us for the bulk of most the work I am doing.
It’s an odd story that takes place in 1971 when Bowie took a trip to the US to promote ‘The Man Who Sold the World’ album. The label didn’t know what to do with it. His manager was losing interest. He was not a defined performer or well known in any way for anything other than what most thought was a novelty single called ‘Space Oddity.’ He arrived in the states without the correct papers to work. Ron was the label rep who believed in him but wasn’t really given any resources to promote Bowie AND he couldn’t play gigs because of the visa. So, Ron had to get creative.
It’s really a very small part of the life of Bowie but a touching story about him coming to some realizations about how he will move forward with his art and life. My part of the film is almost a buddy road movie.
The point is that as me and Johnny work these scenes we can feel the relationship evolve organically and it’s kind of beautiful. Despite whether anyone has an issue of how Bowie is depicted or whatever criticisms may come, this is really a movie (at least my part) about two guys, in different transitional stages of their lives, coming together to move through them.
I guess what I’m saying is the work has been rewarding so far. And I shaved off my mustache and I wear a decent wig and some old-style glasses. So, it helps that I don’t really recognize myself and I can be okay with being Ron.
Today I talk to Stephen Colbert about all the stuff. We talked at The Ed Sullivan Theater in the middle of a busy day for him like every day of his life doing that job. There was a hard out but I think we got to a lot. On Thursday I talk to Canadian comic Brent Butt. Funny guy who has done a lot of stuff that most of us know nothing about. Always liked him. I know I’m here in Canada but we actually talked back in the states. Great talks!