What was Soderbergh like as a director?
The Good German is a highly stylized noir piece, so he’d written this little one-page manifesto for us that began, “Dear Thespian,” which was incredibly helpful. The acting style was so remote from what we understand to be naturalistic or realistic—he described it to us as “enthusiastically theatrical.”
What does that mean?
The performance style was utterly pre-Method, very front foot, and, to our perception now, quite declamatory.
The introspective qualities of the character were very much projected outward.
So was that style difficult to master?
Steven’s so fast, he’d basically cut what he’d shot, so I was able to get a sense of what it was like. At times, George [Clooney] and I would go, “Ewww, that felt so bizarre!” But Steven would say, “If it doesn’t feel bizarre, then it’s not right.”
Now you’re playing a variation of Bob Dylan in I’m Not There. How do you make that character your own?
Well, I’m kind of gender-loose. And in the era that I’m playing him, there were a lot of effeminate aesthetics going on. Look at the hairdos!
—The Good German, Directed by Steven Soderbergh, Warner Bros.; opens December 8 (R). Next: Capote, Take Two in Infamous