Simon Baker Video Interview On 'Margin Call'
Simon Baker, the Australian star of CBS’s incredibly popular The Mentalist, is headed to the big screen in the critically acclaimed feature film, Margin Call with a staggering ensemble casts that includes Demi Moore, Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Penn Badgley, Jeremy Irons, and Zachary Quinto. For Baker, the opportunity to work with such accomplished actors was not only exciting, but illuminating as well. “So, whenever I have an opportunity to be involved with actors of that pedigree, I’m like a sponge. They don’t know I’m a sponge, because I’ll just sit there like I’m doing my job, but I watch them all like a hawk,” remarks Baker.
In fact, the opportunity to work with the cast was so enticing, Baker agreed to be involved in the film with only four days’ notice. “Literally, about four days before we started shooting, I got a call and they said, “Look, Kevin Spacey’s involved. Stanley Tucci’s involved. Paul Bettany’s involved, Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgely…” and I was actually in Exeter in England at the time, and I jumped on a plane and flew to New York.”
The film, Margin Call, deals with the timely issue of the recent financial crisis. Nonetheless, as Baker admits in the interview, he knew nothing about finance. “I pretty much have my head in the sand when it comes to the financial world, so I had a very steep learning curve. I still really don’t know anything about finances.” We forgive him though, since, judging by the critical praise the film is receiving, Baker knows a thing or two about acting.
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For more on Simon Baker and Margin Call:
- Q: What’s it like working such a great ensemble cast, including Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, and Stanley Tucci? - Matthew Zingg
- A: Literally, about four days before we started shooting, I got a call and they said, “Look, Kevin Spacey’s involved. Stanley Tucci’s involved. Paul Bettany’s involved, Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgely…” and I was actually in Exeter in England at the time, and I jumped on a plane and flew to New York.
- Q: Margin Call is about the financial crisis. How did you deal with the subject matter that had such immediate relevance? - Matthew Zingg
- A: I pretty much have my head in the sand when it comes to the financial world, so I had a very steep learning curve. I still really don’t know anything about finances. I did spend a bit of time with some people that had worked on Wall Street and were around during that time and I just sat and chatted with them, getting more of an understanding of the different personalities that exist in the world and how cutthroat the business is and how, in some instances, where there is chaos, certain people thrive. Some people actually increase their position within a firm through chaos, through upheaval. That’s when they sit back and target people and I kind of based my character a lot on that notion, that idea of sitting back with a bow and an arrow and shooting people. Also, I felt like the character was somewhat removed socially. There was an absence of social grace with the character. That was interesting to play, because he was a very unemotional character and I’m actually a very emotional person. So, it was nice to play someone that didn’t give a hoot about what anyone thought of them in any given moment.
- Q: In your latest movie, Margin Call, you work with people such as Kevin Spacey and Jeremy Irons. Do you feel with your strong background in TV, you approached the role any differently? - Matt Gerish
- A: I worked with Kevin Spacey on a film called L.A. Confidential in the late 90s, and that was my first film in America and I still use a lot of stuff I learned from Kevin then, so I’m just a student. I’ll always be a student, that’s just my nature. So, whenever I have an opportunity to be involved with actors of that pedigree, I’m like a sponge. They don’t know I’m a sponge, because I’ll just sit there like I’m doing my job, but I watch them all like a hawk. Paul Bettany is a phenomenal actor as well and I think what’s interesting in this film is to see someone like Penn Badgely who we know from a TV show called Gossip Girl [that] you may know of. He did such a wonderful job on the film. So, to see everyone have developed the confidence within that company and I think you can attribute it largely to the fact that guys like Kevin, Jeremy, Demi… we’re all very accepting of the ensemble.
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