VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Jason Biggs On Switching To Drama For ‘The Subject’
Jason Biggs revealed the challenge of switch gears from his usual comedic acting to serious drama for his new movie The Subject in his new uInterview.
“I play Phil Waterhouse, a documentary filmmaker who when we meet him, still sort of reeling in all the accolades that he received for his previous film,” Biggs told uInterview founder Erik Meers. “And he’s starting to film his second, his follow-up project I guess, but when we meet him there’s starting to be some controversy surrounding his previous film. We come to learn that he filmed his subject’s death.”
“He’s been following a kid who’s joining a gang in Harlem and ultimately he dies while the cameras are rolling,” Biggs continued. “And so the film initially sort of raises the question of this sort of moral you know, ‘What is the moral obligation of a documentary filmmaker?'”
“I don’t think I realized when we made the movie that there was a bigger question of ‘Should Phil even be making this movie in the first place?'” the actor said. “I thought it was pretty simply, ‘What is the moral obligation of a filmmaker when he sees that his subject is in trouble. Post Black Lives Matter my question is, ‘Should Phil even be making this movie in the first place? Is it his right to make it?’ I mean sure, but there’s a problem inherent to that, I think. Right? In that it just perpetuates the divide. That’s what I got post Black Lives Matter.”
Biggs doesn’t know if the movie would be different if it was filmed today but argued that the public eye’s focus on civil rights allows the story to be viewed in a different light. “Maybe it would have changed the movie, I don’t know, but I think it only helps,” he said. “I think it’s, you know, an easier movie for people to sort of lock into and have a conversation about now.”
The most challenging scene to film?
“It’s without question the final act confrontation between my character and Aunjanue Ellis‘ character,” he said. “So, that whole scene, I mean it’s — I call it a scene, but it’s literally the whole act of the movie — takes place in Phil’s house. When I read the film, I mean when I read the script, that was the scene that was I mean it made the movie on the one hand as a reader and ultimately an audience member watching it, it is so important, and amazing, that scene, but as an actor I was scared s–tless.”
“It’s not the kind of movie I’m used to making, right? And I don’t know that, you know, 10 years ago I could’ve done this movie,” Biggs explained. “I would’ve passed on this movie, if it would’ve even been offered to me first of all, but I probably would’ve passed on it because I was too afraid. But I knew for the confrontation I was gonna have to access things and dig so deep and in a way as an actor that I’ve never had to before.
Biggs said that he has changed as an actor since having kids, which helped him with this role. “Emotionally I didn’t realize that I had feelings the way I have now, having had kids right? And I very specifically had to tap into all of that for that final scene,” he observed.
“And I had wonderful, you know, help,” he added, “you know, Lanie Zipoy the director was incredible. First-time filmmaker, she knew exactly what to say, how to say it, and when to me to really instill to me the confidence that not only I could do it broadly, but also just specifically what to say to make me do the adjustments that were required.”
“And then, you know, Aunjanue is just a consummate professional and scene partner,” he said. “And she was, you know, she knew when to sort of give me space, she knew when to help, I mean she’s just so incredible. She’s just brilliant.”
The Subject will be available to stream on Oct. 22.
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