The Good Son - Will Forte
"He doesn't have Alzheimer's, he just believes what people tell him."
-- David Grant
Playing opposite Dern's Woody is Will Forte as his son, David, who finds
himself on a road-trip he's not entirely sure is such a good idea with a father
he's not entirely sure he can communicate with, let alone get close to. Forte,
best known as a cast member of "Saturday Night Live" and as the spoof action
star "MacGruber," reveals an entirely different side of his talent in a role
that is as dramatic as it is quietly, darkly funny. A lovelorn stereo salesman,
and a man who seems to mostly be spinning his wheels in his own life, David has
no idea just how far this trek into his family past will take him.
Payne notes that Forte's audition won him over. "I believed him," he
explains. "Will communicates a ready sincerity and sweetness, and also a sense
of damage. And since we were putting together a family, we really felt that
Bruce Dern and June Squibb could produce this person."
Forte knew it was going to be a step outside the box for him, and that
excited him. "I'm used to doing crazy comedies and I didn't even know doing a
film like this was in the realm of possibility," he says. "To work with
Alexander Payne, who is such a hero of mine, was a dream come true situation."
He was determined to give it his all. "It wasn't lost on me that this was an
amazing opportunity to do something different. But it's been a big challenge,
too," he admits. "There are comedy elements in this story, but they're rooted in
real life, and what's interesting is that Bruce and June have most of the really
funny moments. David is actually the straight man."
On the set, everyone was impressed by Forte's never-before-seen facility for
subtlety, and for moving between the amusing and the touching. "Will is a big,
big discovery in this part," says Berger. "He brings a wonderful every-man
presence that invites audiences into the story."
Part of that comes through a performance that is built on conflicted feelings
towards Woody, says Forte. "David is frustrated by his father at the same that
he cares about his father at the same time that he regrets not knowing him that
well. He sees this trip as his one chance to take another look at his father."
To bring all that out, Forte had to carve out a complex relationship with
Dern. "It was intimidating," he admits, "but it was also magical."
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