YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS
The casting process, with the assistance of Mali Finn, for the six-actor ensemble was jump-started when Panic and Eckhart signed on
The casting process, with the assistance of Mali Finn, for the
six-actor ensemble was jump-started when Panic and Eckhart signed
on. Both men took on roles that diverged from their previous on-screen
"I've always admired Jason's work, and he had never done
a role that was quite this fierce. In 'After Dark, My Sweet,'
or 'Rush,' there was a humanity there that this role doesn't necessarily
have," notes LaBute. "I think we're so drawn to beautiful
people, and we give them so much rope in this society. I loved
the idea of a beautiful person saying horrible things. It's like,
'You didn't really say that, did you? Because you're so good-looking,
I don't want to believe you said that.' Having a person that looks
like that, and having him continually say these things at you
like a battering ram, keeps the audience off-balance."
Panic approached the role as he does every other role he plays:
"I try not to make too many judgements while I'm working
-- I try to make assessments." With regard to Cary, Panic
sees the character as "completely honest about his feelings.
There's no guile, and there's no fear, about him as far as who
he is or what he wants."
As for Eckhart, LaBute points out that "in 'In the Company
of Men,' Aaron was a very charming, good-looking guy who was ultimately
quite awful." For the new film, "he wanted to get as
far from that as possible," says LaBute, adding that to play
an "impotent, cuckolded husband, Aaron gained some weight,
dyed his hair, got this mustache, and -- his whole demeanor has
really changed. It's quite a nice transformation." LaBute
muses that so many moviegoers detested Chad, Eckhart's smiling-cobra
character in "In the Company of Men," that Eckhart's
new character might function as "the revenge that everybody's
been asking for: ten years on [and Chad is] fat and unhappy."
Eckhart, segueing from playing a man who betrays everyone and
lives to laugh about it to playing one who's hardly the master
of his domain, recalls that "nothing touched Chad. [Starring]
as Chad, I played all my strengths, and all the calm in me."
However, for the role of Barry in YOUR FRIENDS & NEIGHBORS,
Eckhart perceived, and performed, "an arc of denial. I've
tried to isolate, as an actor, all my insecurities and inadequacies,
amplify them, and play those." Barry, reports Eckhart, "epitomizes
stability, [but] he has completely lost control of himself. Where
he is in his sex life basically controls his entire life: his
work life, his home life, his friendships. He's just blocked completely.
He's going from what we would think we should be in our thirties
to completely demoralized."
For the third man, "we needed someone who balanced"
the other two, explains LaBute. "Ben Stiller came to mind
for all of us. He's so sharp, and he has that very urban sensibility."
Stiller recalls, "I had just seen 'In the Company of Men,'
and I was blown away by it. I got a call from Jason Panic, who
I know through a mutual friends. I read the script, loved the
part, met Neil and Jason, and that was it." Stiller sees
his character, Jerry, as someone who "definitely keeps secrets,
because he's not honest with himself. That's the problem -- when
you lie to people you're never having a true relationship in any
way. I don't think Jerry's totally honest or open with anybody."
Stiller explains Jerry's motivation for initiating an ex
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