The Casting of Calvin
"Remember how dad used to say I had an over-active imagination?"
-- Calvin Weir-Fields
The chaos that ensues in Calvin Weir-Fields' life once he dreams up Ruby
Sparks calls for an actor
with the ability to make even the strangest journey seem believable - which was
a task that interested Paul
Like Calvin, Dano had very early success in his chosen field, making his
Broadway debut at 12 and
his feature film debut at 17, garnering awards and acclaim in the gritty drama
L.I.E. Since then, he has gone
on to create an unusually diverse roster of characters. He first worked with
Dayton & Faris as the willfully
mute son in LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, portrayed the charismatic preacher Eli Sunday
in Paul Thomas
Anderson's oil epic THERE WILL BE BLOOD, and most recently played the son of
Robert De Niro's
slippery con man in the dramatic comedy BEING FLYNN.
As Zoe Kazan's boyfriend, Dano had the advantage of having watched RUBY
SPARKS come to life
in the raw stages of creativity - but he was surprised in many ways. "Zoe wrote
something for me that might
use some parts of me, and some of my strengths but she also wrote something that
gave me a great
challenge," he comments. "Calvin's story is completely different from mine as
are parts of his personality.
Every day as an actor, I experience a similar form of fear, but for me
personally, it's a good fear. It's
exciting and it makes me perform well."
But in Calvin's case, fear is holding him back both in his professional and
romantic pursuits. "He's
definitely missing something in his life. There's an absence. There's sort of a
hole," notes Dano.
Ruby is custom designed specifically to fit into that hole, but when she shows
up in his life she also
opens up a whole new world for Calvin, who has long dwelled in the limbo between
youth and adulthood,
not ready to take the leap. Dano explains, "I think before Calvin can properly
love somebody he has to learn
to love himself. His relationship with Ruby could be a really beautiful thing
but he has to grow up before he
can do it right. Calvin is learning that you can't control life and he's got to
get comfortable with that."
Calvin also gave Dano a lot of room to explore. "When your character thinks
he might be going
crazy, that immediately gives you a certain freedom and liberty in the
performance to have fun," he says.
"But when he goes from thinking he's crazy to deciding to take the leap and
embark on a relationship with
this woman he created, I found that even more fascinating."
It was Dano's ability to reveal the full spectrum of shock, anxiety,
neurosis, uncertainty and
ultimately generosity that Ruby evokes in Calvin that makes his performance so
relatable, say Dayton &
Faris. "You never feel Paul chasing after humor yet he's very funny," observes
Faris. "He makes you laugh
just by playing Calvin so honestly."
Dayton continues, "We are excited for audiences to see Paul in this role.
He's tended to play
characters on the darker side of life, but he's a very appealing romantic lead
not unlike a young Dustin
Zoe Kazan also hoped the role would show off more of Dano's shadings - and
coming full circle,
she found a certain joy in writing his character into existence. "Paul's an
incredibly funny person, very dry,
and I really wanted to see him play something that he hasn't done on screen
before," she says, then admits,
"I had some fun thinking about things to make Paul do. Like smile. He doesn't
like to smile so I would
write into the script 'Calvin smiles.' Little things that I knew he would do as
this character but not in real
In the end, though, she watched him make the role his own. "He did a great
job of making Calvin
human and fallible and therefore relatable and lovable," sums up Kazan.
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