Note: Contains several graphic depictions of violence.
More from the Interview
Steve Buscemi talks to Robert Siegel about:
When He Knew He Wanted to Work in Movies
Balancing Work on Indie and Mainstream Films
Directing 'Interview' and Filming with Three Cameras
In his new film, Steve Buscemi plays a political journalist sent — begrudgingly — to interview a B-movie starlet.
The actor also directed Interview, which co-stars Sienna Miller as the actress who turns out to be much more complicated than the dismissive reporter first assumes.
The project is a remake of a film by the controversial Dutch director Theo van Gogh. In 2004, van Gogh was murdered by an Islamist extremist who was enraged by the director's film Submission and the statement it made about violence against Islamic women.
Buscemi's movie is part of an upcoming trilogy of American independent films that are adaptations of van Gogh's Dutch films. Fellow actor-directors Stanley Tucci and John Turturro are slated to helm the other two productions.
Buscemi tells Robert Siegel that he found Interview interesting because of the characters — who they are as people, why they connect, and why they feel the need to "sabotage" that connection.
The actor-director says he felt that the best way of honoring the slain filmmaker was by making the best possible film that he could.
Originally, Buscemi thought about hiring another actor to play the role of Pierre Peders, the journalist.
"I did have my eye on the role, but I was a little intimidated [by] having to do both," Buscemi says, citing how exhausting it was the other time he both acted and directed, the 1996 film Trees Lounge.
In the end, Buscemi's wife convinced him to take the role.
"[M]y wife said, 'You're crazy if you don't play this part. It's a wonderful part," he recalls.
The distinctive-looking actor talks about the vagaries of funding for independent films, the sort of roles he gets offered, and why it always seems like he's getting beat up on screen.