Five Favorite Films with Ryan Phillippe
The Lincoln Lawyer star also chats about working with iconic directors.
From being "discovered" while getting a haircut to landing his first major role in a Ridley Scott film, Ryan Phillippe has enjoyed the kind of good fortune that many only dream of. But his success didn't come without hard work; the young actor has remained busy since his fist stint on the ABC soap One Life to Live almost nineteen years ago, moving from popular teen fare like I Know What You Did Last Summer and Cruel Intentions to critical darlings like Gosford Park and Oscar winner Crash. This week, Phillippe takes on a nuanced dramatic role as Louis Roulet, a successful LA realtor accused of a mysterious murder, in the film adaptation of Michael Connelly's novel The Lincoln Lawyer. RT was fortunate enough to chat with Phillippe about his Five Favorite Films, as well as his fortuitous introduction to the film industry and what it was like to work with legendary directors like Clint Eastwood and Robert Altman.
The film that sort of made me want to be an actor was Cool Hand Luke. I watched it one Sunday when I skipped church, and I was home sick, and it was on TBS, and I was about 12 or 13 years old. I had never seen a man cry like that. [SPOILER AHEAD] When Paul Newman finds out his mother's died and he sits on the bed and plays "Plastic Jesus" on the banjo [END SPOILER], I was so fascinated by this masculine tough guy getting emotional, and that sort of started my interest in acting. Figuring out how one gets to that place, and why. And both he and Steve McQueen were the two people I first connected to or looked up to as actors.
The Sand Pebbles with McQueen is one of those films that shows more of his sensitivity. People tend to think of him as just the badass, and I love the fact that that film lets you see another side of him. And I also think it's beautifully shot. So that's another one on my list.
The remaining three are films that I just feel are nearly perfect. The Graduate, from top to bottom, visually, sonically, performance-wise, the energy, and the time when it came out, and what it represented - that whole Holden Caufield sort of aspect to it. I think the music, obviously; there are very few films where the music has been so married to the actual film itself, and I love that about The Graduate. It seems like that's the way it always should have been. It's just amazing to me how perfectly it complements the film.
Fargo (1996, 94% Tomatometer)
I have to go with a Coen brothers movie, because they are my inspiration as producers, filmmakers -- I want to direct soon. Again, I think that Fargo is a nearly perfect film. Visually, comedically; it manages to be tense, and it's smart. I love the fact that it's based on somewhat of a true story -- I think that's kind of where my interests lie, the idea of doing a true crime story that's darkly comedic; that's something that really appeals to me. I could name several of their films, but Fargo is the one that just... I always think about that shot in the parking lot in the snow, when he's just trying to scrape the window off and he just loses his mind. [laughs]
And then one of the most inspirational films for an actor would, in my opinion, have to be Raging Bull. Just to see what De Niro went through physically, the span of time he takes that character through, the insecurity and the bravado and the anger. I think it's still a performance that's relatively unmatched in film history.
Next, Phillippe talks about how he got into acting, and what it was like working with some of cinema's greatest modern directors.