Did you do anything to try to get into the heads of these characters to better prepare for the scenes?
Maika: We had some time prior to shooting to go over the scenes, because — without giving too much away — there’s a lot of layers to each character, and the audience is kept on their toes. It was helpful for those because there were long scenes [with] a lot of dialogue. For us, having that time, even though it wasn’t a ton of time, was enough to figure out where there might be some issues and where we could make it better, and where we could maybe have some fun with teasing or hinting at this, and maybe the audience wouldn’t notice it the first time through. It was quite interesting — a dance of sorts.
I feel like I’m going to have to watch it again myself so I can make sure I notice things that I might have missed the first time. How much creative freedom did you have in exploring your characters? Was the final take any different from the directors’ plan?
Jake: It was collaborative, to be sure. I imagine that a director’s nightmare is an actor who takes over, like, «I know you’ve got an idea, but I’d like to do my idea.» They’re juggling so many things that to then have that be the person in front of the camera must be a nightmare. I always like to feel like we’re pulling in the same direction and trying to accomplish the same thing, and then find moments where I can offer what I can to this — or if there’s a moment that bumps in a scene or something, to say, «Is there a way we can smooth this out?» or, «Can I say this instead of that? It still accomplishes what we want out of the scene, but it then ties back into this.»
[I’m] trying to come to it from a thoughtful place and not being like, «I don’t like how that sounds,» or whatever that reasoning is, or some ego BS. But it felt, between Maika and Dan and Bobby, there was an openness to how much we got to play and create. They were also specific in saying that we have to have this moment. It plays into that later.
Maika was helpful after I’d do a take. She would lean over and be like, «I wouldn’t [do that] …» No, I’m kidding. She was wonderful. It was a joy to build this thing together.