Adam Goldberg, he who charmed his way into our consciousness as Mike Newhouse in Dazed and Confused, has proven that he's leading man material in Julie Delpy's directorial debut, 2 Days in Paris. The (un) romantic comedy follows Jack (Goldberg) and Marion (Delpy), two years into their relationship, as they visit her family in Paris. Intensely neurotic, Goldberg has a tough time adapting to the entire-rabbit-eating ways of the French and is less than enthused to keep running into Marion's old boyfriends. Goldberg is the more-muscley and tattooed Woody Allen to Delpy's more French Diane Keaton. It's an honest and revealing look into how frustrating a relationship can be. I recently chatted with Mr. Goldberg about the making of the film, his music career and how awesome Hugh Grant was in Music and Lyrics.
Alexis Swerdloff: Coming straight from DÃ©jÃ Vu, a big studio blockbuster, to filming a small independent film, 2 Days in Paris -- was that jarring at all?
Adam Goldberg: It was more physically than mentally crazy. I'm not good at traveling. Like today, I got in last night, and I'm completely disoriented right now. I'm just not a good traveling.
AS: Like your character in 2 Days in Paris?
AG: Yes, there is very little like the character that I am not. But yeah, I think if you sort of bounce back and forth between those two worlds anyway -- the big movie world and the small movie world -- one tends to acclimate to whatever situation they're in fairly fast. Going to Paris after that was more disorienting. I literally finished wrapping up DÃ©jÃ Vu on a Friday night, got to Paris on Sunday and started working Monday morning. I was completely out of it. And also, this was more important to me, I needed to be completely there. Oftentimes you sort of get the script, and you say the lines and blah blah blah, but this film was a much more collaborative scenario, more involving than your average job.
AS: Most of the people in the film are French -- was it just you and a lot of French people?
AG More so the crew. Everyone's communicating in French. So I
had to lay down the law several times and be like, 'I need to have
somebody telling me what's going on before we're rolling,' because a
couple of times we were rolling and I literally had no idea. The
schedules are completely different -- you get there and about an hour
later you're eating lunch. I mean literally. And I can't eat that early
in the day -- at least not like big things of fish. And then you don't
eat again for hours and hours, you know, and there seem to be endless
different bank holidays. Once I kind of gave into it and I kind of
relaxed a little bit it was better.
AS: Was there any rehearsal time?
AG: Strictly speaking, there was no rehearsal time, but Julie and I had spent months and months together while the script was being written. The concept was that it was going to be entirely improvised, and then it sort of increasingly morphed into more of a real film. And once we decided we wanted to make it more like a real shoot, like a three to four week shoot, and needed to get actual money to make the movie rather than do a kind of smaller, more experimental version of it, then she felt compelled to write a proper script, but it wasâ¦ a lot of it is based on conversations, improvisations that we do at my house.
There are only a couple of places where it says "and they talk about this." For the most part there's dialogue there, but a lot of times I would take my dialogue, which is sort of Julie's version of the way that I speak, and then make it the way I speak. And there's adlibbing and there are times when the camera's rolling -- like the scene in the back of the cab and Julie snorts, and I say "nice snort." That's just cause she snorted. We just kept talking.
AS: So Julie definitely wrote this part with you in mind?
AG: Well the way that I wanted to do it was that everything would be entirely improvised and I think that, a) it would probably have been too scary, b) I think Julie really wanted to say a bunch of things that she just wanted to write in the script and c) in order to get real money, we couldn't just submit this 50 page treatment or whatever. Um, so, yeah, it's me. She had Jack start out as a writer and we didn't think that was such a good idea, so I said that I wanted to be an interior designer because I always felt like if I wasn't doing this I'd probably do that -- and I was also obsessed with interior designing at the time, cause I had just gotten a house and so that was where my head was at. I changed my name to Jack, which was my former dog's name [Adam points to Jack's dog collar which he's wearing around his neck]. The tattoo of the dog on my arm is Jack.
AS: Was it a weird experience seeing so much of your real self on screen?
AG: I've done stuff like that before, I mean my first movie was something that I wrote and that's far more personal than this. This is a kind of farcical thing. I wouldn't want to characterize this as a caricature of myself, but the idea was to try to make the situations crazy but that it still be rooted in a reality. The situational stuff is completely out of Julie's head for the most part, but occasionally there'd be a -- I asked her if I could discuss men being human dildos and then she'd write a scene and sort of extrapolate from that. But you know, for the most part, it was sort of taking an aspect of my personality and then amplifying it in this foreign setting.
AS: Are you working on any projects right now?
AG: Nothing really. There are a couple of things I might do, but it's unclear what I'm going to be doing first. I'm working on a film that's a favor for a friend in Maryland. Rural Maryland is an interesting place. I'm also doing some writing.
AS: You've done a bit of writing before. You wrote the film I Love Your Work.
AG: That's what I want to continue to do, but I don't want to do it for the sheer sake of doing it. Basically, I have these surges of writing that happen fairly infrequently, so it's kind of based more on that and/or finding something that somebody else wrote that I can kind of justify devoting two or three years of my life to. Acting is kind of how I make my living and more or less affords me the opportunity to try and just make movies when I feel they need to made rather than to supplement my income in any way.
AS: What do you like to do when you're in New York?
AG: I used to live here. When I lived here I didn't do much. I mean, that's one of the reasons I moved. I realized I wasn't taking full advantage of the city, but I was taking full advantage of the rent. So I moved to L.A. I like to go out and have drinks with friends. I think that's what I really enjoy the most. That was also one of the reasons I left -- I never got a decent night's sleep the entire time I lived here. But what I love about New York, honestly, is just walking around and feeling the energy of the streets, being able to cross the street and go get a pack of cigarettes or something. Going grocery shopping in L.A. involves getting in your car and going on a road trip basically.
AS: Do you miss living here at all?
AG: I do and I don't. But I sort of have a tendency to
romanticize places when I'm not there. And then when I am there I'm
faced with the reality of the day-to-day life of that place. In the end,
I think my disposition is a little too wound up for the city. I need to
sunbathe and shut down, cause otherwise the combination of my mind going
a million miles a minute and the city going a million miles a minute is
a little too much for me.
AS: When you're not making movies, what do you do?
AG: I play music a lot. I record a lot of music. I did music for my last movie, I Love Your Work, and this thing for IFC, but other than that I haven't gone out into the world with it.
AS: Do you have a band?
AG: Well I play with this one band called Black Pine, but we went under the name of The Room for I Love Your Work. I've done a little music with Stephen Drozd of the Flaming Lips in Oklahoma. It's not a band, it's really just me playing in a variety of settings with different people. And I'm just trying to make sense of it all because it's starting to accumulate to a point where I can't quite figure out what to do with it. But it's something that I sort of can't stop doing, but haven't actually figured out whether anyone should ever hear it or not. It's in all these various contexts. Aesthetically, there's definitely a similarity, but literally, in terms of recording quality and who's playing on them, it's sort of divided up into three different groups: me with this band, me with Stephen and me on my own.
AS: You should make an album called "The Best of Adam Goldberg."
AG: It's funny that you say that because I was thinking of that for the title if I ever made a record -- for the first one.
AS: You should make it!
AG: Yeah, I probably will. That's why I went to Oklahoma to do this thing with Stephen -- that was the beginning of actually doing the record properly. But you know, it's not a world that I know very well so I don't have any real guidance in it. I'm sort of left to my own devices and I just keep recording stuff on my own and I can't quite explain it. I guess it's one of those things that I genuinely do for the love of doing it rather than for some kind of end goal.
AS: You don't have any burning desire to play live?
AG: Well I have played live and I don't like it. I'm not that good of a player but I'm a fairly good recorder. The one time I kind of figured out a way to do it was when I played and sang though a loop pedal and sort of created my own backing tracks live. I did that once at Spaceland with a couple other people playing with me. When I play as a band, that always to me sort of sounds terrible and I just get really nervous
AS: There's also so much stigma attached to actors-turned-musicians.
AG: Sure, and for the most part I think it's well-founded because most of those probably aren't so good. There's stigma with actors who do anything other than act, which is weird to me because in the old days everybody did everything -- you were an actor, you were a singer, you were a dancer, you had to do all those things. Now it seems for some reason like things are compartmentalized. People need to compartmentalize what other people do. Take Paris Hilton, for instance -- there's a renaissance woman of her time and people think of her only as this kind of party girl. But she's a singer, she's a star of a reality show.
AS: I really loved her song "Stars Are Blind"!
AG: That's like me and Hugh Grant.
AS: Did you see Music and Lyrics?
AG: Fuck yeah. That song? I downloaded it.
Adam and I start singing: "I've been living with a shadow overhead/ I've been sleeping with a cloud above my bed."
AS: "Pop Goes My Heart" is also good.
AG: It's the only time that the song within the movie about the rock star is actually really good.
AS: Anything else you want to tell PAPER readers?
AG: Well, PAPER readers, keep me in your hearts and in your minds.
2 Days in Paris is playing at the Angelika Film Center.