Courier, saviour and now undercover junkie - the coolest actor in contemporary science-fiction speaks…
by Ben Parker
What did you think about A Scanner Darkly's animation process?
"I think conceptually it's very apt. Sometimes doing the animation might seem a conceit, or not really important to the story - just spectacle, something to look at. This one, I think, because of the idea of identities and not knowing who's who and what's going on - the mask not being a mask, that aspect to it - it was perfect for this piece."
Is it strange to look at yourself like this?
"Well, I was curious to see what it would look like. But it's fantastic. I think they did a really nice job about representing the performances that the people or characters did. They did a very realistic kind of animation, more than I've ever seen, the detail on the expressions and the faces and stuff. I think it's beautiful. We filmed that, it was there. And if anything, they accented it by the shadows and by the contrasts that they were able to achieve. I was glad that the performance came through the animation. It didn't get it the way."
Was it more enjoyable for you to be surrounded by these actors?
"It certainly makes it more enjoyable. We really got along well together. We had two weeks of rehearsal. I was there for two weeks but Robert and Winona and Woody Harrelson came for a week. We had a room, a table, and scripts and the novel. And Richard tape-recorded it and wrote, and we improvised. We got along really well."
What is it that you find interesting about complex, thinking-man's science-fiction films?
"Well, it just depends on which one but I like science-fiction. This kind of fantasy science-fiction - it's always nice to think of what would be the great things in the future. Flying, or the technologies and where they go. Then science-fiction often asks interesting questions about where and how humans would be in different situations. It expresses hopes and fears and it's not normal. It's not day-to-day. It's something fantastic. So. I like that."