Go

When Fichtner first heard the name Officer Burke over the phone, it almost sounded as if he heard the name of an old friend of his. The oddball cop is a “character” in the truest sense of the word, and a character Fichtner relished playing (which shows in the movie):

[Laughs] Burke…oh boy, wow. I remember when I met [director] Doug Liman, and he wanted to me read with him, and I said sure. You know, when you read stuff, you find a rhythm with it, and sometimes it takes a little longer to get that rhythm. Sometimes you just find a rhythm and feel like the first time you read it, you looked at it, you might be onto something that’s right down the road where it needs to go. I felt that way about Burke in Go.

You know, Doug had a camera on his shoulder in the bathroom scene we’re putting the wire on, and every day, the space was so small, like the scene in the car with Jay [Mohr] in the backseat. It was an intimate thing with Doug always around with this camera on his shoulder. It’s a funny thing, I was flipping around a few months ago and Go was playing [on cable], and there’s nothing dated about that film, I didn’t think so. It’s so good. The cast of characters are so good in it. Everybody has a beautiful rhythm, and you gotta give credit to Doug, who put all the pieces together and made something as wonderful as that film is. You know, the older I get, the less I tend to watch things I’m in. I’m not one of these people who sits down and goes, “Oh man, I want to watch some movies I’m in.” [Laughs] No, but Go is one I popped on a couple of months ago and thought, “What a cool movie.”

The actor sees it as “a timeless slice of life,” which couldn’t be more spot on. Those young characters having the wildest time of their lives will always remain relatable to generation after generation:

The only thing I remember from way back when when Go came out…it did well, but not as well as it should’ve done. I remember it was marketed for a teen audience, but everyone in their 30s and 40s were the ones who really got it, because they all remembered what it was like when you were 18 and absolutely fearless. I just remember thinking, you should reach out to people of all ages, because everyone who watches Go from start to finish, it either takes you back or you’re living in that moment right now. It’s a brilliant movie, and one of my favorite things I’ve ever worked on, for sure.

The Dark Knight 

Fichtner is as cool as ice in the opening of Christopher Nolan’s comic book epic. Most bank managers in movies tend to stutter and sweat their way through robberies, but not Fichtner’s shotgun-toting bank manager. The actor is only in the opening of the two and a half hour crime movie, but it’s an unforgettable scene the actor recalls shooting fondly:

A good friend of mine who produced Memento, Aaron Ryder, is really close with Chris Nolan. I didn’t personally know Chris, but my friend Aaron called me and said, “My buddy Chris Nolan is making this film, and he has this role at the beginning of the film, and he’d love to talk to you about it.” I said, sure, I’d love to speak with Chris about it, so we had a phone call conversation about it. He told me all about the role, how we meet the Joker for the first time, and all of this. I said, “Just do me a favor, send me the scene.” I read the scene and got right back to him, “Absolutely.” It’s one of those things, you can never know, and it was the same thing with Crash. I remember at the time my agent going, “It’s just this one scene, this one part,” which often times doesn’t mean a lot to me. I don’t really care; it’s what it is.

Chris’ description of who the guy was, what the scene was, what was happening in this moment, what kind of bank it is, and what kind of bank manager he was, in one conversation, Chris just shared a lot with me about what he thought was happening here. Like a Ridley Scott, some of these directors who are just amazing – they don’t have a million things to share with you on the day. They tell you things that put you down the road. There’s a big trust factor and they let you go.

I remember the first two days – and I think it was the first two days of principal photography – is when they shot that scene with the IMAX cameras in the bank. Chris had all sorts of people around him, and the special effects guys were incredible. I remember when I was walking with the shotgun and shooting, they asked, “Where are you going to aim?” I said, “Over here,” and in take one, I fired that thing, and when I fired it, something blew up and I thought, “Holy shit. These guys are good!”

It was also the chance, on the first day of principal photography, to meet Heath [Ledger] that day. I had never met him before. I remember one thing… He was pretty quiet with his headset on, thinking about whatever he was doing and his process, but I remember when we started rolling the cameras and the camera was on him, I thought, from one actor to another, I was watching him going, “I love, I love what this guy is doing right now. He’s dialed into what this role is,” and it was really cool. That was a good memory, and may he rest in peace.

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