|The Character Came Easy in Cherish for Tim Blake Nelson
|by Thom Fowler
“I love exploring characters who are, at least on the surface, very different from me.”, says Nelson. “Ultimately, you must find in the character you are playing, places where you and he intersect. Those are your veins that you are looking for and you mine and mine and mine.” Tim Blake Nelson brings his training at Juliard and ten years in theatre to carefully crafting his character, Daly, for Finn Taylor’s, Cherish.
Daly is the lonely, love starved monitor of a prison bracelet program who is assigned to Zoe (Tunney). Her irrascible charm gives way and he develops a crush on her, creating some messy conflict between his heart and his job . He didn’t have to mine too deep to create Daly. “With Daly it was easy. I didn’t really ever get the girl until I started to succeed in my career. I met my wife when I was 23 and we’ve been together ever since, but in those years when I was single I spent a lot of time being afraid of beautiful women while I was attracted to them.”
“I’m a bit of a loner and I think I generally want to trust people and I have a pretty good optimistic attitude about human nature and I want to do the right thing. All these [are] aspects of Daly and I found it very easy to find the veins in that character.”
I asked Nelson about finding himself in his characters. Does he take on roles that let him explore life from inside another person’s head to get a larger sense of human experience? He strikes me as the kind of actor that would have an answer to this question. “I’m not that deep of an actor.”, he says flatly while trying to find the answer to just what it is he gets out acting.
“When those veins are difficult to find, doing the mining work is very exciting.”
“That is very personally and professionally exciting because you are pushing yourself as an artist in ways that are intriguing, exciting and invigorating but you are also doing what Ann Magnuson describes as doing personal work as well, who you are, where you fit in.”
“Having directed, acting often feels like a vacation. I find it easy to breeze onto a set and have one responsibility and one type of decision to make where all else is left up to others. Acting has become more and more refreshing to me.”
Acting and directing are only pieces of the whole Tim Blake Nelson puzzle. His most dramatic relationship, the agony and the ecstasy of his life as a creator, is with his writing.
“I don’t feel much lower than when I’m writing something and its not working. When I’m writing a play or a screenplay and its going well and I’m shaping it or revising it I don’t think I’m ever happier because you are alone with it and all these other people aren’t involved yet. Its so tanatalizing. So exciting.”
Tim Blake Nelson’s explosive rendition of Shakespeare’s Othello is being followed up by another bleak and disturbing movie, this time about the Holocaust called “The Grey Zone” with Mira Sorvino which hits the theatres in October. He is currently working on another screenplay. “I’m going in a different direction and writing something very lyrical and more gentle.”
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originally posted: 06/05/02 17:20:28
last updated: 06/06/02 16:14:07