Garret Dillahunt's Triple Play
Although he's currently starring on a weekly television series, Garret Dillahunt doesn't like repeating himself -- he strives to, with every project, bring to life a character he's yet to play. Something that will become very evident over the next few months as a trio of striking new films hit screens, each boasting a new incarnation of the actor.
The Tribeca Film Festival plays host to two -- Any Day Now and Revenge For Jolly -- while September brings about his bad guy role in the time-twisting Looper, from director Rian Johnson. I caught up with Garret to talk about all three as well as find out what he's hoping to see next season on Raising Hope.
Insider.com: Congrats on another amazing season of Raising Hope. Especially that finale.
Garret Dillahunt: I loved Virginia's beauty pageant freeze on the stand and also seeing Lucy chase Sabrina with the knife. But then again, I love this show. I feel really lucky to have it – some people think it's dumb but others get just how clever it is. There are so many in-jokes and subtle references that you really have to pay attention.
Insider: What are you hoping to do in season three with Burt that you haven't yet?
Garret: Well, I really like how physical they have Burt – I'm always wrestling and jumping and running and falling – it's the most physically demanding show I've ever done, which I wasn't expecting, but that's what makes it fun. I hope to keep that up. And I wonder what would happen if Sabrina and Jimmy got a place of their own, which would make Burt and Virginia deal with empty nest syndrome for the first time. But that's just me – I don't know if that’s going to happen.
Insider: You have two films opening at The Tribeca Film Festival. First is Any Day Now, where you play one half a gay couple (alongside Alan Cumming) who tries to adopt. What attracted you to this project?
Garret: First, I'm a fan of Alan's and he was already attached when I signed on. He's just joy. There's nothing toxic about the guy – he's all about having a good time as he makes his way through life. I also thought it was a beautiful story that would be very difficult to bring to life without being sappy or manipulative – that presented an interesting challenge. As did playing this barely out of the closet attorney in the 1970s, who has to make some massive leaps in his personal life in order to make public proclamations of who he loves. It seemed very timely as well.
Insider: Do you think it's strange to say that a film about public perception in the 1970s is timely roughly 40 years later?
Garret: I think it's sad and unfortunate. I mean, it's hard enough to admit how long ago the 70s were. I mean, holy sh*t, I remember them [laughs], you know? But the fact that same-sex marriage is still an issue is insane. Thinking love knows a sex is ridiculous. I think I'm most proud of the relationship Alan and I were able to create in the movie, I think it comes across very believable and loving and true. It's a small contribution to the argument, but I hope a truthful one.
Insider: How did you go about creating the relationship?
Garret: I think we lucked out in that Alan and I work in a similar fashion – we both feel like if you're not having fun, there's no point to being in this business. It should be challenging, but we share the idea that pain doesn't need to be involved. As a heterosexual man, I've never really doubted my sexuality, but I've had men in my life and thought, "If I was gay, I'd be with him" – you know? I've always appreciated spectacular men and Alan is pretty spectacular. I felt safe with him both professionally and personally, so it was just a good environment.
Insider: The film covers all areas of their relationship, so what was important to you about their love scene?
Garret: I hate when you see sex scenes in movies with two actors of the same sex and there seems to be a lot of flipping. They just keep flipping each other around in the bed [laughs] It's like, "what are you doing? No one does that!" [laughs] We wanted our love scene to be fun and funny and sweet as opposed to two people obviously trying to avoid physical contact [laughs].
Insider: How did Alan compare to Kristen Wiig, whom you marry in Revenge For Jolly?
Garret: [laughs] Well, my responsibilities are a lot less in Jolly. It's a great, long wedding scene. I had played Kristen's husband before in this short called One Night Only. Her boyfriend was in that and wrote Jolly, so I guess he thinks Kristen and I have good on-screen chemistry. She's another one, like Alan, that is unafraid. She jumps wholeheartedly into a role and you can't help but be right there with them.
Insider: In addition to those films, you also have a role in Looper [watch the trailer] which looks to be, pardon my french, a massive mindf*ck.
Garret: [laughs] I hope it is a mindf*ck – I loved this experience a lot. I'm incredibly jealous of Joseph Gordon-Levitt – he's just so cool and together. I wish I was as cool and together at that age. Plus, he looks incredible in the makeup -- but he had to drink shakes all the time because he couldn't eat with the makeup on. But he's so good and Emily Blunt is amazing. I mention them because those are the two I worked with.
Insider: Who do you play in the movie?
Garret: I play Jesse, who is one of the "Gatmen" – they're the dudes in the long black coats that are the enforcers for the bad guys. I'm hunting Joseph's character when he messes up and breaks the rules, which allows me to the baddest of the "Gatmen." I had the real leather coat, just so you know – which was not the best in New Orleans heat [laughs], What I like about the characters in this film is that there's no white hats. I'm just a guy with a family trying to do his job. I don't want to get hurt, I just want to find him and go home.
Insider: Didn't Killing Them Softly [which reunites Garret with his Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford director Andrew Dominik] also film in New Orleans?
Garret: It did, but my role is just a cameo in that because Andrew was bringing back the whole Jesse James crew. Although the first cut of the film was two and a half hours long, and I know they had to trim that down to an hour and a half, so I might have been cut out. I don't know. But it was great to see those guys again.
Insider: There seems to be this revival of troupes in Hollywood -- groups of actors and writer/directors working together over and over. Do you enjoy that resurgence?
Garret: I do. I like doing repeat business. I don't know how to phrase this without sounding like an arrogant ass, but I think people like working with me and generally want to do so again. That's something I'm very proud of. It makes me feel like I've done a good job and I like pleasing people. But I also think it says something about the actors I'm attracted to. Brad Pitt is a dude who just wants to make good movies. He's not afraid to surround himself with the greatest actors, which I always appreciate because I've also seen actors who only want to surround themselves with weak actors because it makes them look better. That ends up making a poorer movie. [George] Clooney and Pitt and guys like that are all about making the best movie possible -- and that's best for the audience, it's best for the movie, it's best for Hollywood and it's best for the other actors. I dig it.
Raising Hope repeats currently air Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on Fox, you can learn more about Garret's two Tribeca Films here and Looper opens September 28.