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Nordling Talks To Guy Pearce About LOCKOUT, MEMENTO, And A Little Movie Called PROMETHEUS!

Nordling here.

I won't lie - although LOCKOUT, opening this Friday, is fun enough, I really wanted to talk to Guy Pearce about the many great movies that he's been a part of over the years.  Unfortunately, I only had ten minutes with the man, so I couldn't dive into his back catalog as extensively as I would have liked.  I didn't even touch on L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, or RAVENOUS, and I covered THE PROPOSITION only tangentially.  But I wasn't going to pass up on talking to an actor with a terrific movie career with such great performances, and I'd be damned if I didn't at least touch upon MEMENTO.

I only got ten or so minutes with him, but I found those ten to be time well spent.  Pearce was friendly, engaging, and witty, and I thank him and Elizabeth Shelby for  setting this up.

Guy Pearce:  Hello.

Nordling:  Hi, Mr. Pearce. How are you doing?

GP:  Good. I’m sorry, what was your name?

Nordling:  My name is Alan Cerny, I write for Ain’t It Cool News.

GP: How are you doing, man?

Nordling:  I’m doing well. I saw your film, LOCKOUT.  I loved Snow and his wisecracks.  He seems to be a really funny guy.  Tell me a little bit your inspiration for him as a character.

GP:  Look, he was written that way completely and utterly.  I mean, the guys, Steven [Leger] and James [Mather] who wrote and directed the film were very keen from the outset to make sure that he was a bit of a wisecracking irreverent sort of character.  They made that very clear from my first meeting with them that that’s what they were after, which I suppose is what I found appealing about him in the first place.

Nordling:  Yeah, he’s kind of a reluctant hero, but once he gets going he seems to have a good time of it.

GP: Yeah look, and I think that he is obviously somebody who was a special operations guy, so he has all of the training and all of the skills and all the abilities, but he just doesn’t care for that stuff anymore, so as we discover in the film, he is really there to rescue his friend, rather than rescuing the President’s daughter, who he doesn’t really care about.  So you know, that in itself I sort of thought was a nice irreverent attitude, but obviously when things get difficult he has the skills to be able to deal with it, and really it’s just a fun piece of entertainment.  It’s kind of fun, I think, to have a character at the center of it who himself is kind of having a bit of fun.

Nordling: It’s kind of a big year for science fiction for you with this and PROMETHEUS.  Can you talk a little about that TED video that you shot?  I know you probably can’t go into the movie very much, but I thought that was a really fun way to kind of have fun with the fans of the ALIEN films, and also just have fun with people anticipating PROMETHEUS.  How did that come about?

GP: I’m not sure who’s idea it was originally, if it was Ridley’s [Scott] idea.  I imagine it probably was, but they wanted to establish a sort of a back-story or some motivation for an audience to understand what Weyland’s MO is, and I guess it was all sort of rolled up with a more contemporary way to market a film, and get some sort of additional aspects to characters out there online.  I’m not sure if the others are online yet, but there are some from other characters as well in the film.

Nordling: Oh? Okay.

GP:: Which I can’t give away yet if they are not out there obviously.

Nordling: Right.

GP: So you know, it’s a way of sort of having additions to what is there in the film just to add interest, and obviously this is a highly anticipated movie and for obvious reasons.  I think the marketing folks and Ridley are really tapping into that, and I think it’s fantastic, because I think people are excited about the movie, and so to give them little tastes other than just a typical or normal trailer for the movie is kind of a fun way to do it, you know?

Nordling: Yeah. I loved it.  It was a lot of fun.  I’m a huge ALIEN fan. It’s probably one of my top ten films of all time, so that’s really…

GP: Yeah, I mean that’s a great film, isn’t it?

Nordling: It’s great.  Did I detect a little John Hurt in your voice there when you did the TED video?  It sounds like you had a little gravely thing going. (Laughs)

GP: Not on purpose.  Not on purpose, no. (Laughs)  Maybe, I have worked with John Hurt before, but it certainly wasn’t intentional, no.

[Both Laugh]

Nordling: It was wonderful.   I just watched MEMENTO again yesterday… I’ve seen it many times, but I wanted to watch it again since it’s been several years now since the movie, and I think it’s had a huge impact - your performance as well as Christopher Nolan’s direction.   One humorous question I had, in a world where Polaroid doesn’t exist anymore, where would Leonard Shelby be now?  What would he be doing?

[Both Laugh]

GP: Yeah, flicking through photos on his digital camera trying to remember which was the first one in the list, you know?  Being frustrated that he couldn’t write on the screen, although there are some cameras where you can actually write on the screen obviously.  But yeah, it was lucky we made that movie when we did, isn’t it?

Nordling:  There’s something amazing about it.  There’s this quality about it that still holds up, and I think that even now that it’s commenting on how memory, you can’t even trust it.

GP: That’s right, and I mean it is a timeless idea.  We all live a long life - well for those of us who are lucky enough to live a long life - we all have memories of our past and I think we all…  If we ever really questioned them, aren’t necessarily 100% sure whether those memories are entirely correct.  We might think they are, but you know it’s such a fascinating psychological occurrence, I think, the idea of a memory and why we actually have them. They are a survival tool.  They are a way of constructing our identity. They are a really fascinating existence and for those of us…  You know, I have a family member who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, and so is losing her memory, and it’s really incredibly tragic, because it’s like sort of saying, “Your life has been taken away from you.”  Obviously, having experienced making MEMENTO, I spent a lot of time giving the idea of memory a great deal of thought, and so it’s something that is sort of in the forefront of my mind, and obviously now having a family member who is experiencing that, it’s interesting to look back at that again and try to relate it to what’s going on at the moment.  It’s such a precarious and tenuous thing, our memories, and how our brain works.  I think that film will always… I think people will always be able to relate to it, even as time goes by.

Nordling: Yeah, it’s amazing. Now you’ve worked with John Hillcoat in THE PROPOSITION and you have another film coming with him, THE WETTEST COUNTY.  Actually, it’s under a new title now, right?

GP: Yeah, I think it’s being called “LAWLESS,” but I’m not entirely sure, so I wouldn’t quote me on that.  Maybe you should do some homework - and not to suggest you haven’t done homework (Laughs) but I’m just saying I think they are in the process of figuring out the title, so I’m not entirely sure what the final result is of that.  I think LAWLESS is what they were going for, but this is my third time working with John, because I did THE ROAD as well.

Nordling:  Can you talk a little bit about that film and what we can expect in that one? It’s played a few festivals and I haven’t seen it.  I really want to, because I love Hillcoat’s work.

GP: I don’t think it will have played any festivals yet.  I don’t think they are entirely finished with it.

Nordling: I thought it had, but I might be mistaken on that.  I’m sorry.

GP: Yeah, I think so, because I think they are still in the final stages of putting it together, so I would be surprised to hear… I mean there may have been some sort of trailer type things played at festivals perhaps, but…

Nordling: Right.  I think that’s what it was.

GP: But I think it’s great.  I mean I think what I’ve seen of it obviously with Tom Hardy and Jessica Chastain and Shia Labeouf and Mia Wasikowska…  It’s a really fantastic, beautiful, dramatic story with great performances, and obviously John Hillcoat has a very particular style, and I think it’s really suited to drama and obviously period drama as well, so I think it will be a very visceral and sort of effective film.  I can’t wait to see the finished product myself. (Laughs)

Nordling: Right. I remember there were several moments in THE PROPOSITION… I was actually watching it at home, and I kind of jolted in my seat, because there’s some pretty visceral moments in that film as well.

GP:  John, I think he manages to tap into your psyche in a way that no other filmmaker does, so he’s a pretty special guy.

Nordling:  All right, I think that’s about it. I wish you luck on LOCKOUT.

[Both Laugh]

GP: Yeah, thanks.  Look, it’s fun.  As you say, I think it’s a fun character hopefully people will get out of it what we put into it, which is really just to have a good piece of entertainment I guess.

Nordling: Thank you very much.  I appreciate your time.

GP: No problem. All right, thanks. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye.

Nordling: Bye.

LOCKOUT opens this Friday, PROMETHEUS opens in June, and LAWLESS opens this winter. We're not done with Guy Pearce this year, not by a long shot.

Nordling, out.  Follow me on Twitter!

Readers Talkback
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  • April 9, 2012, 2:35 p.m. CST

    He sounded like he had shit to do right after that call

    by Terrence

    Just kind of "yeah, yeah, let me get this outta the way so I can go get blown by whatever indie actress is looking to be "hot slut #2" in some blockbuster."

  • April 9, 2012, 2:36 p.m. CST

    Love to hear his LA C comments

    by Kevin

  • April 9, 2012, 2:37 p.m. CST

    he's a fantastic actor. the real deal.

    by AsimovLives

  • April 9, 2012, 2:38 p.m. CST

    Locjout looks like kind of throwback fun

    by Big_Daddy_Nero

    Like one of those fun Wesley Snipes or Bruce Willis movies when they just made something fun. Here's hoping it's good!

  • April 9, 2012, 2:38 p.m. CST


    by Big_Daddy_Nero

  • April 9, 2012, 2:41 p.m. CST

    What's your problem, BDA

    by Teddy Artery

    You get this stuff for free. Don't like it? Start your own web site and do your own interviews.

  • April 9, 2012, 2:42 p.m. CST

    it's obvious that LOCKOUT is a love letter to ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK.

    by AsimovLives

    The movie is, despite being in english language, a french production, from Luc Besson's Europa production house. And in France, John Carpenter is God. Not just respected, but treated as divine. While in the USA he's treated as little more then a bum. Asses!

  • April 9, 2012, 2:50 p.m. CST

    I hope there's a Meox Mix 2129 video for the cat

    by Domi'sInnerChild

    Viral marketting rules.

  • April 9, 2012, 3:04 p.m. CST


    by Industrious Angel

    while it may be true Carpenter is held in too little regard in the US, he's still no god here in Europe. he's a bit hit/miss - while "The Thing" or "Escape from New York" or "Halloween" are considered classics, few of his other films have much of a fanbase or get TV playtime.

  • But it's really more of a mash-up between EFNY and Road Warrior. The trailer of this, looks like prime '90s escapist "sci-fi".

  • April 9, 2012, 3:09 p.m. CST

    nice sit-down. Pearce seems like a good guy..

    by Robert Evans

  • April 9, 2012, 3:09 p.m. CST

    would love to see Pearce tackle the Joker in THE KILLING JOKE..

    by Robert Evans

  • April 9, 2012, 3:10 p.m. CST

    Maggie Grace sucks.

    by Von_Trierstein

    That lanky little snot.

  • April 9, 2012, 3:12 p.m. CST

    Not the best interview ever

    by twogunjames

    Even in print that seemed fairly awkward and unprepared. And seriously if you only have 10 minutes with someone like him, you might want to come up with something more interesting than "Tell me your inspiration for this character."

  • April 9, 2012, 3:14 p.m. CST

    i agree,Guy Pearce is the real deal.

    by KilliK

  • April 9, 2012, 3:16 p.m. CST

    Should have been a superstar

    by centilope

    LA Confidential and Memento are some of the best movies ever made and Pearce was terrific in both. Sadly, Hollywood blamed him for the Time Machine remake failure.

  • April 9, 2012, 3:19 p.m. CST

    He was supposed to play Harvey Dent in TDK

    by centilope

    As much as I liked Eckhart in the role, I wish Guy Pearce played Dent instead. He surely would have been as great or maybe even better.

  • April 9, 2012, 3:32 p.m. CST

    worked on Untitled Drake Doremas Feature with Guy...

    by john

    no idea what the guy is like other than that he's really thin in person.

  • April 9, 2012, 3:38 p.m. CST


    by Robert Evans

    yeah up until a few weeks ago, the film was called THE WETTEST COUNTY throughout its production. The interview could have occurred around that time and perhaps only the cast and crew knew of the imminent change...and it seems that Pearce was still unsure. cut Nordling some slack guys...its not like he asked him about a film that Pearce wasnt even in.

  • April 9, 2012, 3:39 p.m. CST


    by Robert Evans

    and if yer gonna talk shit about someone for not doing THEIR 'homework', make sure you spell the actor's name right. At least Nordling got that right..

  • April 9, 2012, 3:42 p.m. CST

    Oh please Choppah...

    by john

    difference between Antonio and Nordling is that Antonio isn't being paid to do it for a professional (debatable) entertainment news site. Not remotely a fair comparison or a mild insult.

  • April 9, 2012, 3:43 p.m. CST

    Pierce Should Have Had A Better Career

    by DeckardB26354

    Was it The Time Machine that ruined it for him? Just a really good actor with a really great presence, like Fassbender is now. I don't know why his career kind of went down the tubes, he deserved better.

  • I remember loving every second of this movie (even Russell Crowes scenes) until the ridiculous Crowe vs. James Cromwell shootout at the end. Maybe i'll give it another spin one of these days.

  • April 9, 2012, 3:59 p.m. CST

    AnTonio and renetabard

    by Robert Evans

    Well of course you don't get paid to post here for your weak ass jabs. My point is there's a big diff between the unprepared and unprofessional shit that Harry does and what Nordling did. Shit--try reading that Harry JC interview with Stanton. Half the time he's talking about himself. Im Sure Stanton loved that

  • April 9, 2012, 4:04 p.m. CST

    centilope, agreed about Guy Pearce

    by Mattman

    His acting in L.A. Confidential floored me (helps that the character was so well written). Pearce is a REAL actor, not just a persona.

  • April 9, 2012, 4:05 p.m. CST

    Goddamn, I had forgotten about Time Machine

    by Mattman

    All I remember about that movie is Jeremy Irons wasn't actually much of a villain... in fact he seemed like a nice, reasonable guy... he's even willing to let the 'hero' go... and then Pearce tricks and murders him.

  • April 9, 2012, 4:13 p.m. CST

    'Memento was good, but was too dark. It needed a lighter touch.

    by Mattman

    insert Picard facepalm here

  • April 9, 2012, 4:24 p.m. CST

    Guy seemed a little defensive about Lockout "Look, it's fun." ...

    by adeceasedfan

    As in "Look, I know it's one step away from DTV, but it's a fun bit of entertainment (paycheck). " Or maybe that's just the way he talks. It does look like fun though and I'd rather watch him or Neeson use their particular set of skills over a major crop of Hollywood action types.

  • April 9, 2012, 4:28 p.m. CST


    by Transhuman


  • April 9, 2012, 4:29 p.m. CST

    Yes Guy Pearce is one of the best mainstream actors out there

    by Rupee88

    One of my favorites. And he hasn't had a bad career at all. He is working and kind of like Johnny Depp used to be with choosing roles that interest him.

  • April 9, 2012, 4:35 p.m. CST

    Never see Guy Pearce and Jeffrey Donovan in the same room

    by thelordofhell


  • April 9, 2012, 4:43 p.m. CST

    Fuck you, it's fun! Don't judge me!

    by Mattman

  • April 9, 2012, 4:47 p.m. CST

    If in France, John Carpenter is considered God

    by gotilk

    then I take back anything and everything I have ever said bad about France.

  • April 9, 2012, 4:48 p.m. CST

    I didn't learn anything about LOCKOUT from this

    by animas

  • April 9, 2012, 4:55 p.m. CST

    By far, Guy Pearce's best performance to date..

    by DonLogan

    Mike in Neighbours

  • April 9, 2012, 5:13 p.m. CST

    Nordling, why did you ban Dirty Ape?

    by Joe Plumber

    This is just a test to see if Nordling will ban me for merely asking that question.

  • April 9, 2012, 5:16 p.m. CST

    is the studio ashamed of Lockout?

    by Bouncy X

    i had no idea this movie even existed til i saw a tv spot yesterday saying it was starting THIS friday? damn! i mean i'm pretty up to date with genre movies and its hard to be behind with the internet...can't believe i didnt know of this. especially since it looks well made and has pretty good effects and sets and whatnot and not like some cheap rushed dtv wannabe you'd expect with such a last minute advertisement. is this maybe one of those movies made a few years ago and just delayed for whatever reason?

  • April 9, 2012, 5:19 p.m. CST

    choppah, Re: Guy Pearce as Joker

    by Joe Plumber

    I know this sounds crazy, but I'd actually like to see Christian Bale play the Joker in a non-Nolan directed Killing Joke with someone else doing the the duties in the black armored suit.

  • April 9, 2012, 5:20 p.m. CST

    Maggie Grace sucks...

    by Joe Plumber

    my Meh-mber!

  • April 9, 2012, 5:59 p.m. CST

    Love it when good actors can also kick ass.

    by Von_Trierstein

    Like Guy and the aforementioned Liam Neeson. Sometimes I wonder if Daniel Day-Lewis is hiding some sick secret fighting skills... he seems like the kind of guy that would learn how to destroy a man just for something to do (besides making furniture)... On a side note I always thought it would be funny if he made really terrible furniture. DDL for The Raid remake.

  • April 9, 2012, 6:51 p.m. CST

    Don't forget King's Speech!

    by Jeremy Jar Binks

    He was great in his supporting role.

  • “In France, I’m an auteur; in Germany, a filmmaker; in Britain; a genre film director; and, in the USA, a bum.'' -John Carpenter

  • April 9, 2012, 7:16 p.m. CST

    melgibsoncalledmethenword, well you never know until you try!

    by Mattman

  • April 9, 2012, 7:25 p.m. CST

    The Time Machine...

    by Sean1701

    was bogged down by production delays. I think the main saving grace of that film was (besides Guy) the score. From the opening credits, the music floored me. The look on Guy Pierce's face as he realizes that he cannot save his girlfriend Emma (along with the music piece entitled "I Don't Belong Here") gave that movie a soul. Too bad the director had to bow out due to exhaustion.

  • ... it's hard to dispute his acessement. He used to be the golden boy, now he can hardly make a low budget movie and takes him years to do so. Meanwhile, in France, he's not just an auteur, he's a god of cinema revered and admired by everybody, specially the newer guys.

  • I refuse to acknowledge it's existence, the fucking piece of shit!!!! aparently, the screenwriter/director is related to H.G.Wells. great way to piss on your own greatgrandfather's legacy, junior. fuck you!

  • April 9, 2012, 7:57 p.m. CST

    Shoulda asked him if Harry's script was real...

    by sunwukong86

    Too soon?

  • it's a fantastic movie,m with every actor in it at the top of their game. and of them all, it's guy pierce as charlie and ray winston as the chief constable that breaks my heart. their stories are so sad. and the ending, it really fills me with sadness and heartbreak. i have seen lots of stories, of movies with depict siblings turning on each other and one forced to have to kill another. but rarely one movie made me feel so much about the situation. i have a brother, and this movie, the proposition, made me think, always makes me think about my brother. i don't think i can give the proposition a higher praise then that. sorry about the sentimentality, boys. normal service will resume, and i'll be back to my cankakerous self.

  • April 9, 2012, 8:21 p.m. CST

    Carpenter IS God..and i'm still waiting for a NEW Escape Movie!

    by plisskenman

    Either.. EFNY Remake with Tim Olyphant........OR Escape From America with Kurt Russell.

  • April 9, 2012, 10:05 p.m. CST

    The LOCKOUT commercial name-drops BLADE RUNNER --

    by MooseMalloy

    -- how times have changed.

  • April 9, 2012, 11:35 p.m. CST

    Pearce is fantastic. But the Time Machine is crap.

    by Rex Carsalot

  • April 9, 2012, 11:44 p.m. CST

    @asimovlives I'm calling you out!!

    by MrLongbaugh

    Here is your post from above. it's obvious that LOCKOUT is a love letter to ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK. by asimovlives *The movie is, despite being in english language, a french production, from Luc Besson's Europa production house. And in France, John Carpenter is God. Not just respected, but treated as divine. While in the USA he's treated as little more then a bum. Asses!* Here is another post from i'm one of the foreigners in here, and this news profundly saddens me by asimovlives *you, my american cousins, you are the fathers of modern western democracy. and to see the very spirit of your democracy being violated like this by commercial greed is heartbreaking. i wi´sh you well in your fight agaisnt this corporation sponsored dictatorship that looms on your horizont. many americans say that business is america's business. but i say, how about democracy and liberty? aren't those your business as well? since when freeom and business are incompatable? make no mistake, when corporations say they want to secure their copyrights and revenues, what's really being said is that very greedy CEOs and their adjunts want to be even more rich, thety want to secure a bigger well of gold and riches for them to take bucketloads for themselves. Corporations want to expand simply because the people who run them want to be richer. in the end, it's all a human matter, and when the greed of a few chackles millions. that is not right. fight the good fight, my american cousins. Today, I AM AMERICAN!* So...which one is it? One day you are proclaiming *I AM AMERICAN!* Then you make the statement*While in the USA he's treated as little more then a bum. Asses!* So which is it? You talk SOOO much shit. Are you an American or are you calling Americans Asses? You talk out both sides of your face. You must come here just for the attention, because you are a troll of the highest order. You are so stupid, not because you don't know anything, you actually know some stuff. You think you know everything and that is what makes you look like an idiot. Do you honestly think you know how everyone in the U.S. feels about Carpenter? Do you really think you know how everyone in France feels about him? You think you do, but you don't know jack shit!! Go back and climb under the rock from which you came. A lot of TBer's are getting tired of your act. Damn dude!!

  • April 10, 2012, 1:03 a.m. CST

    @adeceasedfan, "look, it's fun..."

    by kaptron

    Pearce is Australian (not born, but raised). You'll see he uses "Look, ..." in a lot of the interview, which is just how a lot of Australians talk. Lockout does look a little DTV-ish but I'm kind of itching to see it, mainly because I have no doubt that Pearce will be great if nothing else. Throwing in Peter Stormare (probably hamming it up 110%) doesn't hurt. Plus even though we all know Maggie Grace is a "meh" I do think it's sort of funny that she's typecast as the "blonde chick who requires a crazy over-the-top rescue" and hope that's how she carries out the rest of her career.

  • April 10, 2012, 2:08 a.m. CST

    mrlongbaugh, can you read?

    by AsimovLives

    that's all i'm going to say. michael bay movies level of intellect is not acceptable. think of the circunstances in regard to the posts before you say something dumb again.

  • April 10, 2012, 2:32 a.m. CST

    Whatever happened to Carnahan's adaptation of White Jazz?

    by i_got_worms

    At one time it was going to star Clooney, with Pearce reprising his Ed Exley role. Then WB pulled some legal shit and said they had the rights to the Exley character via LA Confidential so Carnahan had to pull him from the script. Then Clooney pulls out. And now.... where is it?

  • April 10, 2012, 6:17 a.m. CST

    @asimovlives CAN YOU READ?

    by MrLongbaugh

    Nothing in either one of the posts has anything to do with Michael Bay or his movies. It has to do with you claiming to be an American in one breath and calling Americans asses in the next. Damn, you are an asshole!!

  • April 10, 2012, 6:49 a.m. CST

    Always thought Guy was perfect to play Gambit in X-Men 3

    by guardian.452

    But I got a Ratner floater instead. First Class save maybe?

  • April 10, 2012, 7:01 a.m. CST

    Carpenter in France

    by amin

    it's true Carpenter is a god in france, even les cahiers du cinema worships him.

  • April 10, 2012, 7:31 a.m. CST

    A PG-13 cross between Escape from New York and Fortress 2

    by Volllllume3

    And you people are looking forward to this? Really? Humanity is doomed.

  • April 10, 2012, 9 a.m. CST

    Escape From New YorK? Been there, done that.

    by I_Snake_Plissken

  • I rate Pearce, I think he's now grizzled enough looking to be a good Dredd but I struggle to imagine him doing high-profile, shiny Marvel comic-book hero stuff. He seems better placed in grimy, hard-edged worlds like LA Confidential and the Proposition, so he would be ideally suited to a role in the aforementioned Dredd or, of course somewhere in Bats... He'd be a good aged Wayne from Dark Knight Returns era with added Clooney-Hair (TM) Failing that, Neighbours spin-off: MIKE

  • April 10, 2012, 9:02 a.m. CST

    Oh, and Pearce Would Make a Great Cyclops

    by I_Snake_Plissken

    I mean that in terms of an X-men film, I am not suggesting somebody go poke out one of his eyes. (I'm looking at you guy with duct tape standing outside of his house reading this on your mobile device.....)

  • April 10, 2012, 12:04 p.m. CST

    I loved Luc Besson and Guy Pearce but I'm not going to pay

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    to see Escape from New York in Space in the theater when we have Avengers, Batman, and Expendables 2 coming out this summer. I'm sure it's going to be good, but I need to budget my movie money.