David Gyasi Talks Interstellar and Working With Christopher NolanPosted by Wilson Morales
November 4, 2014
Coming out this week is Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated film, Interstellar, which stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Ellen Burstyn, John Lithgow, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Wes Bentley, Bill Irwin, Mackenzie Foy, Topher Grace, and David Gyasi.
Not much has been given about the plot other that it’s about a team of explorers who undertake the most important mission in human history; traveling beyond this galaxy to discover whether mankind has a future among the stars.
For David Gyasi, who plays a NASA scientist in space with McConaughey and Hathaway, it’s his biggest role to date since making his film debut in The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer‘s 2012 film Cloud Atlas. It’s also his second time working with Nolan as he appeared in a lesser role in 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises. That experience, as he points out, kept his focus on being an actor and since then the British native has had roles in other projects such as Red Tails and the British series Dr. Who.
In speaking with Blackfilm.com, Gyasi briefly goes his character and how he landed a coveted role in a Nolan film.
How would you best describe Romini?
David Gyasi: I would describe him as someone who pours his effort, his heart, his passion, his education into exploring one way, one thing about life and then we see the poetically effects of that. That’s how it feels when I read it and when I see it. It’s another film that I’m incredibly proud of.
How did the role come about for you?
DG: It was very different from when I last worked with Christopher. I auditioned and had an amazing monologue for The Dark Knight Rises on this incredible character that I spent two solid days working on. I came in and read for John Papsidera, the casting director and he really reacted well to it, so much that he said, “I’m going to bring you in to meet Chris and his wife Emma.” I delayed my flight and they managed to organize it just before my flight back. I came back in and read for them and they said “Thank You” and they were all interested but they didn’t have tabs on what I was doing and then the offer came in, which was incredible. We filmed a different part to what I read for and sadly, that part was really cut down. That was my experience but it felt like the work that we had done in the audition and the work that we had done in the room was such a great experience. I wondered if the job was really about the end product or the process and I leaned toward it being about the process. It was affirming to me that there is work to be explored out here and someone like Christopher Nolan being interested was massive for me.
Just to tell you a bit more. An hour before I heard that I had the part for The Dark Knight Rises, I was seriously considering changing careers. Lots of things were going on and I decided that this is what I want to do and this is my vision and I’m going to pursue it and at 4:15pm I got the call about The Dark Knight Rises and the next day, I got a series for the BBC, White Heat. It was an amazing time.
The next sequence of events was that I met Christopher and Emma on the red carpet for their neighbor’s film and Chris kindly said to me, “It’s great to see you and I’m so glad I got to see you because unfortunately the film was too long and we had to cut it down.” For me, it was amazing to have gotten it. Then I got sent some sides on tape and was told it was a Christopher Nolan movie. I put myself on tape and they reacted well to it and flew me out to meet them. I came out to meet them and we worked on the sides for about an hour with different accents, different ideas, and they pretty much offered me the job in the room but this time I wanted to read the part beforehand just to see that the part matched up to what we were doing and all of that sort of thing. When I was on the plane reading it, I just fell in love with the heart of the piece, the humanity, and I said yes. I’m so glad I did because I would love to work with them again. It felt like we completed what we started four years ago when I first auditioned.
Can you talk about working with Matthew and Anne?
DG: Absolutely wonderful. It was great to work with them and they are fantastic people and sweet, warm, lovely human beings. I can’t speak highly enough of them.
This film comes with a lot of themes. What is your theory on life above Earth and humanity? Do you believe in it?
DG: Yes. I still believe in humanity and that’s the challenging part. When you see a film like this and the way the Earth is depicted in it, it saddens me because if we carry on the way we are going, we are not too far away from that. I still actually believe in humanity and I believe that if we all share the right information and make the right choices in terms of ethical approaches to all aspects of life, from farming, consumerism, climate and change, the underground slave trade that is happening with sex traffic and 29 million people being slaves at the moment, I feel that we are moving steadily and we can probably move quicker towards the simple changes that need to happen to eradicate some of these things.