Paul Dano’s new role created by real-life partner Zoe Kazan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
From his riveting and accolade-winning performances in “Little Miss Sunshine” and “There Will Be Blood,” Paul Dano swings to the lighter side via the romantic comedy “Ruby Sparks.”
Dano plays Calvin, a best-selling author now afflicted with writer’s block. He turns to his dog, his brother and his psychiatrist in an attempt to break down the wall. The shrink helps him conjure an imaginary girlfriend, Ruby Sparks.
Ruby turns up in Calvin’s apartment one day cooking eggs. Is this magic or madness—or a joke? Whatever it is, it feels incredible.
“Ruby Sparks” is written by Paul Dano’s real-life girlfriend Zoe Kazan, who also plays Ruby. The movie is directed by Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris, the couple who directed the runaway hit “Little Miss Sunshine.”
Also featured in the movie are Annette Bening as Calvin’s hippy mom, and Antonio Banderas as her flamboyant artist-lover.
Was the role of Calvin written specifically for you?
Yes. Zoe wrote “Ruby Sparks” on the couch in our apartment in Brooklyn. By the time she had written page 10, I said, “We have to send this to Jonathan and Valerie when you’ve finished it.”
Have you ever experienced the kind of frustration that your character is going through when we meet him?
I experience that every day. I don’t feel like anything comes easy for me as an actor. I think I probably make it harder on myself than I need to.
Did your relationship with Zoe affect the way you made this movie?
It did change things. Normally when I am on a set away from home I find myself in a weird zone of isolation, where normal life sort of disappears for a while. But I found that we work well together. It is great having the writer of the film on set.
What is your perspective on the theme of the film?
Fear of failure is a big part of this film. Calvin is scared of writing a second novel because his first one was a success. Once Ruby starts to show potential disinterest in him, he’s so scared he’s going to lose her that he starts to control her. So the film also looks at the way people try to control the other person when they are in a relationship.
Your career so far has been diverse and interesting. What do you look for in a film?
I always want to be inspired, whether the film is big or small. Obviously, the cast matters and the director probably matters most. But it usually comes down to the script, how the words make me feel.
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