Hugh Dancy Talks Adam - RT Interview

by | August 6, 2009 | Comments

RT Interview: Hugh Dancy on Adam

Confessions of a Shopaholic, Shooting Dogs, Ella Enchanted… If Hugh Dancy was in danger of being cast as the posh English heartthrob, his latest role has put paid to that.

In the offbeat comedy-drama Adam, the 34-year-old Brit plays a lonely New Yorker with Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism. Adam’s lack of social skills make his courtship of neighbour Beth (Rose Byrne) comically awkward, and their resulting relationship a testing one.

We caught up with Dancy at the film’s Edinburgh premiere – where fiancé Claire Danes was on his arm — to talk about playing the new Forrest Gump.


Adam

[tomatometer]MuzeID=1208105[/tomatometer]

Did you know about Asperger Syndrome before you read the script for Adam?

Hugh Dancy: You know what, I don’t even know if I had. The most I could possibly have said is, “I think I have heard of that,” like most people. The script landed on my lap without any basic description. I read my way a third of the way in, to the point where Adam the character announces that he has this condition. At that point my interest was really piqued: the decision to hold off on that diagnosis in the movie was very unusual and much more interesting. So what I got out of the script was close to the enjoyment I hope people get out of it when they sit and watch it. People who know nothing about Asperger’s – they don’t feel like they’re watching a movie of the week. You’re not having an Asperger’s information video forced down your throat.

Did you immediately feel up to the job portraying someone so unusual?

HD: I realised it would be quite a challenge for me. When I went to meet Max Mayer, the writer and director, we talked through it all and he offered me a little bit of his knowledge of Asperger’s. I think if he’d really thrown the door wide open I would have totally freaked out and run a mile, but he gave me just enough, like a good director would, to make me hungry. I didn’t even occur to me as a glory project or something.

You mean like the old Oscars cliché about actors playing disabled characters in an attempt to win?

HD: [laughs] I realise it’s very easy to see this kind of movie in that light – I’ve now answered enough questions about the movie to know that! But fortunately, I think that the movie offers more than that.

Adam

Dancy with Rose Byrne in Adam.

What was the biggest challenge for you during filming?

HD: Because of the nature of Adam’s condition, it specifically denied me most of the things you rely on as an actor; communication, empathy and reaction. That quick, spontaneous reaction to somebody else in a room usually gets captured on camera, and that makes it feel real. But you can over-rely on those things to cover a slight lack of understanding of the scene that you’re playing, thinking, “It doesn’t matter because I can act it up, I’ll be really present if I haven’t really considered the ramifications.” Well I literally did not have that vocabulary available to me. I couldn’t really look into Rose’s eyes.

That really intrigued me because it’s the polar opposite of what you’re supposed to do as an actor, which is to emote wildly and be a human sponge.

How did you decide how to play the character? Did you meet people with Asperger’s, did you plan it with the director?

HD: Or did I just turn up on day one and hope for the best? [laughs]. Actually, all of the above. There was a lot of information that I had to absorb. I read a lot of different stories, talked to a lot of different people. But there is also a truth to the idea that you still turn up on day one and think, “What the hell’s going to happen here?” We only had 20 odd days to film this so the truth is I was in a state of constant shock from start to finish. It’s not like I spent hours in a rehearsal room with Max going, “Should I walk like this? Should I walk like that?”. The first scene we shot was the first scene of the movie and I remember turning round and walking from the grave of my father’s funeral and thinking, “Oh, it’s gonna be like this!”.

What do you hope audiences will take away from the film?

HD: I don’t hope, I know that they will take away a sense that it has spoken to them, even if they have never met anyone with Asperger’s. They will recognise the very human story of one individual, any of us, trying to properly make contact with another one. That’s what I think is at the heart of this film.

Adam is out in the UK on August 7th.

Tag Cloud

Syfy TCA Winter 2020 WGN BBC America ABC Character Guide VH1 See It Skip It golden globes supernatural Country Superheroe PBS Lifetime television Fantasy witnail President Spectrum Originals Red Carpet discovery GIFs Quiz USA Network finale adaptation Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Britbox Reality Competition Song of Ice and Fire 45 Black Mirror Marvel Studios space stand-up comedy theme song Acorn TV tv talk 007 E! Kids & Family Adult Swim Super Bowl police drama American Society of Cinematographers TruTV DC Universe FOX Horror Nominations Elton John Turner Classic Movies diversity blockbuster Star Trek Holidays TBS Netflix Christmas movies Anna Paquin latino reboot Pixar Sci-Fi boxoffice ESPN casting what to watch directors Holiday Grammys Hallmark Ghostbusters revenge Christmas mockumentary Teen Universal Tubi Marvel LGBT Reality X-Men Fall TV National Geographic E3 spinoff Trivia unscripted Interview Amazon Women's History Month TIFF Masterpiece DC streaming service Pop name the review Extras DC Comics festivals spain 21st Century Fox Sundance TV sports Tumblr Family Cosplay Music DirecTV Drama strong female leads CBS First Look cancelled TV shows elevated horror halloween war Marathons CNN dceu Comic Book Marvel Television Paramount Spike screen actors guild GoT period drama Binge Guide toy story canceled true crime crime Awards Tour Premiere Dates Logo 2020 MSNBC Calendar Sneak Peek Comedy Warner Bros. Disney streaming service Podcast game of thrones TCM ghosts Best and Worst renewed TV shows Hallmark Christmas movies Set visit Apple TV Plus zombie aliens Star Wars Toys The Purge screenings historical drama batman biography Sundance HBO psychological thriller TNT 20th Century Fox Arrowverse VICE Lionsgate Emmys Disney+ Disney Plus Comedy Central cinemax binge FXX Film YouTube Red TV Land Spring TV spanish language social media series Rom-Com dc Pet Sematary GLAAD Lifetime Christmas movies free movies Starz science fiction crossover Opinion comic Musical Pirates christmas movies Tomatazos zero dark thirty disaster Mindy Kaling OneApp Nickelodeon Avengers Disney Channel quibi sequel politics cancelled teaser based on movie spider-man Walt Disney Pictures mutant Amazon Prime Video Emmy Nominations 2016 green book richard e. Grant Animation History RT History 2015 streaming Polls and Games Valentine's Day Rock Mary Poppins Returns kids Trophy Talk Sony Pictures blaxploitation Hulu singing competition romantic comedy Brie Larson cooking NYCC hispanic sag awards game show crime drama Action natural history hist RT21 The Arrangement The CW Bravo slashers adventure YA justice league Election APB TLC Heroines TV 2018 cults ratings El Rey children's TV book PaleyFest TCA 2017 LGBTQ TV renewals cops IFC Films Disney Plus Infographic USA SXSW medical drama movies comics cars Chilling Adventures of Sabrina romance Summer thriller Netflix Winter TV talk show Winners Nat Geo AMC Amazon Prime Musicals Crackle Rocketman robots Turner spy thriller SDCC WarnerMedia Food Network Mary Tyler Moore Box Office Fox News ABC Family Disney Trailer Rocky docudrama nature HBO Max rotten movies we love MCU harry potter Oscars Mystery doctor who Biopics documentary cancelled television Video Games CMT San Diego Comic-Con miniseries TCA Ellie Kemper movie Tarantino Mary poppins Baby Yoda Dark Horse Comics Television Academy Creative Arts Emmys cartoon First Reviews Columbia Pictures award winner Shudder Martial Arts joker Epix Shondaland cancelled TV series New York Comic Con travel sitcom canceled TV shows cats Countdown Awards IFC YouTube Thanksgiving Peacock foreign werewolf NBC Cannes Paramount Network FX Superheroes 2019 Cartoon Network Classic Film Film Festival CBS All Access Lucasfilm Pride Month Schedule facebook Photos Western ITV SundanceTV composers A24 Comics on TV CW Seed versus political drama vampires 71st Emmy Awards Apple serial killer independent Academy Awards DGA Mudbound indie anime Writers Guild of America BET crime thriller Showtime Esquire BBC Ovation The Witch 24 frames transformers video Sundance Now technology OWN Watching Series Certified Fresh breaking bad zombies dragons animated Stephen King Captain marvel Chernobyl comiccon A&E dramedy Crunchyroll Endgame Freeform psycho Apple TV+ jamie lee curtis The Walking Dead Year in Review MTV south america YouTube Premium Discovery Channel 2017 Vudu anthology