Descending on Forster

It was surreal: I had just seen The Descendants last Tuesday and then ran into Robert Forster at the Sutton Place Hotel in Vancouver on Wednesday. He smiled and sat down when I explained the coincidence and we chatted for an hour. He told me that he thoroughly enjoyed his turn as the grieving father in the Alexander Payne-directed odyssey shot in Hawaii and starring George Clooney.

Originally Forster only had a single scene, but that expanded into two. Payne graciously asked Forster if he’d like to do his set up first and gave him as many takes as he needed, which weren’t many. Not surprisingly, Forster explained that acting for him is finding the emotional moment and making his stand. Speaking of Clooney, Forster said he was the very gracious in his own right, making sure everyone was comfortable. And Forster suggested that Oahu was paradise.

Forster asked what I thought of the comedy-drama and I told him it’s a haunting film and one of my favorites of the year. I noted that it’s Clooney’s greatest dramatic stretch and that I appreciated the fact that each character isn’t what he or she initially seems. For instance, Forster’s character is understandably gruff but reveals a tender side that’s quite affecting.

Forster recalled working on The Stalking Moon with Gregory Peck early in his career and how the sound mixer had to call him out for speaking too softly.The actor appreciates the advancement in technology along with more believable and naturalistic dialogue to work with today. Of course, Forster credits Quentin Tarantino with rejuvenating his career with the Oscar-nominated turn in Jackie Brown (which has just come out on Blu-ray). He agreed that Tarantino, like Payne, knows how to get the best out of his actors and give us memorable movies to hold on to. Forster then excused himself to get some sleep before another day’s work on the J.J. Abrams-produced Fox series, Alcatraz.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Movies, Oscar, Trailers

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