Dane DeHaan Interview

Dane DeHaan plays young moonshiner Cricket Pate in the Prohibition film "Lawless". Set against the violent environment of the outlaw Bondurant family is the childlike Cricket, who would do anything to help the moonshiners. Actor Dane DeHaan sat down to talk about what makes Cricket such a moving character, his thoughts on doing more theater and a possible return to the "Chronicle" franchise.

Did you learn about making moonshine?
I know how to make moonshine. If you gave me enough time, I could do it (laughs). My character makes the moonshine, so I had to figure out how to make it.

How'd you get the part of Cricket?
I auditioned for it. I had just moved to L.A. I had just come off of "In Treatment" It was one of the first scripts that CAA had sent me. I had just signed with them. I was like "Wow, this is amazing" and the cast was attached to it at the time. It was like "Hey, do you want to do the best script ever with the best cast ever in your first wide release movie?" To me, that was a no-brainer.

Why do you think people connect so closely to your character?
The movie's about Jack and Forrest, but Cricket is the light at the end of the tunnel. Out of all the brutish, violent brothers, he's the heart and the brain. He's the one they care about, not like an equal, but almost like a baby that they have to take care of. I hope that comes across on the screen. [Spoiler-ish, I guess?]
His fate is a catalyst for the film. It's like "Of everything, how could you do that...to him?" It's like you're fighting and you punched me in the nuts (laughs).
[End of spoiler-ish part]

You and Shia are the two young guys in the movie. How was it working with him?
We played best friends in the movie and we tried to become close in real life. From the start, I got out of my first accent coach and Shia's was right before me. He waited for an hour to introduce himself to me. In the same breath, he was like "Hey, do you want to take a road trip down to Georgia with me?" I was like " Yeah, I'll do that." That's how we got to know each other. We spent three days in the car together. We went through the process together as confidants and best friends. We had a really good time working together.

Speaking of road trips, were you ever scared flying down the road in those old trucks?
Yeah, it gets scary (laughs). They don't have suspension, anti-lock brakes, but it was fun. The cars were a big part about the movie and learning to drive the cars.

Did you ever try to get pointers from veteran guys like Gary Oldman and Tom Hardy?
It's so much about observation and watching them. Acting is such an individual thing, so to see an individual that's kind of a master at it like Gary Oldman, to see what he does and how he works, I think you'll get a more truthful answer from watching than by asking.

Is there any chance that you'll be in a "Chronicle" sequel?
If they write me into it. I don't know anything about it. If they want me in it, I would really love be as proud of the sequel as I am about the first part. I'm really proud about how it came out. I would like to kind of honor the first part with the second part. It's just not part of my decision.

What kind of director was John Hillcoat?
He's about as gentle as his movies are violent. He's such a gentle person. We had two weeks of rehearsal where we all sat down at a table and went through the script, answered any questions or made changes. So, when we were shooting, everyone was ready to go. We did thirty setups a day. We went super fast. We didn't have time to think about it when we were doing it. He was really great and collaborative and making sure we were ready to do it before we started.

Any plans to do more theater?
I would love to. Theater is where I started. I used to do a lot of it. If the right thing came along, I would totally do it. Just like any project, it's about finding the right one, the next one that'll challenge you and be the most exciting. I grew up doing theater and then I did theater for two years out of school. Film, for me, is like a whole new world. It's really interesting. It's a whole new side of it that I never got to do before. So, there's a part of me that did theater for twenty-three years. I've only been doing films for three years. I always want it to be a part of my life. I'm just not sure what the project will be to take me back in.

With so much success so quickly, how do you stay grounded?
My personal life is a big part of that. Being married helps. Having somebody that I met before the craziness happened who really knows who I am as a person and isn't coming in with any preconceived notions, someone that I can really trust. I'm also really aware that I'm one of the lucky ones. I kind of won the lottery. There's millions of people that want to do this. I know I went to school with 18 of them and they're all really good and they don't get to do this and that's messed up, but the fact of the matter is so few people get to do it and I feel so lucky to be able to do it. It's what I've always wanted to do. So, I just try to stay focused on that, stay focused on the work and keep doing it for all the right reasons.

What can you tell me about "The Place Beyond the Pines"?
I can't go into too much detail about that, but I can say that I've never been more proud to be a part of anything in my life than "The Place Beyond the Pines". I think the movie is amazing. It's going to Toronto and I can't wait until it's shown to the world. I'm a big fan of Derek's. I loved "Blue Valentine". "The Place Beyond the Pines" has the gritty realness of "Blue Valentine" and I think it's epic in scope and plot like "The Godfather". That movie was such a fulfilling process to make and to see the fruits of our labor was unbelievably fulfilling. So, that project I can't wait to be shown to the world.

You're also starring with quite a cast in "Kill Your Darlings".
That was about the Beat Poets in college. It stars me and Dan Radcliffe. He plays Alan Ginsberg before people knew him as they do today. My character is Lucien Carr, who was not a poet, but the catalyst for the Beat Poet movement. It's kind of about the Ginsberg/Carr relationship and how that relationship inspired Ginsberg to becomes Ginsberg at the time that Lucien Carr committed this murder. It's really a complex, interesting, true story.

Did you and Daniel form an instant chemistry?
Me and Daniel have become really close friends. He's really awesome. He's really sweet and he's totally an actor for all the right reasons. We still keep in touch and he's a really cool guy. It can be tough to make friends within this business, but he's definitely one the first true friends I feel I've made. We definitely had a great time working together. We kind of played lovers in the movie and in our way, fell in love with each other, I guess.