Ben Mendelsohn has played a recent streak of supervillains in movies like “Rogue One,” “Ready Player One” and the upcoming “Robin Hood” and “Captain Marvel.” But in Nicole Holofcener’s “The Land of Steady Habits,” he gets his chance at playing a different type of bad guy: a person who has left his wife, his job and has a broken relationship with his teenage son, leaving him in something of a mid-life crisis.
Mendelsohn likened starring in an indie drama versus a massive blockbuster to performing different styles of music as a violinist in an orchestra.
“If I transpose myself into a violinist, there are certain films you go and do. I’ve got a very definite rhythm to them, there’s a specific set to them.” Mendelsohn told TheWrap founder and CEO Sharon Waxman at the Toronto International Film Festival. “And if I’m playing something like Nicole’s film, it’s much more delicate and melodic, if you know what I mean. There’s a much sweeter melody to it, and you’re playing a different piece of music.”
Holofcener’s film, a follow-up to her acclaimed “Enough Said” with James Gandolfini and Julia Louis Dreyfus, is a dramedy also starring Thomas Mann, Edie Falco, Connie Britton, Charlie Tahan and Elisabeth Marvel. And Mendelsohn stressed that working with such a cast is a special, rare occurrence for him in between the more expensive projects.
“You only get to play these pieces a certain number of times. And because they’re singular pieces, they’re a real gift to play them,” Mendelsohn said. “And also because in particular Nicole is extraordinary at being able to get her actors, and this is from my experience, to get you to bring that pitch to life in a way that’s just bang on. We would do rehearsals, and it would be like ehhh, and she’d give you very small notes, and the whole thing just adjusts, and it really comes to vivid life in just the right place.”
“The Land of Steady Habits” is available on Netflix now. Watch an interview clip with Mendelsohn and Holofcener above.
89 Stunning Portraits From TheWrap's Toronto Studio (Exclusive Photos)
Toronto Film Festival 2018: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Elle Fanning, Robert Pattinson and more stop by our studio