While some might scoff at the notion that a man could fall in love with his phone’s operating system, one man who believes in the premise of the quirky love story is actor Matt Letscher, who plays Amy Adams‘ husband in “Her.”
“The initial impulse is ‘Wow, we’re really going down the wrong path here. This is not how human beings were meant to love or to exist in the world, having relationships with technology in this way.’ However, it’s completely plausible with the evolution of AI,” Letscher told TheWrap. “If it were to happen, why say no? Why would anybody say no to somebody’s happiness? … His relationship with technology has made him more present. That’s not how we think of it now, but I see how it could be like that one day.”
Letscher said he had to fight hard for the plum part in Spike Jonze‘s futuristic love story, which opens Wednesday.
“It was just a straight-up audition,” Letscher said. “I got sent the script and ended up going in several times. The first few times were for a different role in a scene that didn’t end up making it into the movie. Then Spike wanted to see me for this part and I had to read a couple times for that. He’s very deliberate and thoughtful about his choices, so it took a while to get cast, but I was really happy.”
Ultimately, Letscher feels “Her” is a high-concept story about a relationship.
“The script was so clear, for me anyway,” he said. “It actually was not this incredible futuristic flight of fancy. The relationship was very clear. It was something that I could absolutely see happening in the future. It’s already happening. Our egos and and emotions are tied into social media. Our relationship with technology is much more complicated now.”
Letscher is a veteran TV star probably best known to movie audiences as the villain in “The Mask of Zorro.” He recently recurred on ABC’s “Scandal” and currently plays Carrie Bradshaw’s dad, aka Dadshaw, on the CW’s “Carrie Diaries.” The 43-year-old actor also stars in Atom Egoyan’s true crime drama “Devil’s Knot,” which explores the West Memphis Three murder investigation and subsequent trial.
“I had seen ‘Paradise Lost’ so that colored my view of the case quite a bit. Even if it doesn’t come squarely down on the boys’ side, that documentary very astutely calls into question the workings of the judicial system, which were highly questionable during this case. I had strong opinions that the boys didn’t do it and the killer still hasn’t been found. That’s why this is still so haunting.”
Letscher plays Paul Ford, one of the original defense attorneys at the boys’ first trial, in which he represented Jason Baldwin.
“He’s the most flamboyant of the defense attorneys in ‘Paradise Lost.’ He’s very demonstrative. I did call Paul and tracked him down. It was entirely of my own doing and it was interesting talking to him. He was grateful I reached out to him, because not a lot of people had. A lot of people have had their own versions of the story to tell. We talked about the trial and his client Jason Baldwin and the way things went. You feel a certain responsibility when you portray a real person, so it was important to play that as truthfully as possible.”
Letscher had high praise for Egoyan as well as his co-star Colin Firth, who plays attorney Ron Lax.
“Atom was the perfect choice for this material,” Letscher said “‘The Sweet Hereafter’ is a great example of his ability to handle this morally ambiguous murky subject matter and give it the kind of emotional resonance that a sort of straightforward retelling may not. He’s able to draw out the ambivalence of the situation, the not-knowing and how that tortures everyone involved — the mothers and fathers of the children especially, as well as the other people involved in the case. I loved working with Atom, and Colin Firth is just a consummate actor’s actor. He’s obviously so accomplished, but he’s so modest and yet confident. It really was a pleasure to work with somebody that skilled and generous.”
For now, Letscher is focused on spending time with his family over the holidays as he waits to see whether “The Carrie Diaries” will be renewed. That said, the actor looks back fondly on his time working with Jonze, Egoyan and Alan Ball (“Towelhead”).
“A lot of times you feel like you’re working on an assembly line making product, but those three directors are all playful, intuitive and highly creative. It’s [right] where you want to be.”