Chris O’Dowd’s latest film, “State of the Union,” is his second project that was based on a novel by British author Nick Hornby, a match that has the actor joking, “I like to think of myself as his muse.”
O’Dowd was at the Sundance Film Festival last year to promote his film “Juliet, Naked,” which was based on Hornby’s novel of the same name. TheWrap caught up with the actor at Sundance yet again, this time to talk about “State of the Union,” another Hornby project about love and marriage that has O’Dowd paired with Rosamund Pike.
The characters don’t really look alike, but has O’Dowd become the on-screen manifestation of the acclaimed author?
“I like to think of myself as his muse,” O’Dowd told TheWrap’s Steve Pond. “I’m wondering what sexy situations he’s going to write me into later in life.”
“State of the Union” is an unusual project for O’Dowd, as well. The story is a 10-part TV series broken into 10-minute intervals and, in each, he and Pike play a married couple having a drink together in a pub before they head into marriage counseling. Over the course of the series, more is revealed about the history of their relationship and what has caused them to drift apart. For instance, in one episode you learn that the two differed in how they voted on Brexit, which causes a rift between them.
“It’s really inside the sausage factory of a marriage kind of a show,” O’Dowd said. “It’s interesting in that I haven’t seen this kind of format where it’s 10-minute shorts, and it was very alluring to try and make that work, because I feel like that will be a big part of the future of television.”
O’Dowd says he came to the project after working with director Stephen Frears and jumped at the chance to work with Pike. The pair would shoot an episode a day and then would learn the lines of the next episode that evening over a bottle of wine. He says they developed a strong rapport that translates to a portrait of a marriage that, hopefully, anyone can relate to.
“I think for the audience, even if you don’t have the same kind of marriage as this couple, there are parts of the dynamic that everyone will feel familiar with,” O’Dowd said. “Feelings of inadequacy and resentment and all those things that can swing in and out of a marriage any given day. Feeling that you’re not the best version of yourself and being very open about that, it’s very fun to play.”
Watch the clip of O’Dowd above.