January 16, 2011 by Post Team
Paul Giamatti, (CP) – In the rare characters like Harvey Pekar franchise of “American Splendor,” the franchise, impudent John Adams, the HBO mini-series, and now, self-destructive Barney Parnofsky of “Barney’s Version” Paul Giamatti has brought very human, messy lives to theaters more accustomed to simpler, cleaner portraits.
Himself more worn and unkempt as the actor on average, disheveled appearance Giamatti works in tandem with its warts-and all representations. Think of your wine-lover Miles in “Sideways,” a man of refined taste that bursts nevertheless pouring a vat of wine on his head.
“Maybe I have a propensity to mess things up,” Giamatti provided in a recent interview over coffee in a restaurant of his New York neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights, where he lives with his wife Elizabeth and his son Samuel. “I would certainly err on the side of being more interested in things being untidy and messy characters and environments.”
“Barney’s Version ‘, an adaptation of Richard J. Lewis’ Mordecai Richler’s beloved novel in Canada, Giamatti gives wide berth to revel in the imperfections in the title role and a nomination for best actor in a comedy or musical at the Golden Globes Sunday.
Barney is a well-watered, ego-less, TV producer of cigar smoking (he cares little for its schlocky product, naming its Montreal production company totally unnecessary Productions), who thinks enough of decorum that goes way flagrant his third wife to marry his second.
Much of the joy of the film – which is divided into three parts, one for each wife (Rachelle Lefevre, Minnie Driver, Rosamund Pike) – is seeing Giamatti play Barney in time (it ages about 30 years in the film), disease, madness and love.
This is another performance of lead actor for 43 years, who, after years of smaller roles of characters, has proven that its acclaimed performance in “American Splendor” and “Sideways” were not aberrations front-man, after all, but the beginning of a busy decade that would also include an Oscar nomination for “Cinderella Man,” an Emmy for “John Adams” and notable films, including “The Illusionist” Duplicity” “”The Last Station” and “Cold Souls.”
“I have no idea how I managed to do it,” Giamatti laughs. “The luckiest thing I’ve had happen is that, yes, I learned to play a role forefront of things, but the substance of support I have been nominated and given the opportunity to do so has been very interesting. Lots of times, it is more interesting than the main roles, I offer you. ”
If there is a word used frequently Giamatti to discuss his characters, it is “difficult.” It is a kind of resistance to see anyone, any character other than as a complex individual.
“People are tricky, man,” he said. “Life is difficult.’s all a riddle to guess, sort of. If you want to enter, it is delicate.”
Dustin Hoffman plays the father of Barney in “Barney’s Version”, but the dynamic between the two is chummy, like soul mates. Some might say the same for Hoffman and Giamatti, who first crossed in 2003 gangster film “Trust.”
Hoffman was impressed with the physical performance of a long monologue Giamatti and remembered him. He came to “Barney’s Version” after Giamatti email him, asking him to play his father.
It recognizes Giamatti as someone to “speak the same language”, an actor who does the work and who “seems to come over (my) generation than it is in fact”
Giamatti, “said Hoffman, expresses both the pain and comedy of life.
“It comes with its own system of optimistic cynicism,” said Hoffman. “There is much to celebrate, because not only is he a craftsman, he is gifted, he is unique and he can be himself.”
Giamatti grew up in New Haven, Connecticut, son of Bartlett Giamatti, a professor of comparative literature at Yale, who later became president of the university and the commissioner of Major League Baseball. The younger Giamatti studied literature as an undergraduate at Yale before getting his master’s degree in acting.
Someone who got a first idea of talent Giamatti was Tom McCarthy, the actor-director whose upcoming film “Win Win” Giamatti stars as a lawyer from a small town that is also high wrestling coach. It was a year late Giamatti at Yale School of Drama and remained friends with him.
McCarthy said he was very clear from the beginning that Giamatti was qualified.
“Nobody has come out of Yale or any other school that I know who has worked steadily as quickly, at a high level,” said McCarthy. “Literally, the guy has not stopped working, as either in theater or film or HBO. It keeps rolling. ”
After several years of small roles in films, the pair staged Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman cast Giamatti as Pekar in “American Splendor,” Pulcini said that they had to fight for.
“It does not fit into a character with a fear that this character might not be sympathetic,” says Pulcini. “And yet, when Paul makes a character like that, there’s always something human and sympathetic about them naturally “.
“He can play anything from a garbage man a king,” says Pulcini.
Giamatti will in fact play a king – King John – in the medieval drama “Ironclad”, due out this year. He recently shot a supporting role in “The hangover 2″ and will begin production in February on the political theater of George Clooney, “The Ides of March.”
It will also play Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in the film by Curtis Hanson HBO “Too Big to Fail.” Initially, even Giamatti wondered whether a film should be made on Wall Street executives that called “pirates”.
“I do not know if they deserve to be humanized, but of course they do,” he said. “They are not actually cave monsters.”
Resigned to their humanity, he sighs: “It’s a difficult thing.”
Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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