Kyle's Career Filmstrip: TV Series and Movies

Dec 24, 2013

Interview: Kyle Chandler on ‘Wolf of Wall Street’

Kyle Chandler poses in the photo room at the 63rd annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre. -- Photo by Dan MacMedan
Dan MacMedan/USA Today
The Republic | azcentral.com Tue Dec 24, 2013 10:57 AM

Almost everything about “The Wolf of Wall Street” is over the top.

Except Kyle Chandler.

The actor plays an FBI agent investigating the rich-but-crooked investor played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and he is a kind of calm in the center of the storm.

Chandler, 48, talked about the role and making a Martin Scorsese movie, as well as a certain football-themed television show he used to star in.

Question: You’re the one actor in the movie who doesn’t get to go over the top.

Answer: I’m the only adult.

Q: Your character’s first meeting with DiCaprio’s is a good show of restraint on your part.

A: Well, I am the FBI, and I do have the federal government behind me, so I am in a power position. So if he’s going to sit there and run his mouth off and do something as stupid as that, who am I to stop him? It is a funny movie.

Q: It’s certainly an interesting story.

A: What I find interesting about this is that it’s a true story. To not follow the truth of it would not only do it injustice, but people might not follow along because they’d smell something was wrong. That they got this one made, truthfully as it is, that’s something else.

Q: Did it feel different while you were making it? Bigger than a normal film?

A: No. You have to understand, my presence is felt throughout the film, but my character’s not on screen very much at all, really. So I wasn’t really part of those moments of just over the top. But when I was doing the scene with the helicopter, when we arrest him making the commercial, that gave me an indication of the tone of what was happening. But there’s no way that I could have guessed the film would have been so smart, so funny and yet, I don’t know the final word for the movie. It’s just so damn enjoyable to watch.

Q: Well, it is Scorsese.

A: For the people who are interested in what it’s like for an actor to be on a set of a Scorsese film, and be around stars like Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill, my answer to you would be it’s one of the most creative and collaborative and safe places I’ve ever felt while I’m working. That allows the actors to do their thing. That’s just highly important, as well.

Q: Were you intimidated by Scorsese?

A: It was intimidating the first three seconds, before you shake hands and you look at him. My pop used to say us Chandlers were people people. I believe that. He’s just one of those people I felt comfortable with pretty much immediately. But I went in there with high anxiety, thinking that he’s going to question me on the history of film or something. My worst fears were at the forefront. But it was a really great experience. It’s just nice to work with a gentleman who’s at the top of his businesses.

Q: You’ve had a good year. “The Spectacular Now” was also good, and your character (the protagonist’s irresponsible father) was different for you.

A: Yeah, that one scared the hell out of me.

Q: Why?

A: Because there was nothing there to do, really. It was all the creation of a back character. Throughout the whole film, if that doesn’t work, it’s like the center tent pole. Without the center tent pole the whole thing caves in. And then on top of that, it’s was guerrilla shooting. It was real fast. I just didn’t want to screw it up, that’s why. … I didn’t know till the film came out that I pulled it off. I was worried about it up to the last minute.

Q: I have to ask you about “Friday Night Lights.” Was that has to be a highlight for you?

A: It is. There’s no doubt. One of the highlights that, it’s like, when we did that, the style of shooting and everything, I learned so much from that. And I learned so much from (series creator) Pete Berg. Pete Berg is a very giving director. He’s a very physical, very outspoken, lovable person who is very, very talented. … If he didn’t have filmmaking, I’m sure he’d be in jail, but he uses all his energy in such a giving way. Probably if I hadn’t done “Friday Night Lights,” a lot of skills that I bring to my roles after that, I wouldn’t have found, because that was like acting class No. One.

Reach Goodykoontz at bill.goodykoontz@arizonarepublic.com/ Facebook: facebook.com/GoodyOnFilm. Twitter: twitter.com/goodyk.

http://www.azcentral.com/thingstodo/movies/articles/20131226kyle-chandler-interview-wolf-wall-street.html

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