Karl Glusman is Murphy in Love.
When I started my searches about you, I found a video in which you’re playing Oscar in Enter the Void! It was particularly unexpected (and thrilling) to watch Gaspar’s future actor playing the role of the main character of his previous movie. Can you tell us more about this video? Did you know Gaspar’s filmography before you’ve been hired for LOVE?
It is true that a video exists called "Edge of The Void". It was actually a camera test for a DSLR system I had assembled one night. I attached a Tascam pre-amplifier (with two lavalier microphones) to a Canon 60-D to see if I could record external audio directly onto the SD memory card in the camera. I had no money living in New York City to invest in equipment or personnel and this system allowed me to act as both camera man and sound engineer simultaneously. Kind of like when Bob Dylan would play guitar and harmonica at the same time. I learned how to do this from watching Danfung Dennis' documentary 'Hell and Back Again'. The first time I did this, I was alone (and obsessed with Enter The Void) so it just came into my mind as I turned the camera on. I was mostly just messing around but the effect was funny to those in on the joke. It was only a camera test but not too long after being in contact with Gaspar I sent him the video!
To answer the second part of your question, I was familiar with Gaspar's previous work before meeting him. I had seen Enter The Void at the IFC Center in New York, where Gaspar came and did a Q&A. At the screening, I was able to ask him how he shot the bathroom scene at the start of Enter The Void. He generously shared his techniques with the audience and even referenced the films which inspired the shots. At the time, Enter The Void was one of my favorite films... probably the best one that I had seen in the last five years.
Are you a movie lover? What are your favorite films and director?
I love cinema. Stanley Kubrick is probably my all-time favorite director. I am so impressed with how different each one of his films are. Yet, when you watch them, each one distinctly bares his signature. Films which I enjoy watching over the years include; Dr. Strangelove, 2001, Godfather I&II, Taxi Driver, Apocalypse Now, Blade Runner and anything with Jack Nicholson.
When Gaspar first met Vincent Cassel and Monica Bellucci for Irreversible, he told them “Do you want to make the movie that Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman just missed making with "Eyes Wide Shut"?”. How was your very first contact with Gaspar? How did he “show” you LOVE?
Gaspar first asked me how I was to which I replied, "I'm well. You?" He then asked me, "So... how do you feel about your erect cock in my film?" After I asked him to repeat the question I said, "Well, I don't think I'll be inviting my mother to the premier." He then asked me how tall I was. Apparently he thought I was too tall because he wanted the main characters of Murphy and Electra to stand at the same height for framing while shooting so I suggested he put her in some sexy heels to which he laughed.
In Cannes, you said you were stressed before you shot your very first scene... I can imagine how hard it is to be naked in front of other actress AND the team. But how did you react when you saw yourself in the movie for the first time?
Gaspar was very welcoming and allowed me to sit in the editing room with him and Denis. He would even ask me which takes I liked. Maybe he did this to make me feel included or maybe because my English is better than his. Either way, I was very proud to see myself in a picture shot by Benoit Debie. There is a reason why Gaspar likes working with him, the man is a genius with light. I haven't seen The Neon Demon yet but right now, I would have to say this is by far the most beautifully shot movie I have ever been a part of. I am proud.
Gaspar said the main dialogues were improvised. What’s about the script? How was the part of improvisation and did you shot some scenes missing of the final cut?
The script consisted of an 8-page outline with a mission statement at the beginning talking about what the film aimed to achieve. Each scene was usually only a sentence describing what happens. After that, we would improvise everything. There were scenes we shot which didn't make it into the final movie. Gaspar would usually leave the camera rolling for around 45 minutes so he had a lot to work with. I found that he cut out most of the jokes I made! I wanted to be sweet and charming but ultimately it's his vision and that's why you want to work such an artist. He could have cut together a 5 hour movie if he had wanted... there is so much footage that the public will never see, things that didn't fit due to the framing, the tone, or perhaps they were just too extreme for the audience.
In France, LOVE has been seen twice by the CNC, upon request of the French Minister of Culture, Fleur Pellerin. Clearly, it was a will to push the CNC to censor LOVE with a NC17 rating, like a pure porn movie, that LOVE is not… What does it like to have been a "porn star" for a few days?
I'm curious if I am the first actor in a feature film with a world-wide theatrical release to have a 3D full-frontal... if so, I feel like Neal Armstrong.
I believe the NC-17 rating will still occur in The United States. The censors are a bit more conservative here so by your definition I will still be a 3D action star... Not many people have seen the movie here yet so people don't notice me. I am enjoying my privacy at the moment. The thought of the movie exciting people pleases me. Ultimately, I hope people like what the movie does to them. I hope they have the patience to truly experience the work. It's not a traditional movie and I think if one goes into the theater expecting the norm, they may be disappointed. It's better, like in life, to try and have fun and be open to the unexpected. Like, when you go into a museum with a friend and just wander not knowing what images you may see along the way.
You star in the next Nicolas Winding Refn’s – one of the best current directors and a friend of Gaspar. Can you tell us more about your role?
I play a wholesome aspiring photographer in Nic's movie. It is much different from Gaspar's movie. I don't want to reveal too much of the plot but I will tell you that my character is smitten with Elle Fanning's character.
With LOVE, The Neon Demon and two another movies, you're playing in four movies in 2015/2016. Why did you become an actor? Was it an old dream? What are your projects, now?
I became an actor because I wasn't stimulated in school. I never learned anything of importance in High School and I was just going through the motions at the start of college. It wasn't until my friend Benjamin Parslow suggested we take an acting class as an elective that I started to study it seriously. Soon after, I moved to New York City to study with one of the best teachers in the world, William Esper and briefly with Wynn Handman. My mother told me to do what made me happy and to do it while I was young, otherwise I would regret it for the rest of my life. She was right. You must follow your instincts and do the things you are passionate about while you're able to do them. Otherwise, you'll never know. A life that could have been: what a tragedy!
My next project is with Tom Ford.
I would also love to work with Kathryn Bigelow, Martin Scorsese and Michael Haneke one day... as well as work with Nicolas and Gaspar again! Although, I'm not sure about the latter... Gaspar doesn't seem to work with the same actor(s) again other than Philipe Nahon.
Thanks to Mr Karl Glusman
Questions by Frédéric Polizine & Alexis Veille