Exclusive Ezra Buzzington Interview
Tell me Ezra about working with Fincher the second time around. Did it prepare you for the long hours?
I was up for four different roles in Zodiac. I was told it was because both the casting director (Laray Mayfield) and David really wanted me in the movie but couldn't find the right place for me. So nice to be wanted. Especially by those pros. I knew it would be a long shoot. It always is. David's very, very particular about what he shoots. And he's even more particular in the cutting of it. This is his way of working and those who know him know that and move on. And this isn't to say that he wastes time. Just the opposite. He just won't settle for less than what he wants. I'm sure that can be frustrating for some, but not for me. As a director I know what it's like to need something very specific for a scene. I'm all for it. And, if you know this going in, you prepare. I took with me no less than 4 magazines, 3 DVDs, 6 CDs and a book. Beats working.
How did the opportunity arise to work with Fincher again?
Well, like I said, they had me in several times for different characters. Finally the right one came along. Chihuahua guy.
What can you tell us about Zodiac the film and your role in it?
It's a psychological thriller about more than just Zodiac. It follows several people who's lives were inextricably changed by the madness that ran rampant through the San Francisco area during that period. It zeroes in on two reporters covering the case and how they're lives are altered by what becomes an obsession to them. My guy believes that Zodiac is someone he knows and that he's about to be killed. Kind of a nut witness.
Have you read the whole script? Your thoughts?
It's brilliant. It's constructed kind of like a big puzzle with blind alleys and false clues. All to drive the main players. Can't wait to see the finished product.
Favourite director to work with?
Hmmm. Well, David's certainly up there. And Terry Zwigoff is a brilliant madman. But that award would probably have to go to Paul Thomas Anderson. He let's actors go crazy with lines and characters. It's clear he loves actors and tries to understand what motivates them. I've been told he's had a few bad experiences with some smaller players though and that's why he tends to only work with people he knows. I'd do anything to work with him again. Paul, you reading this? (I DOUBT IT EZRA! :P)
Best film experience?
That would have to be "The Hills Have Eyes". How many times do you get to shoot in Ouarzazate, Morocco? The people are so kind and giving, the atmosphere is unbelieveably beautiful and they treat you like a fucking king. Reflecting pools at a 5 star hotel, food eaten erotically and music you've never heard. Just can't be beat.
Your also appearing in Christopher Nolan's - The Prestige - what can you tell us about that?
I can tell you that Hugh Jackman is one of the finest gents I've ever had the pleasure of meeting but I dropped him like a hot potatoe when Andy Serkis came along. I'm a physical actor and to have the opportunity to pick Andy's brain about playing both Kong and Gollum was once in a lifetime. Chris Nolan ran a frolicking set. People were polite, professional and quick to their jobs. There were hundreds of extras when we shot and I noticed that each one was treated with dignity and respect they deserve. That doesn't always happen and it's good to see. But sitting in my onset chair next to Hugh and Andy when Chris comes up and calls us to set... I mean, come on. That's shittin' in high cotton, bubba.
What do you enjoy more - a small role in a feature film or a big role in an independent film?
I assume you mean a small role in a BIG STUDIO feature film or a big role in a small indie film? If that's right then it's definitely a big role in a smaller film. You get to spend much more time around the crew family and that's heaven to me. Coming in for one or two days on a small or a large shoot is very, very difficult. You come in, you do it, you don't get to know anybody and you leave. Sucks. But a lower number on the call sheet (1, 2, 3, etc.) guarantees you're going to be around awhile getting to know everybody.
Do people recognise you in the street? What part are you recognised for the most?
Rarely. But it happens. People stare at me a lot and they don't know how they know me. I tend to be invisible in my characters. I'm described as chameleonic. Which I dig. The best time I was recognized though was at Sundance a few years ago. I had just dropped a friend of mine off at the CAA party and I was feeling down because I didn't have a big enough name (or big enough tits) to crash it. I'm bitching to myself all the way up Main street, kind of getting down on myself and I stop in for a coffee. The young girl behind the counter said "Hey, I know you. You're that really weird guy from 'Me, Myself & Irene'!". And she called all her friends over and had them take a picture and, well, you can see where this is going. It felt great to be validated that way just when I was feeling so shitty. When people figure out that I was Weird Al in "Ghost World" though, they tend to get pretty excited.
Craziest thing you've done on a set?
As a character or as me? As a character I guess it would be a toss-up between being bare-assed naked in front of John Malkovitch and dozens of Teamsters shooting "Art School Confidential" and diving face first into a 4 layer wedding cake on "The Huntress". As an actor it woudl be crouching on a downtown LA street corner screaming at the top of my lungs as a crazy bag person while people are walking by oblivious to the fact that I'm acting for a hidden camera. But one of the things I like most about acting is it gives you the chance to do things you'd never allow yourself to do in real life.
You've had a varied career and been involved in some great projects. What tips could you give to someone who'd like to follow your path?
Fucking do it. Don't listen to anything people tell you about NOT doing this or NOT doing that. If it's something you want to do, fucking do it. The only rule in this town is there are no rules. Follow your heart, your instincts, your gut and be nice to absolutely everybody. Even the assholes. You don't have to trust them, but it won't serve you to tell them off till you're in a position to tell them off. Remember who the dipshits are so you won't work with them again and always, always, always take the meeting. Even if it's something you're not interested in. You might be surprised.
What project have you got lined up at the moment?
I just booked an incredibly cool indie flick called "Miracle Desert". I'm a creepy, know it all Deputy who tangles with a couple of incompetent contract killers. It's darkly funny and really bloody. So that should be cool. I'm hoping to shoot a major studio Vampire film coming up but still waiting to hear. The director wants me but the studio would have to sign off. We'll see. I'm just in the process of submitting my feature directorial debut to festivals. It's a fockumentary that follows the incredible rise and unavoidable fall of a middle-aged boy band. It's called "Outta Sync" - www.outtasynctheband.com . I've also signed with a personal appearances manager who's booking me into horror conventions. Those are a fucking blast! I did one in England and if that one is any indication, baby, what happens at horror conventions stays at horror conventions. So people should check out my calendar on MySpace to keep abreast of those dates. www.myspace.com/buzzington