What drew you to the film?
I was eager to work with Tom [Ford] again [Ford directed D’Amore in A Single Man in 2009]. He’s such a talented individual and I’ve learned so much from him. The script was phenomenal, its a very visual film, even in written form, which I personally love as an actor. I was drawn to just how despicable this character is - he’s terrifying. In sort of the same way you’re attracted to stories about serial killers, why people like Bundy and Gacy are so fascinating, why Jack the Ripper walking tours are so popular. I knew it was going to be a challenge, but I fell in love with the idea of getting into this person’s brain. A very morbid curiosity, I guess.
What did you do to prepare for the role?
I tried to immerse myself in as much of the character as I could - my wife and kids were actually in Atlanta at the time, and I was filming in Texas, so it worked, I think, to my benefit that I could properly isolate myself and just delve into the mindset of this deranged, upsetting guy. It started off very academic: I studied serial killers, watched a lot of documentaries, read interviews and transcripts, that sort of thing. I studied serial killers, watched a lot of documentaries and interviews, that sort of thing. There was quite a bit I did physially to bring Ray [Marcus, D'Amore's character] to life once Tom and I had begun to craft him.
How did you transform into the character?
Tom and I spoke a few months before filming and made some decisions about what the character would look like, what I would have to do, physically, to play this part. I started making the shift mentally around that time, too, like the little changes in the way I smoked, what I ate, how I smelled - gradually becoming second nature. I got into his accent and his vocabulary early on as well. I started hearing his voice in the way I spoke and thought. I genuinely think that extra time made the difference, and it was a huge advantage in letting Ray take on a life of his own.
Were you apprehensive about taking the role as a new father?
Yeah, I think I was a bit. I had to sort of pause during the construction process and think, oh god, what am I doing!?. My wife is an actor as well so she understood why I’d taken it on and was just a saint while this guy was dwelling in me. While I was filming I hated being away from my family, but it was a bit of a blessing in disguise. I mean, Ray’s just an awful, terrible person, so I’m grateful for the experience to unleash him in Texas, far away from home. He's not the type of person you want sitting at the kitchen table with your kids.
How did you lose the character when you finished?
Well, it's a bit intimate and I'm not sure I "lose" anyone. You're bringing someone to life, you're sharing your body and mind with another - fictional, historic, it doesn't matter. You live with them for whatever amount of time you've dedicated to them, they can be difficult to shake. I've always thought it was similar to someone coming in and out of your life and regardless of how long they've stayed, they change you in some big or microscopic way. I can't bring this sort of fellow home with me, though, so I did a bit of detox once I had the go-ahead from Tom, found someplace peaceful to realign, to refocus.
nicolas d'amore - la women's march. 01/21/17