Peter Sarsgaard on how he selects projects: It depends on whats going on with me at the time. I pick different roles for different reasons, just like any job. Sometimes I decide to be in a movie because I think the movie is going to be a socially important movie. Shattered Glass, I think, was that way for me. Regardless of what you think of Shattered Glass, I think the message is still relevant. One of the most fundamental parts of a democracy that we keep forgetting about is the media, because without information you cant decide how to vote. And if you aint got the facts, then how do you know whether to vote for this guy or that guy? Then the whole thing falls apart. Thats why I did that movie, because that story, which on the surface is about this guy who makes up articles, is really about that idea. And thats an idea I feel very strongly about.
Sometimes I just go, in a more whimsical way, Oh, this might be fun. Or sometimes I go, I want to work with this person, or this persons in it or this person wrote it. All different reasons.
Peter Sarsgaard on why he isnt in more comedies: I did Garden State. Im pretty funny in The Dying Gaul I have coming up. Theres a little comedy in there. Its not just me; its them - Hollywood. Its them, the big them. If you do enough movies Ive done 25 movies now and a lot of them have not been comedies at a certain point its just a process of natural selection.
Also, I can make a drama better if its not perfectly written. I know how to do that, to make it better. A comedy a lot of comedies revolve around a premise. Hes in her body, shes in his body. If that premise is just f***ed from the beginning, theres no amount of salvage in saving it. If no ones written the jokes, Im not going to particularly come up with them, you know what I mean?
So how can he save a drama? Sarsgaard said, Oh, by just making it make sense. I go, Nobody would do that after that happened. Are you kidding me? No. And then we figure out what might happen. I feel like my job most of the time is just to go, Wouldnt happen. How would that happen? Ok, if you want that to happen, then youll have to put this in to make that happen.
Sarsgaard on applying that process to The Skeleton Key: Its a process of working together on that type of thing. We certainly had debates about different things. A lot of times you lock horns with a director not in an argumentative way, but in a way thats like a Sophoclean dialectic, man. They got their point of view and you got yours, and the third idea is the one thats the good one. And that happens. It happened on Skeleton Key; it happens on a lot of movies.
You see Vince Vaughn get into a movie sometimes where on the page you would be like, No way is that thing going to make it. And Ive read some of them and been like, No way. That cant possibly work. And I really admire an actor like that that can turn a comedy around. (Laughing) I feel like for me I need to have it happening early.
Peter Sarsgaard on his upcoming film, Flightplan: With that one, it would be very difficult for me to explain it or give it away, because theres no single thing in it that is the giveaway. Its a movie that constantly changes. I would have to sit down with you for like half an hour to explain whats happening.
I play an Air Marshall and Jodie Foster thinks she got onto the plane with her daughter. Her husband has just died. She takes two Klonopin, falls asleep. Wakes up, her daughters gone. She really believes she had her daughter on the plane. And I play the Air Marshall who is trying to determine whether or not shes a woman who is going nuts on an airplane because her husband just died, or if she really did have a daughter on the plane. So its like another little bit of an investigator part.