Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken, the veteran character actors who play the most colourful roles in Martin McDonagh's new dark comedy, Seven Psychopaths, have spent the whole day in a Toronto hotel during TIFF performing a double act for the press, bouncing off each other.
Rockwell poked Walken about the ascot he wears throughout the movie; Walken mocked Rockwell for not having seen the film yet. They'd watch it that night, when it made its premiere in the Midnight Madness series, but at the time they were just a couple of guys sitting around picking at a cheese plate.
You guys seem awfully comfortable with each other, both in the movie and right here.
Sam Rockwell: Well, we'd worked together before. We did one of Martin's plays [A Behanding In Spokane] on Broadway. We knew each other very well, actually - and I think that informs the relationship.
Did he base the characters on your own personalities?
Rockwell: Maybe some of it.
Christopher Walken: He never talked about that. But writers, you know, use what stuff is around.
Many of your scenes have a loose, conversational feel. Did McDonagh encourage improvisation on the set?
Walken: The movie's very much off the script.
Rockwell: It's a pretty specific structure. There's a little varnishing, but not much. He knew what he wanted, you know?
Walken: Yeah. No, there's not a lot of stuff from us.
Rockwell: He let us go a little bit, me and Chris, I think, because we're the weirdest characters. Our characters are a little more rebellious, too. Rebellious characters probably get more ad libs. When I did The Green Mile, Frank Darabont let me ad lib a lot more than the other actors, and I think that's because my character was an anarchist and he wanted that anarchy in the character.
Chris, the ascot your character wears is something of a plot point; are you the kind of actor who puts a lot of input into wardrobe choices?
Walken: Nah [smiling]. You just have to know what looks good.