aAmerican actor Richard Jenkins, 74, has been on screen regularly since the 1970s, but his big breakthrough came in 2001 when he played deceased funeral director Nathaniel Fisher on the TV series. under six feet. He went on to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in it visitor (2007) and won an Emmy in 2015 for his role in the drama series Kittridge olives. Jenkins has worked with directors including Woody Allen, Kathryn Bigelow, Al Queens and Mike Nichols, and can be seen next month in Guillermo del Toro. nightmare alley. His latest project is playwright Stephen Karam’s movie about a one-act play Humans Set in a newly rented, unfurnished apartment in New York’s Chinatown, Jenkins plays a man contemplating the state of his life on a family Thanksgiving feast.
You live in Providence, Rhode Island, where you’ve worked a lot in theater, the correct?
I’m from Illinois, but I’ve been here for 50 years. I was a member of the acting company here for 14 seasons, after which I ran it for four seasons. my wife [Sharon R Friedrick] He’s a choreographer, and we’re still directing and designing a few things there. We rethink musicals, like Oliver! And Oklahoma! We love working together. When I go out on my own, it’s all in your head, but when you do it with someone else, you talk about it for months before you even start rehearsing. It’s really cool.
Did your wife make you dance?
This is where we met, we danced in college. We used to do the Garden of Eden ballet in can can – I was the Snake and she was Eve.
Humans Very disturbing, with an incredibly claustrophobic maze to set.
I think the world is getting close to my character, Eric. There is a fear of losing his family – the only thing he can count on in his whole life, the only thing that sustains him. because of what he did [in his past], can lose it all. It’s more terrifying than any supernatural being, ghost or horror movie.
You are part of an extraordinary cast: Amy Schumer, Benny Feldstein, Stephen Yeon And an unfamiliar name to moviegoers, Jane Hoodichell.
It’s unbelievable, isn’t it? I did a play Humans 600 times but she accepted us as her family right away. Being in that apartment for a month, you became either friends or enemies; We became a group of six very close friends.
What makes Thanksgiving come Cross in movies as the most painful experience possible?
Well, it forces you to be there with each other. Some people refuse to go. I’ve been lucky, and always look forward to them. No gifts, just go and sometimes you see someone you haven’t seen in a while. It’s brutal that relationships are weird and there are differences. You all go your separate ways and say, “Oh my God – but next year we’ll be back and trying to do it again.” In that sense, it’s optimistic for me.
in a nightmare alley You play a man named Ezra Grendel. He’s very rich, dangerous, haunted by the past – and he has a fearsome beard.
indeed, who – which had a beard. That was me – it wasn’t the hair, but the beard was. It was longer because of covid, because we stopped shooting. I had another scene to do and they pulled the plug in March. I came back nine months later, so I had to trim the beard, it was way too long.
This is your second film with Guillermo del Toro after 2017 water shape.
It is forever awesome. I remember when I walked in water shape, in my character’s apartment, for the first time. Sally [Hawkins]She was by my side, her costumes were blue and green, everything was natural in her, paints, books, televisions, but nothing real – it was a piece of art. I thought, “Is this what it was like to work with the great masters of the forties?”
I heard Michael Caine was one of your influences when you started…
Movies sometimes come when you need them. I wasn’t sure about acting, if I had any talent, I didn’t know. I was in college at the time and I saw two thousand. I was surprised. I thought: “Yeah, I want to be an actor, that’s what I am.” Michael Caine came over when I needed and said, “Go ahead.” I’ve never met him but I think he’s amazing.
People must have already started to recognize you as the Undertaker in under six feet.
Once I was at a real funeral, and someone tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Are they filming this?” I met a woman at an airport and she was crying. She said: Why did you stop this series? Why is this over? “People were excited about it.
After this show, you must have been offered a lot of roles as estranged parents.
Even though I’ve played the father many times, he is not the same father. My dad was a real concern, and my mom didn’t worry about anything. I myself am a bit melancholy. when i read HumansI thought I just wanted to play Eric, I understand this guy.
And then we’ll see you in a TV series as the father of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.
It’s Ryan Murphy’s project for Netflix. Ryan used to be a journalist and it’s really thorough: an investigation of not just Dahmer, but the damage he’s caused, to the victims and their families – and his parents. It was emotionally difficult. The question for me was: If Jeffrey Dahmer was your son, would you stop loving him? And the answer is no, you just don’t.
How was 2021 for you?
It was…interesting. Like everyone else, I feel like I’m still wrapped in a big ball that I can’t get out of – but it was good, I got to spend my time with my family and that’s always great.
What about your hopes for 2022?
I made it to 2023! One of the things I love about what I do is that you don’t know what’s around the corner. It could be nothing, it could be pain and agony – or it could be something really wonderful. I hope we can get out of this pandemic. I worry about the arts. How about this: I hope it’s better.
Humans Released December 31