Jim Gaffigan Finds Drama In Movies Like Linoleum More Satisfying Than Comedy [Exclusive Interview]
What was it that drew you to this script?
Gosh, it’s been such a journey that, I mean, honestly, initially I was like, “Oh, this is a lead.” I think I was also fascinated by the challenge of portraying somebody who was enthusiastic on science. I’m not saying I find science boring, I find it confusing, so I was interested in that. But of course, the more I read the script, it was really what the story’s about and about the relationship and what the script, and eventually the film, turned out to be, and the questions they’re presenting. So I wanted that challenge.
There’s also the fact that I play two characters. That’s kind of like … I don’t know what to compare that to. That’s kind of like free lunch, you know what I mean? It’s like, for an actor, you get to play two characters, and then those two characters interact. That’s pretty fun. So the math behind figuring that out from a character standpoint, not the filming, that’s really fun stuff.
Speaking of which, how did you go about developing each of those characters in the movie? Did you have input to their look and the differences in their personality? Because I love that the glasses Cameron wears really helped set him apart from Kent, giving him a somewhat goofy demeanor, and then Kent has that very specific mustache for somebody who’s super uptight.
Yeah, there was an ongoing discussion. That’s also really what’s fun about indie films. Every project I’ve been on, when you’re developing a character, you talk about it with the director. But I do feel like there was a discussion of when we were going to shoot Kent’s stuff and how we were going to do it, and now we contribute. So we’re like, “Do we shoot all the Kent’s stuff at the beginning? Kent is an astronaut or a former astronaut, so I can’t have a beard, but we want him to be different from Cameron and he has this confidence.”
So when I was constructing, some of it you build it from the script. I saw Kent and Cameron as two different people, but they’re, in some ways, two different versions of me. We all encounter, often within the same hour, moments where we feel like Kent, where he can do nothing wrong and the world is his. And then moments where we feel like Cameron, where we are the victim of circumstances. And just vocally, I wanted Kent to maybe have a greater touch with the old school notion of masculinity versus Cameron.
It’s weird, because I have all these kids, and I see my sons as they grow up in different kind of situations, they will lower their voice to sound different. They’re not aware of it, and it’s not consistent, but it’s just an interesting glimpse of that, and I wanted Cameron to just have a lower register.
Yeah, that makes sense.