Seven Psychopaths’ Sam Rockwell on adding another oddball to his CV and hanging with “uncle Chris”
Your character, Billy, is a complicated guy in a complicated film. When did you first hear about it?
Basically [Martin McDonagh] sent the script to me years ago. I took a glance at it, because I didn’t know what part he wanted me for. I didn’t know whether it had life or not. It was just something that might happen in the future – and I was right. I think this was before In Bruges. Then he told me the part he wanted me to play and I flipped out.
There’s a dark humour that both Martin and Colin Farrell seem to share. Are you the same?
Oh yes, absolutely. I definitely lean toward the darker stuff. I don’t know if it’s my background, being a child actor. It’s the same with Chris Walken, he was a child actor and it makes you a little strange, maybe. A little jaded.
In the past, you’ve been called a younger Christopher Walken. Can you see the similarity?
We’re different, but I would love to be compared to him. That’s a huge compliment. There was this thing Colin and I had, which was this sort of hero worship of Chris. But at the same time, he’s just this guy, like an uncle or something. He’s just someone who likes to tell dirty jokes and be stupid…It seems to always be the way, whether it’s Judi Dench and Daniel Craig, Chris Walken and Colin Farrell, Kenneth Branagh and Alan Rickman – the most sophisticated, really highbrow actors, and at the end of the day it’s just fart jokes.
The idea of Judi Dench telling fart jokes is amazing.
Oh, I hear she’s the worst for them. And when I say worst, I mean best.
Your fans seem to be particularly ardent. What type of people are they?
I have a particular group, I guess. They tend to be people who are film-savvy. Usually in their thirties or forties. One of my friends is [actor] Justin Long, and he’s 10 years younger than me, and when we walk around together he gets recognised by very young people. I get people in their thirties. But I like ’em.
There’s a dog-stealing money-making scheme in this film. What’s the oddest thing you’ve done for cash?
I was an intern for a private detective. The most exciting thing was trailing someone having an affair – I was driving while someone videoed them outside a motel. It was very sleazy and I only got paid 50 bucks to drive.
How did you get into that?
A fellow student in my acting class was into it. He met the private detective because they both played the bagpipes. Life is strange.
Seven Psychopaths is at cinemas nationwide from 5 December
(Image: Rex Features)