And Cannavale does not dispute Peyton Reed's account: 'I was really just taking the piss'
When EW recently spoke with director Peyton Reed, he was fulsome in his praise for Vinyl star Bobby Cannavale, who appeared in the filmmaker’s recent superhero blockbuster, Ant-Man.
“Cannavale is great because he’s got such an incredible range and we were asking him to play a much different character than he’s really used to playing,” says Reed. “I remember first seeing him in The Station Agent and just thinking, ‘Okay, this guy is a really good actor.’ He’s so incredibly prepared.”
Reed did, however, admit that Cannavale was given to asking questions — a lot of questions. “He was the king of asking a hundred thousand questions about his motivation for everything,” said the director. “It became a joke with us. It became a challenge because he would go, ‘So, really, I see the van from over here? There’s a sign between there, I don’t have a line of sight.’ It was like, ‘Well, the audience isn’t going to see that sign, I’m not filming the sign. They’re going to think you have a line of sight to the van.’ There were always like weird technical questions.”
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Does Cannavale care to dispute Reed’s account of events? He does not. In fact, if the actor’s own remembrance of shooting one particularly tricky scene is anything to go by, Reed seems to have underplayed the impish nature of Cannavale’s behavior.
“Like, I’m standing underneath this huge building, Pymtech or whatever it is,” says the actor. “I’m standing, strategically, underneath a huge American flag. And then this tank is supposed to come flying out of this building. Of course, it’s not really happening, it’s just bluescreen everywhere. Which begs the question, ‘Why are we here at four o’clock in the morning? Why don’t we shoot in the day and then you can make-believe it’s night with the bluescreen?’ So, that was one question. And then I said, ‘So, I’m standing here, and this tank comes flying out, wouldn’t the debris kill me?’ And, you know, it’s a massive stunt, and there’s ten cameras going, there’s two hundred extras, and I’m screaming ‘Wouldn’t I get hit by the debris?’ And you just hear, over the loudspeaker, ‘No, Cannavale! You’re not going to get hit by the debris! it’s a movie!’ I go, ‘Hold on, hold, hold on. I know it’s a movie, but maybe if I moved to the right a little …’ ‘Then, you won’t have the flag in the shot, Cannavale.’ ‘Oh, I see. So, it’s important the flag is in the shot?’ ‘Yes, Cannavale, it’s important! Are you ready? Can we roll?’ ‘All right, give me a minute.’ But I was really just taking the piss out of the whole thing.”
Vinyl debuts Sunday on HBO. See a trailer below.
A version of this story appeared in Entertainment Weekly issue #1402