IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Justin Kirk Talks 'Last Love' and 'Justice League: War'

Friday, 01 November 2013 13:54 Written by  Jami Philbrick
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IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Justin Kirk Talks 'Last Love' and 'Justice League: War'

Actor Justin Kirk has just reached two career milestones!

First, he plays Sir Michael Caine’s son in the brilliant new drama Last Love, which opens in theaters on November 1st. Secondly, he will voice the iconic super hero Green Lantern in the upcoming DC Universe Animated Original Movie Justice League: War, which recently debuted its trailer and will be available on Blu-ray and DVD beginning February 4th, 2014. 

Kirk is best known for his television roles on HBO’s award-winning mini-series Angels in America, Showtime’s popular series Weeds, and NBC’s short-lived Animal Practice. In addition to extensive theater work, he has also appeared in several successful independent films such as Elektra Luxx, Goats, and Nobody Walks

Last Love is based on the French novel La Douceur Assassine by author Francoise Dorner and was written and directed by Sandra Nettelbeck (Mostly Martha). The film takes a look at the life-changing connection between a retired and widowed American (Caine) philosophy professor named Matthew, and a young French woman (Clemence Poesy) living in Paris as a dance instructor named Pauline. When Matthew makes a tragic choice, his adult children Miles (Kirk) and Karen (Gillian Anderson) are forced to travel to Paris to confront their estranged father. 

Justice League: War is based on the graphic novel Justice League, Vol. 1: Origin by author Geoff Johns and artist Jim Lee. The film tells the story of how the world’s greatest heroes formed the Justice League in order to stop an alien invasion by the evil Darkseid (Steve Blum). In addition to Kirk as Green Lantern, the movie also features the voice talents of Alan Tudyk (I, Robot) as Superman, Michelle Monaghan (Machine Gun Preacher) as Wonder Woman, Jason O’Mara (One for the Money) as Batman, Christopher Gorham (TV’s Covert Affairs) as The Flash, Shemar Moore (TV’s Criminal Minds) as Cyborg, and Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) as Shazam. 

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Justin Kirk about his work on Last Love, as well as Justice League: War. The talented actor discussed his latest movie, having the opportunity to work with Sir Michael Caine, Caine’s acting process, not doing an impression of him, their characters complicated relationship, filming in Paris, the rest of the cast, collaborating with director Sandra Nettelbeck, Justice League: War, playing Green Lantern, the graphic novel the film is based on, and why Aquaman has been replaced by Shazam. 

Here is what Justin Kirk had to say about Last Love and Justice League: War

IAR: To begin with, I really enjoyed Last Love. Congratulations. 

Justin Kirk: Oh I’m so glad. I like it a lot too. It’s lonely and invocative, and I go for that shit. 

You must have been thrilled to have an opportunity to work with Sir Michael Caine. As an actor, what was that experience like for you?

Kirk: Well, obviously that was the first hook when the offer came. It’s hard to turn that one down and play a bunch of father and son angst with him. It was just great. It was everything you would hope it would be. There were lots of drinks in the hotel bar and great stories about Hollywood over the years. It was just the stuff that you would hope for when you sign on to that job. 

What’s his process like as an actor? Do you talk a lot about the characters and their motivations, or do you just walk on to set and do the scenes?

Kirk: No he’s pretty straight-ahead and old school. He’s in the whole damn movie in most of the scenes so he’s pretty much working crew hours. He’s just great. But there wasn’t much to talk about. It’s pretty straight-forward stuff that we were doing in terms of our relationship so you just get there and say the words for the first time and see what goes from there, and enjoy the fact that you are looking at Michael Caine and saying lines. 

He has such a distinctive voice. Did you any of that rub off on you? Did you ever find yourself talking like Michael Caine off set?

Kirk: No, I did not find myself doing any Steve Coogan type impressions of him. But maybe I did. It’s funny because I just watched the movie and was thinking that I really looked like I could be part of his family. So I think that works well. 

Can you talk about the relationship between Michael Caine’s character, Matthew, and your character, Miles? Like you said, there is a lot of “father and son angst” going on there. 

Kirk: I think there is a history that we see there the second that Miles walks through the door. He had to drag his ass all the way to Paris because his father who he already has issues with harms himself. One thing that really struck me as I was watching the movie was when Michael’s character sits down with Pauline and says that he never wanted to be a father. He was always told that he would grow into it and he never did. He did it because the woman he loved wanted children. So I think the standard narrative is that all parenthood is wonderful but sometimes it’s not that simple. 

Was filming in Paris another perk for you as far as making this movie?

Kirk: You would think. Most people think that was the greatest thing ever but I had to prepare. I get scared to go to far away from home sometimes. I’m getting better at it but it turned out to be great. I had been there one other time for four days and spent the entire time in my hotel room being ill for no good reason. So this time was about a month, and I had plenty of time to explore the city and find adventure so I did that.

Clemence Poesy is excellent in the film. Can you talk about working with her?

Kirk: She is phenomenal. What’s not to love, it’s all there in the movie. It’s not hard to fall in love with her and play that part. She was just delightful. 

You also have some great comedic scenes with Gillian Anderson. Were those fun for you to do?

Kirk: Yeah, we got to do some of the lighter moments in the movie. She would usually come in for a day at a time and then a week later show up from wherever around the world she was. We had a blast together. 

Director Sandra Nettelbeck adapted the novel the film is based on and wrote the screenplay. Is it comforting for you as an actor when you are working with a filmmaker who also wrote the script and you know that she really understands the material you are working with?

Kirk: You know that is a good question and I’m not sure if one is better than the other. But I was a big fan of her first movie Mostly Martha and she is just a very warm presence to be around and directed by. She was great. 

Finally, I’m a huge Justice League fan and I know that you are going to voice Green Lantern in the new animated film Justice League: WarThe trailer was just released this week and it looks amazing. What was it like for to you play Green Lantern in Justice League: War?

Kirk: I’m the fucking Green Lantern. It’s crazy. Well, I mean I have a ring. They gave me a ring. Unfortunately I have not figured out yet how to use the powers of the ring. But they were nice enough to give me a small plastic ring. The thing that is so fun about being an actor is that you get a call to do something that you never would imagine being a part of. I never would have imagined going to Paris and playing Michael Caine’s son, and certainly never have imagined in cartoon form or not playing the Green Lantern. I went for three days to record and months later they had me back. It was new to me. I really haven’t done that kind of think before. So the first time you go through the script and say all your lines and then when you come back months later they’ve made a cartoon around it. So suddenly there you are as the Green Lantern and its been created around the way you talked the first time. It was a really cool experience. You are not alone in your excitement. I can’t tell you how many calls I’ve gotten from friends saying, “Oh my God, you’re the Green Lantern!” But I have not seen the film in its entirety but I’m excited to see it. 

Did you have a chance to read the graphic novel that the film is based on?

Kirk: I did not. They had some things for us to look at but I was not overly well versed in that. 

In the comic book the team is comprised of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Cyborg, and Aquaman, but in the film Aquaman has been replaced with Shazam. Did any of the filmmakers tell you why they chose to do that?

Kirk: You know, that did not come up. My fear is that the extensive world of fanboys will have issues with certain stuff, but I will have to leave it up to the people that created it and have faith that they know what they are doing. 

Last Love opens in theaters on November 1st. 

Justice League: War will be released on Blu-ray and DVD beginning February 4th, 2014. 

To read our exclusive interview with Shemar Moore about playing Cyborg in Justice League: War, please click here

To watch the new trailer for Justice League: War, please click on the video player below. 

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