IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Thomas Sadoski Talks 'Take Care,' 'Wild,' and the End of 'The Newsroom'

Monday, 08 December 2014 00:04 Written by  Jami Philbrick
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IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Thomas Sadoski Talks 'Take Care,' 'Wild,' and the End of 'The Newsroom'

Actor Thomas Sadoski is having an extremely busy December!

Sadoski is best known for playing Don Keefer on HBO’s acclaimed series The Newsroom, which will finish its third and final season on December 14th. But Sadoski also appears in two very different new films that both open on December 5th. The first of his two movies is called Take Care, which is a romantic comedy co-starring Leslie Bibb (No Good Deed, Iron Man). The second film is entitled Wild, which stars Academy Award-winner Reese Witherspoon (The Good Lie) and is already earning early Oscar buzz. 

Take Care follows the story of Frannie (Bibb), a woman recently hit by a car that comes home to realize her friends don't really want to take care of her. Desperate for help, she turns to her ex-boyfriend Devon (Sadoski), who she once helped recover from cancer. However, Devon’s current insecure girlfriend Jodi (Betty Gilpin) is not pleased with the new arrangement. The film was written and directed by Liz Tuccillo (He’s Just Not That Into You). 

Wild was directed by Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club), and written by Nick Hornby (An Education), based on the memoir by Cheryl Strayed. The film chronicles the true story of Strayed’s (Witherspoon) 1,100-mile solo hike across the Pacific Crest Trail, which was intended as a way for her to recover from the recent death of her mother (Laura Dern). Sadoski plays Strayed’s ex-boyfriend Paul, who is seen mostly in flashbacks. 

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Thomas Sadoski about his work on Take Care, Wild, and the end of The Newsroom. The talented actor discussed Take Care, appearing in his first romantic comedy, how he would handle the film’s plot in real life, why his character decides to help his ex, actress Betty Gilpin’s hilarious performance, co-star Leslie Bibb, if he also possesses his character’s hidden talent, Wild, watching the finished film, how it was shot, working with visionary director Jean-Marc Vallee, the ending of The Newsroom, and if he wishes they could make a forth season.

Here is what Thomas Sadoski had to say about Take Care, Wild, and the end of The Newsroom:

IAR: To begin with, Take Care marks your first time as a lead in a romantic comedy. Have you always wanted a chance to appear in this particular genre?

Thomas Sadoski: Yeah, I guess. If I was going to do it, I wanted it to be interesting to me. I did not want to do a romantic comedy for the sake of doing a romantic comedy. It would be boring, doing the same old romantic comedy picture. I wanted it to be a little bit different and a little bit subversive in all the ways it possibly could be. I think this totally checked all of those boxes for me. It is not like your typical sort of story. This is a caricature sort of story. These characters are dealing with some pretty intense stuff. I think you end up feeling for everybody in the movie by the end of it, which is pretty cool. It is an exciting thing to be a part of.

If the situation depicted in the movie happened to you in real life, do you think you would handle it the same way your character does?

Sadoski: Yeah, it really would depend on how the breakup went. It is impossible for me to say. I do not know. I would like to think that I would be able to do it, but who knows. That is what makes the story so interesting. I do not know if Devon even knows that this is not such a good idea.

Ultimately, why do you think Devon decided to help Frannie? Is it because he feels guilty for the breakup, or does he still have feelings for her? As an actor, what motivations for this behavior did you give your character?

Sadoski: The important thing for all of us when we were making the movie was to remember how intense the relationship was between the two of them and what they went through when Devon was sick. I think that when you take that into consideration a lot of it starts to make sense in regards to why he split up with her after it was over because he was scared. It was such a monumental event, and he was so totally overwhelmed that he did not want to think about it anymore. She was a persistent reminder of how vulnerable he was. With a great deal of guilt, he agreed to go along with it. It is just a cover for the fact that he still does have a lot of feelings for her. He does not really know how to process it and has not really learned how to process it. He has not gotten any sort of closure on the situation at all. When the opportunity presents itself, there is definitely something inside of him that is like, I absolutely have to do this because it is the only way I am going to be able to get closure one way or the other. Again, it is not like your typical romantic comedy rationale for doing anything. It just made the story a lot more interesting to me. He is actually trying to figure out some pretty serious stuff. They both are together at the same time. The fact that it is happening in some sort of quirky, charming and weird way just makes it fun. It is important for all of us to keep our eye on the fact that the stuff that they were dealing with is pretty serious and heavy.

I’ve never seen actress Betty Gilpin’s work before, but I thought she was absolutely hilarious in this film. What was your experience like working with her on this project?

Sadoski: Is she not brilliant? Betty has been a friend for a long time. We came up together in this same sort of off-Broadway theater mafia. I have known how brilliant Betty is for years. To see her stand out and shine the way that she does in this movie, for me as somebody who is a fan and friend of hers, it makes me so excited. She is fucking incredible. She is phenomenal. I do not know how many takes got wasted because she was constantly cracking me up. I was trying really hard to keep it together, and she just kept going on and being brilliant, amazing and hilarious. It was hard to keep a straight face when we were working, but I loved it. I am super proud of her and super stoked for people to see her in this because she is one of my favorite parts of the movie by far.

Can you also talk about working with your co-star Leslie Bibb?

Sadoski: Absolutely. Leslie is so charming and so dedicated. We had a blast. We really went through it together and it was tough. We went through a whole arc of a relationship together in the course of the twenty days we shot in a tiny apartment in New York. It was a really intense thing to go through. I had a blast working with her. I am very proud of her. I think that Leslie totally carries this movie in a really charming and endearing way. That character would be so unlikeable if Leslie was not as charming as she is. Each and every one of these characters is equally flawed, and simultaneously they are sort of equally endearing. Even though Betty is playing this crazy, full-freak girlfriend, you actually find yourself feeling for her. Even though Leslie’s character could potentially be somebody that you find incredibly annoying, you still find yourself really drawn into her and rooting for her. It’s the same with Michael Stahl-David’s role. Even though his character is sort of a dick, you really find yourself agreeing with him and rooting for him too. It is just a testament to great writing and great directing. 

In the film your character has a hidden talent, which is guessing celebrity voiceovers in commercials. I too possess that talent. I play that game with my girlfriend all the time and it totally annoys her that I’m always right. Are you good at guessing celebrity voiceovers in real life as well?

Sadoski: I am not great, but I am pretty good. My wife is better at it than I am, but it is because she is a casting director. I do not think it comes from talent. I think it comes from exposure. That is what I like to tell myself to make me feel better about the fact that she is better at it than me.

I really enjoyed your performance in Wild. The film unfolds in several different timelines and your character only appears in one of them. How did you feel when you finally saw the entire film cut together and got a sense of how your character’s story fits into the overall movie?

Sadoski: I was just excited to be a part of telling that story. I knew exactly what space my character occupied in terms of the story of Cheryl Strayed’s journey. As somebody who loved the experience of working on the movie, loves Cheryl, Reese (Witherspoon), Jean-Marc (Vallee) and Laura Dern, just to be able to sit back and be a part of that was amazing. Ultimately, what I wanted to do was play my part in supporting Reese on her journey of telling Cheryl’s story. I wanted to do it to the best of my ability and give her something she could carry with her as she went on to make that other chunk of movie. I worked really hard at doing that, and I hope I accomplished that. I guess that would be up to Reese and Jean-Marc to say. As a fan of everyone involved in this, I will just sit back and watch it all play out the way that it does. To see all the stuff they shot that I was not present for is really beautiful. I am a big fan of the movie.

Did they shoot all of your scenes before or after they shot the hiking part of the film?

Sadoski: If I remember correctly, they shot chunks of the trail sequences and then they came to Portland, where we shot all of the stuff that took place in the city. Then they went back out onto the trail. It was a break where they came and refueled, but then they went back out and shot the rest, if I remember correctly. I may be wrong about that. 

What was it like working with a visionary director such as Jean-Marc Vallee?

Sadoski: It was incredible. He is amazing. I love Jean-Marc so much from working with him. It was a great experience and hopefully not my last. I would love to work with him again.

Finally, I’m a big fan of The Newsroom. How does it feel to see the series coming to an end, and do you wish you could do another season?

Sadoski: It is very hard to say goodbye in some ways, and in some ways it is very upsetting that we had to wrap it up after three seasons. I am at the point now where I am like, it ran its course, but I am glad we are going out the way we are rather than being stuck in a position five years down the road where none of us are invested in it the same way anymore. I think it ended when it should have ended. I am happy that people are enjoying the final season. 

Take Care opens in theaters and VOD on December 5th. 

Wild opens in theaters on December 5th. 

To read our interview with Reese Witherspoon and director Jean-Marc Vallee about Wild, please click here

The Newsroom airs its series finale on HBO December 14th.

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