Ben Foster Interview

Playing a cool bad guy, working with Russell Crowe and more

The cast of Lionsgate's new Western, 3:10 to Yuma, were in Los Angeles last week at the movie's press junket.

Russell Crowe, Christian Bale and Ben Foster attended and you can CLICK HERE to read the interviews with Russell Crowe and Christian Bale from this movie.

The film is a remake of the 1957 original which starred Glenn Ford, based in Arizona in the late 1800's, where infamous outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) and his vicious gang of thieves and murderers have plagued the Southern Railroad. When Wade is captured, Civil War veteran Dan Evans (Christian Bale), struggling to survive on his drought-plagued ranch, volunteers to deliver him alive to the '3:10 to Yuma', a train that will take the killer to trial. On the trail, Evans and Wade, each from very different worlds, begin to earn each other's respect. But with Wade's outfit on their trail - and dangers at every turn - the mission soon becomes a violent, impossible journey toward each man's destiny.

In the film, Ben Foster plays the outlaw Charlie Prince, the right-hand-man to Russell Crowe's character, Ben Wade.

We sat down for an exclusive interview with Ben Foster and spoke about the film, working with Russell Crowe and would the actor return for an another X-Men movie:

With the project itself, was this something that you scoped out or did agent say "Hey Man, this would be good for you"?

Ben Foster: Yeah, the agent got passed along the regular route and said who is involved and I went in and read. I was in a terrible mood when I auditioned, the worst, I had just gotten off a plane from New Zealand and was just jetlagged and starving and got home and ... I got lost on the way to the meeting and I couldn't find parking so I was an hour late so I called up my rep and said "look I not going fucking in, I need sleep for like three days and I need some barbeque and I need to fuck my girlfriend and that's all I can do" and he hung up on me. So they wanted me.

So he didn't understand that aspect, huh?

Ben Foster: I was hungry, horny... can't get to the job.

So Russell and Christian and Peter they were all cast before you came in?

Ben Foster: Christian and Russell and (Director) Jim (Mangold) were set ... and who doesn't want to play with...

No doubt

Ben Foster: I was just afraid of blowing the meeting.

When you went in, did you have a different persona in the read as opposed to what you had in the movie itself?

Ben Foster: No I was just further developed ... it was once you understand that headspace, then it's just division.

WARNING: Spoiler Alert!

I would say out of all characters, yours was the most fascinating shall we say, I didn't quite get exactly who you are, where you came from, why you were there, what motivated you, but the attitude that you brought in, was kind of like a compelling thing to watch while I watched the film ... but it was like waiting for your character, it was kind of like, what the hell are you going to do next? You had this persona about it which was kind of interesting. One thing which was ... certain aspects of the film I didn't quite get like at the end, it's like here you are and you've been with Russell's Crowe's character for all these years and then he guns you all down and it didn't make sense, but there were basically two aspects. And I'm not exactly asking you "hey, did you write the script and what exactly it was" and what exactly was always interesting is when your character first came up with Peter Fonda I didn't quite get, it sounded like there might be some kind of gay aspect to it, because there was a 'prince' and 'princess' (mentioned) and this guy calling you a whore ... and this is like OK, a little side of you had a kind of like a soft-spoken type of thing and then it wasn't expanded, so maybe I read into it a little bit, not really in the right way, but was there something like that? ... some aspect?

...End Spoiler

Ben Foster: I think there is utter devotion and that's the root. How it expressed itself when the camera wasn't on, is up to the viewer. I think that is one of the strong parts about of the film is that it doesn't tell you everything.

Did they give you any kind of background of your character going in, other than "Hey, you're kind of the right hand man of Russell Crowe's character?

Ben Foster: When I spoke to Jim, we went through archival photographs of outlaws and it struck me as if they were rock stars and not so much as androgynous but there is an inherent sexuality in behavior as however that manifests, I think is integral to Charlie Prince. Even death can be a sexual act; it can be a penetration if you wanted to get really pretentious about it.

When you were reading for the role, was your perception of how the film was going to turn out, did it manifest itself that way or was it like you read it and then while you're shooting it after go "shit man, this is like totally different from what I thought that I had read in the script".

Ben Foster: I thought it was more intelligent and easier to experience as the actions are all on the page and who's going where and what's happening when is very complex on the page, but I was surprised at how accessible and what a fun ride it was and was surprised how it was actually, it had so much humor in it.

So you had freedom basically to portray your character as you wanted to or was there direction in there of your persona? ... and I'm just bringing that up because the way your single character kind of stood out as far as a fun character to watch.

Ben Foster: Jim and I were on same page where we were going and he such an incredible actor's director. He really likes to play and explore different possibilities which is a gift to be on the other end of the camera. Once that jacket was on, I think we knew were going a very specific direction and we had a fantastic designer Ariane Phillips and she did "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" ... she has a real rock and roll sensibility and exploring those corners was ... Jim's very supportive to keep going further.

Seemed as if what Russell was saying is that the elevation of where you shot in New Mexico or something is like 7,000 ft. above sea level, so there is this perception going in of like "Wow, we are in the desert and it's going to be hot and the shoot is going to be hot and it turned out to be fucking cold man"

Ben Foster: And everybody bitched about the cold ... I don't know, it's part of the gig and these guys did this for real; they didn't go to a hotel at the end of the day, so it certainly helped me. I mean it's easier to put a bullet in Peter Fonda's gut when you're fucking freezing.

Well, you know you were all dressed up so it didn't seem as if it was too cold

Ben Foster: I was the jackass who thought "You know the way I need to handle these gloves is with fingerless gloves".

You "live and learn". As far as it goes with your X-Men character, is there anything on the horizon for a reprisal of that?

Ben Foster: I'm the last person who know; the way they operate is to hand a script and then you are shooting in a month, but my feeling is that they are not going to do another X-Men, but they're going to do side projects like Wolverine and Magneto. It's impractical how much the cast requires, I mean there so many huge movie stars in it and that they have to pay an enormous amount of money, the cast is so massive, it is so hard to make your money back.

It's an embarrassment: I did not see the film, just saw the small snippets of the trailer and such. Did your character survive, is it possible to bring back your character?

Ben Foster: He's not dead. They have a great script and director who has an interesting take on it. It would be fun to put the wings back on, but at this point I've heard nothing about it.

Any other major projects that you are doing? You are doing the "30 Days of Night" and do you have a major role in that film?

Ben Foster: Not a major role, it is more like a cameo that extended longer shooting out there, so some leprous creature; it's a high level of play. And then something called Laws of Motion coming out. It would probably be at the festivals this year and next year. It should be going to Belfast soon to shoot a film about the IRA and the troubles ... that should be exciting.

And with that, obviously you have to put on an accent for that...

Ben Foster: A Belfast accent, yes.

How hard is it to kind of transform yourself into these aspects ... it interesting to see Russell and Christian and I mean, I have never heard Christian in his native tongue and it's like "Oh wow, it's not American". Have you had roles where you have done this foreign tongue and kind of kept it the entire film?

It's always like, I liking it to, tracking mud in after being out in the swamp. When you're filming, you are experiencing through this person and you can take part of it home with you.

Anything else that you want to originate which is on your mind?

Ben Foster: I don't know what is on my mind ... I like this movie and it's pretty painless to talk about. I've been pissed off at a lot of the interviews where they are like "So, is Russell a jerk? ... and he is the farthest from that, he is incredible to the crew, and myself in particular, he took a great amount of time and care and making sure that I felt safe and good and strong on a horse and he is really a generous guy ... he doesn't like a lot of bullshit. So that's fine.

It is interesting how a single experience or two incidences can kind of brand of person for the rest of their lives it is this really lame...

Ben Foster: It is retarded ... the things I've done and because I'm not a movie star, Good Lord, the things we have all done.

It's the ole skeletons there. I mean is kind of lame, someone like Brittany or Lindsey, whatever ... they are going to be branded for this when they are 50 or 60 years old when they are passed who they are, it is just fucked sometimes how the media goes out for the sake of ratings and negativity and bullshit aspect, perpetuates these things

Ben Foster: For the sake of negativity, there's such a hunger for watching people fail.

It is the train wreck aspect, which it's kind of like people live and learn and move on, but people still want to keep them in that "you are a loser" type of mentality and...

Ben Foster: High-school on crack.

After this Belfast movie, what comes up after that?

Ben Foster: Vacation.

Vacation for a long time, huh?

Ben Foster: Yeah

How long have you been working nonstop?

Ben Foster: It's been a while ... I went to New Zealand to3:10. Had like about maybe a month off. Tried to take a while to get out of my system and then went to Connecticut and shot that and then went on a press tour for 3:10, so it is great. It's really good right now playing with people who like to play and everything is kind of different and I haven't gotten bored.

When you are actually on the set, it's kind of like OK, well you're here from 2:00 to 4:00 shooting, but for the rest, is it kind of like, you're in your trailer and you're in you trailer and you're in your trailer and I'm sure you have phone calls and stuff like that...

Ben Foster: No, you're on your horse and your horse and you are shooting people and are waiting to shoot more people.

Nice

Ben Foster: Depends on the job. This certainly didn't feel like a big budget film, we worked our tails off.

How many days was the shoot?

Ben Foster: I don't even remember, the shoot was like four months.

You are there for the entire time, although you are not sort of like the central lead

Ben Foster: Always out there because if this shot doesn't work, you may be needed so you guys get warmed up on your horse and so and I prefer that and I mean if your head's in the game, you're always in the game.

It was a pleasure speaking with you

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3:10 to Yuma arrives in theatres on which arrives in theatres on September 7th.