I recently got the chance to talk to Yorick Van Wageningen about his role in ‘The Way’. Here, Yorick talks about the film, what it was like working with the Sheens and about his upcoming role in ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’….
Hey Yorick. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. ‘The Way’ is out in cinemas right now. What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
‘The Way’ is about an American who’s son died on a pilgrimage from France to Spain. He decides to make the journey himself and meets a bunch of different characters on the way…
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the film….
I play Joost, an obese Dutchman who decides to do the journey because he wants to lose some weight. There are a few other reasons he’s doing the journey with the others – which you’ll find out by the end of the film. He is the clown but at the same time he carries quite a bit of pain, as clowns usually do.
What made you want to become part of the project in the first place?
It was one of these parts I fell in love with immediately, no, actually…. I wonder if they wrote it specifically for me. So much identification. And Martin has been one of my idols for a very long time. All those phenomenal characters he created… in ‘Badlands’, ‘Apocalypse Now’ and ‘The West Wing’. After they had cast me in ‘The Way’, my first reaction was: “Oh my god; I am walking with President Bartlett…”
Would you say that the film shares a parallel with ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ – because of the four characters doing the same journey for different reasons?
Yep. We joked about it when we were filming it. Martin being Dorothy…
An IMDB review has said – “Martin Sheen and his son, Emilio Estevez, make a winning team here – the direction, though straightforward is, like Ron Howard – filled with memorable scenes and images that linger.”- would you agree with this?
Absolutely. They are so great, such a team. The whole family is, really. Everybody was there. Sisters, uncles, grandsons, wives. It was one great team. And they are the nicest people, the Sheens. It is not very often that you want to stay friends with the people you work with but the Sheens are unbelievably close to my heart.
The film stars Emilio Estevez, Martin Sheen, Deborah Kara Unger and James Nesbitt – what was it like working on-set with them?
During filming, we were walking through the most beautiful parts of Spain with a family like cast and crew, delicious food and the company of gods. What more could a man wish for. And so much of it was improvised, which was a joy. It was completely shot in sequence, which is always very pleasant to do for an actor, and even while filming, doing the Camino de Santiago , the way of St James, was a very spiritual experience. I feel it has very much had a lasting effect on me.
Let’s talk a bit about you Yorick – what made you want to get into acting in the first place?
I don’t know. It just happened. I woke up one day, I think I was six years old and I was an actor. The motives for continuing to be an actor have changed. Now it’s mainly the ability to work with talented people, making something unique, the joy of embarking on something that starts with a pack of paper. The need to be seen or the need to be heard; it’s not so important to me now. No, it is more often about translating or expressing ideas.
What does a Yorick van Wageningen day usually consist of?
I wish there was a usually. Usually doesn’t happen that often. I work and I travel. That is what I usually do. But I try to stay at home in Amsterdam as much as I can. And then my days there consist of those ordinary things… the corner shop, long walks with the dog, a little writing, a little reading, a lot of cooking, worrying if I will ever work again….those kind of things…
You’ve just recently finished production on ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ – what was it like working on that project? I’ve heard it’s looking to be one of the best movies of 2011…
It is going to be THE best movie of 2011… Fincher is fantastic. I would marry him. (I would marry his wife too by the way, Cean Chaffin, who produces his films). He is such an inspiration to work with and is someone at the peak of his career… Rooney Mara is a tough brave actress who is gonna blow everyone away… she is so good. I think people are going to be amazed by that film…
In your view, what has been your favourite experience or moment in your career thus far?
Man, I have had some unbelievable luck. I have had a few moments or experiences that were mind-blowing, but both Fincher and the Sheens are at the top of my list. ‘The Three Musketeers’ for the French National Theatre. Working with Angelina Jolie and Clive Owen. A little Dutch play called ‘Total Loss’. Working with Terrence Malick or Peter Greenaway – those were experiences that have changed me, changed how I looked at things, perceived things. It is rare to have those kind of experiences…
What else is coming up for you in 2011?
I’ve just brought a house in Amsterdam. I am very excited. In an old convent in the centre of Amsterdam. I love it. I’ve also got a small part in ’47 Ronin’, a samurai film with Keanu Reeves in, and in the fall I am going to do a play here in Holland with one of the idols of my youth, Dutch director Gerard Jan Rijnders. And I’ll be taking a lot of walks with the dog. Hopefully!
Thanks for the interview!