I recently got the chance to talk to Will Wallace about his role in Brad Pitt’s new film, ‘The Tree Of Life’. Here, Will talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew, how he got into acting and who has given him the best acting advice…
Hey Will. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. ‘The Tree Of Life’ is in UK cinemas right now, and looks fantastic. What’s the general premise around the film?
I think, like with any movie Terry (Malick) does, that different people will have different interpretations to this question.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I have a small part as one of Sean Penn’s co-workers. My take on my character is that I am someone blinded by work and social desires. I see my character as someone lost in life with little to no understanding of where his true priorities should or could be. Sean’s character at least recognizes how superficial our chosen paths have become and struggles with it. Again, this is just my interpretation.
How would you say this film is different to say other dramas released this year? It’s hard to say ‘It’s like x’, isn’t it?
It is different from any film I have ever seen before. To me, it tries to take on the biggest questions in life.
The film stars Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain – what was it like working with them on-set?
A true pleasure! Sean and I have now worked on three films together (this one, “The Thin Red Line” and “I Am Sam”). I consider him a friend. I have grown fond of Jessica in the short period of time that I have known her and I just worked on another film with her in Oklahoma. In fact, I just ran into her in the airport the other day and we had a chat. I never did any scene work with Brad, and I don’t know him very well, but he has always been friendly and thoughtful.
Let’s talk a bit about you Will. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
I was practicing law in Barcelona and I realized that my heart just wasn’t in it. I decided to take a job on with a firm back in the States and take some acting classes as a distraction. I managed to get an audition for a small part in the sequel to “Terms of Endearment” (it was called “The Evening Star”). I somehow got the role and found myself working opposite Shirley MacLaine. I was hooked!
You’ve had a number of different roles on a number of TV series and films – who has been your favourite actor to work with so far and who has given the best advice to you?
I did an independent film called “Broke Sky” some time ago that won a number of awards in festivals and is currently been shown on The Sundance Channel. Joe Unger plays my best friend in the film. The two of us really hit it off. (I think the film can now be seen at www.sundancenow.com). Advice-wise, I have to give the honor to Kathy Bates. She once told me that auditioning is like making tiny paper boats and setting them in the water. “Every once in a while, one will come back, but you shouldn’t worry about it….just keep making that next paper boat.”
We should mention that you’re also a producer and director as well – is it hard to juggle all these things together? Or is it a normal day at the office?
I think my heart lies in directing….it’s just easier to produce films. I can produce a few films at a time. When I direct something, it stays with me for years. For that reason, I believe that you need to be more selective when it comes to directing.
What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month?
The recent news story about the first journalist who went on the record and alleged phone hacking at the News of the World being found dead! That’s pretty interesting, wouldn’t you say?
What does a Will Wallace day usually consist of?
Just trying to get films made. At night, I teach classes as well. We have a website: www.willwallaceactingcompany.com. The great thing about teaching classes is, I have the best resource for my films. I use my students in my films all the time because I know their strengths.
What’s coming up for you in 2011? I hear you’re in post-production on a number of sweet looking projects…
I am in post on a few. I am scheduled to direct a film called “Red Wing” very soon that was originally developed by Terry (Malick) and is being produced by Ed Pressman. I am excited about this project.
Thanks for the interview!