I recently got the chance to talk to Freddie Highmore about his role as George in ‘The Art Of Getting By’. Here, Freddie talks about how he got involved in the project in the first place, and what it was like working with the cast and crew…
Hey Freddie. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. Of course we‘re here to talk to you about your role in ‘The Art Of Getting By’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
‘The Art of Getting By’ is about a teenager who is struggling with school, with making friends, with his family… and then he meets a girl. I guess the film is about rebelling. I think most people go through periods like that; times when to the outside world things don’t seem too bad but to you things seem desperate.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I was sent the script and thought the characters were very real. When I met the director, Gavin Weisen, I thought he had a very strong vision and understanding of the film and I was excited to become involved.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
George might be described as a loser. He certainly doesn’t win any prizes or have to fight off a whole line of girls. But he is a hero in that he is true to himself. He takes the path he feels is right however tough things get. He’s a really nice likeable guy who probably wouldn’t normally get to play the lead in a movie!
How would you say this film is different and unique?
I’m not sure if being different is always a goal. If I could make a film which worked just like ‘Shawshank Redemption ‘or ‘Leon’ or ‘Cinema Paradiso’ that would be great. I’ve worked with Dustin Hoffman and some of the personality he explored in ‘The Graduate’ is in my character in this film. ‘The Art of Getting By’ is much less in-your-face than a lot of current movies. Just like life, often the lines people are giving each other aren’t the same as what’s really going on in a scene.
The film stars your good self, Emma Roberts, Sasha Spielberg and Marcus Carl Franklin – with Gavin Wiesen onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
Gavin was great to work with. He wrote the screenplay and it is partially autobiographical but he was always encouraging us to find our own way of playing the characters. Emma and I hit it off straight away. She’s professional but she’s fun. All the actors were top drawer: Michael Angarano, Rita Wilson, Sam Robards, Elizabeth Reiser, the list of amazing American performers was astonishing. It kind of makes you think, “What am I doing in amongst all these talented people; I’m just a kid from North London.”
Let’s talk a bit about you Freddie. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
It was never a conscious choice. I started doing very small roles when I was very small. I didn’t do anything wrong and so as I got bigger so did the roles. I was lucky.
You’ve been in a number of well-known films – such as ‘Astro Boy’ and ‘Charlie And The Chocolate Factory’ – who has been your favourite actor to work with so far and who has given you the best advice?
I can’t remember working with a terrible actor. The talent of actors playing even the tiniest of parts is often brilliant. I think it’s because of the incredible mis-match of the number of actors and the amount of acting work. It isn’t so much the advice that senior actors give junior ones like me either. It’s more the example that they set. If people like Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet and Helena Bonham Carter treat everyone as an equal then so will everyone else working on one of their films.
If you could have a dinner with three historical guests (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
Maybe Jesus and Mohammed – because I’m sure that I’d find that they wanted us all to live together in peace..and I’d have a young Woody Allen to break the ice at the party.
What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month?
The human population of the world is now about 7 billion. Less than 100 years ago it hadn’t reached 2 billion.
What’s coming up for you in 2011/12?
I’m back to studying Arabic & Spanish at Cambridge University.
Thanks for the interview!