What was it like to act in a film written by David Mamet?
It’s a delight for any actor to play Mamet – he’s one of the great writers of our time. He writes for actors. He writes with this alacrity and power – he puts this kind of verbal stamp on his work. Then, when you go deeper into it, you see what’s underneath and it feeds you.
He also directed 'Phil Spector.'
He did, and he did it very well. He created a very interesting style for this movie. It was a special thing that only he could have done. It’s great to work with him [as the director] too, because the writer’s talking to you about the character. You know that you have to take the script in and make it your own language, but it’s still helpful to know what was going on in his head when he wrote it.
Was David Mamet seeking to capture the real Spector?
My feeling is that with a great writer like David Mamet - or Tony Kushner with 'Angels in America' – they are inspired by a real person, and then they fictionalize the character for themselves. The way Shakespeare did with 'Richard III.' It was a sounding board for him - a stepping stone. And I think that’s what Phil Spector is – it’s David Mamet putting forth his reaction to this particular real, live person and turning it into a character.
He never seems to come out and say Spector was a murderer.
It’s very interesting on that level; Mamet tries to stay away from any kind of, “This is the way it was. He was guilty and this is how he dealt with it.” He just leaves it open and I think that’s going to be very interesting and maybe a frustrating situation for some people.
There's this idea that Spector is going to be convicted of, “I don’t like you.”
Yeah. Spector is a genius and brought music to another level with the Wall of Sound. But the fact is, he is this reckless, almost anarchic character who's hard to reach. He doesn’t fit in – he’s always been different. Weird. When this incident occurred he had been a recluse for a long time and had a reputation already. That eccentricity turns on him and people start to formulate an opinion of who he is.
Initially, his lawyer Linda, Helen Mirren's character, thinks he’s a murderer.