Jose here. James Ransone had me at Haneke. As we sat down to talk about Sinister 2 I explained my hierarchy of scariest things, clowns come first, followed by children, ghosts, and snakes... He responded “I don’t get scared by that stuff, I get scared by Michael Haneke movies...Amour scares me”. It was one of many responses that caught me completely off guard, because unlike most interviewees at junkets for studio movies, Mr. Ransone seemed completely unscripted, he was just saying what he thought, which made for a truly refreshing conversation.
It’s this very same irreverent quality that makes Ransone so compelling to watch onscreen. Whether he’s in a miniseries like Generation Kill or an indie hit like Tangerine, which he made with frequent collaborator Sean Baker, Ransone’s characters always seem to be coming up with their dialogue on the spot (no offense to the truly great screenwriters he’s worked with). The actor’s presence is so natural that he makes for a hybrid of Brando and John Cazale, who both seemed to effortlessly conjure the essence of their characters.
Mostly seen in supporting parts, this weekend Ransone gets promoted to leading man in Sinister 2, in which he plays Ex-Deputy So & So, the self-deprecating, do gooder who sets off to protect a mother (Shannyn Sossamon) and her two kids who are being terrorized by demonic beings. I talked to the eloquent Ransone about his opening weekend expectations, his own experiences with the "supernatural", and what he thinks is missing in modern American cinema.
JOSE: This room’s setting made me rearrange the order of my questions, because it looks like a shrink’s office and I read that you read Lacan and Zizek…
JAMES RANSONE: Yeah...I mean listen, I’m not gonna pretend that I just sit around and read a lot of philosophy and masturbate to myself intellectually, because that’s really fucking dangerous, but they’re really influential on my thinking. Basically I’m always trying to figure out why society works the way it does, and a lot of these guys helped make sense and shape some of the things that never made sense to me before. Foucault too, big time.