New Series! In "Quick Impressions" we will be looking at the working actor in key movie scenes. Consider it a celebration of SAG card-holders everywhere and free advice for casting directors. Have you ever noticed how many people it takes to populate each film's world? So many showbiz dreams wander around on every film set and are embedded in each frame of your favorite movies, sometimes front and center but off to the side and in the background, too.
Today, we're talking to actor/dancer Brett Leigh who has appeared in two David Fincher movies, The Social Network (2010) and Gone Girl (2014) the latter of which is still in the top five box office six weeks into its release and now the year's biggest hit outside of all those CG franchises.
NATHANIEL: Tell us about your scene in Gone Girl!
BRETT LEIGH: It's towards the beginning when Nick Dunne asks Amy to marry him. I play one of the reporters at the table. They cut the scene down but kept my line in there along with the girl sitting next to me.
NATHANIEL: I love that scene because it feel so performative, as if Nick & Amy are essentially acting out a traditional love story moment for the press. How was the experience and why are you billed as "Nervous Intern"?
BRETT: In scripts, as a general rule, you don’t ‘name’ characters if they aren’t plot changing or show up for several pages or scenes. So when you have one liners, or help move the scene along as a character for a page or two, writers will just call them what they are: i.e. ‘Courtier’, ‘Mail carrier’, ‘Nervous Intern’. I have no idea why I was called ‘Nervous Intern’. I don’t seem to be nervous OR an intern. [Laughs] The other people were called like, 'Fashionista', 'Above-it-all-Journalist'. I think it was Gillian Flynn's way of staying away from just ‘Journalist 1, 2, 3, 4’.
I do remember the scene work and was quite pleasantly surprised at how serious Ben Affleck is on set - very good actor, very focused. And Rosamund Pike was top notch every single take. We weren’t given the full script, but in taping you could definitely tell Rosamund and Ben knew where they were in the story and where their characters were going. Of course with David Fincher at the helm it’s quite impossible NOT to know where your character is and where they are going.
You're also in The Social Network!
I play the frat guy hazing Andrew Garfield in the snow. It’s about 2 minutes and I have the majority of the lines.
Did you fantasize about further terrorizing him as a supervillain when he got the Spider-Man part?
[Laughs] No, but I would really like to be in a comic-come-to-life movie.
Getting that Social Network part must have been amazing
I was coming back from overseas playing Riff/Action in the International Tour of West Side Story.
My favorite musical !
I got a call for an audition and I was like “They’re making a movie about Facebook?”. It sounded kind of ‘TV movie’ to me. It all happened kind of fast. I was called in about four times for this scene. After getting the role I found out more about who was directing and writing. Thats when my mind was blown. David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin?! I couldn’t believe I got the role over other Hollywood hopefuls and the timing worked out so well just getting back from a major theatre tour.
I come from a theatre and ballet background so to transition into film with such an amazing director has been awesome. I feel like I have been in the corps de ballet for two Fincher films.
I hope you get a third and that we see you in a film musical some day!
Thanks for your attention dear readers. You can follow Brett Leigh on Twitter @BrettLeigh. He is also a Director/Writer and recently completed this short film "American Day". It's funny and sad simultaneously. Check it out...
COMING SOON: You tell us. Do you like this series idea?
Do you ever think about actors way down the cast list that might be one lucky break away from larger roles?