Jamie Bell Interview For ‘Man on a Ledge’
An ex-cop and now wanted fugitive (Sam Worthington) stands on the ledge of a high-rise building while a hard-living NYPD negotiator (Elizabeth Banks) tries to talk him down. The longer they are on the ledge, the more she realizes that he might have an ulterior objective. Directed by Asger Leth (Ghosts of Cité Soleil), ‘Man on a Ledge’ stars Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell, Anthony Mackie, Ed Burns, Titus Welliver, Genesis Rodriguez, Kyra Sedgwick, and Ed Harris. The film is set for release January 27th in the US, and Febuary 3rd in the UK. Look out for a more in-depth interview with Jamie Bell and the rest of the cast closer to the films release date.
Your character and Genesis Rodriguez’s character add a lot of layers to the tension and suspense in the story.
Jamie Bell: Yeah. Joey, he’s the brother of Sam Worthington’s character. He’s a guy who has kind of dedicated his life to helping his brother, that’s the first and foremost thing in his mind. It’s the motivation for this relationship he has with this girl, his family life, his academic life….whatever it is, it has been completely consumed by his brother and what he needs to do for his brother. He’s referred to as a little bit of a screw-up, someone who necessarily isn’t all together. He’s a guy with some loose ends (laughs), lets say that.
His relationship with Angie, they have a very frenetic relationship. I believe it is grounded in love and admiration for one another. But they go on this heist to prove Nick’s innocence basically, and some of their flurries of relationship trauma kinda comes out at the wrong times (laughs), in the wrong moments. Joey’s a great character to play, he’s certainly a lot of fun. For me and Genesis Rodriguez, who plays Angie, it’s really the suspense, the fun and the action of the film that happens once Nick is on the ledge. The physical stuff was fun, it provides a relief from the very intense story stuff that’s happening with Nick.
I really enjoyed how the “comms” headsets come into play in this film.
Jamie Bell: The comms are essentially another character in the film, they’re the vital link between what’s going down and the next step. I’m constantly ahead, Nick is always kind of a step behind what’s happening, so I’m constantly having to relay information. I remember in the rehearsal period we were always trying to manifest scenes and dialogue that would be very clear for one context, then also very clear for another context – in Nick’s conversations with Lydia, then the cryptic messages to me. You can add so much tension through the comms, they may not be working, there could be interference, suddenly it’s really loud all of a sudden….we played with all of that kind of stuff, which I think really enables a lot.
The delivery of information is so important. Too often in thrillers, suspense-thrillers, when information is given to you, the right reaction is, “Wow, I had no idea,” or, “That totally through me for a loop,” or, “They got me.” Too often it isn’t that reaction. So I think in terms of the screenplay, we had to make sure that information is delivered in the precise way, so you do have that reaction.
A lot of questions are raised with Nick.
Jamie Bell: Oh yeah, there’s a lot of questions with Nick; who is he? Has he lost his mind? Has he lost the will to live? Has he lost touch with reality? His relatives don’t even recognise him. He’s getting into fights at their fathers funeral. The device of the set-up in the film, I really believe that tries to make you second guess Nick’s motivations and what he’s doing. I genuinely believe that by the time he’s out on the ledge and everything’s set-up, you still want to be asking the question of, “Is he gonna jump? Is he a bad guy? What’s he doing there?” So playing that and getting that right was kind of complicated.
Ed Harris plays the classic sinister villain?
Jamie Bell: He represents evil, in all kinds of different various forms…..wealth, capitalism, thievery, guilt, all these things that are great themes. Ed Harris plays him brilliantly because he’s right on the edge of the fact that you kind of like him, he has a great first scene, one of the best scenes in the film I think. And he played him straight down the line,, totally believable. I really enjoyed my scene with him, the character is the root of this problem, and my character thrives on the idea that when he completes this, there will be a possibility that they will meet – and he will sort some stuff out.
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