It seems almost as if Christian Bale and Casey Affleck’s characters embody the hope people felt in 2008 about America and the economy, and you’re sort of the force that squashes that. Do you ever think about the larger political or thematic contexts of the projects you’re working on? This, The Messenger, Catching Fire all seem to have these ideas in them.
Catching Fire, well, yeah, that’s a different thing because it’s a futuristic [story]. I mean, I do think that it’s important to put yourself in the context of the time, and certainly if the bottom’s falling out of the economy, it has a big influence on what’s going on with these characters, and it mirrors their plight. (laughs) I was just thinking of this lady from the Hollywood Foreign Press asking me a question, and I wish we’d talked before that question, because she told me, “every time you answer my question, you fail me.” (laughs) She told me that, straight up! Like, okay, I know I do – I know I do! And it’s just particularly her – like I know as soon as she asks me a question, because last week we were doing Catching Fire, and I just know as soon as she asks, I’m going to fail her! So yeah, I wish we’d had this talk before.
Having The Hunger Games as this ongoing series of films in your career, what sort of itch does Out of the Furnace scratch in comparison to that?
I mean, I don’t really compare them. I mean, it’s just – I turned Hunger Games down, twice! I’m the only one that’s such a fool to turn that thing down, and it’s been the greatest single thing that I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of, not just for the huge success of it, but for those people who are involved in it. I mean, I love those guys, man. I mean, it is like a family. It is so tight, so fun, we all love hanging out with each other outside the set, and we’re just laughing all day long on the set. I can’t imagine anything more fun. And because of it I’ve got to meet a lot of people I never would have, like tweens, coming up and wanting an autograph. I’m like, they never would have come up to me! They never would have seen anything I’d done. So it was really – that’s a cool thing as well. But it’s not like I think, I’m not one of those guys who say, “I do these… so that I can do the smaller movies.” I don’t do anything like that. I just take things as they come, and the fact that they keep coming is shocking, but I’m certainly happy to be a part of it.
You have a great character to play in The Hunger Games, but you didn’t look at that and go, this is probably going to be pretty successful?
Oh yeah, but that wasn’t my motivator, you know. I’m talking about times that I, you know, decided to do something because specifically because this is going to do well. A bad, bad decision – that’s something I would caution any actor against. It’s much better to say I liked this script and I really liked this character and I liked the director. I liked the other actors – whatever. But to say, oh, this will be successful, and that’s why I want to do it, that’s not good. But yeah, Hunger Games, everybody thought the odds were pretty good that people would go see it, and thank God they were right.