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Rami Malek Talks ‘The Master’

Here is a new interview with Rami for Huffington Post where he discusses being part of the much-buzzed about The Master!

“I’m just a small part of an incredible film, but I’m happy to be that small part,” Malek told HuffPost Entertainment via phone last week. Malek earned rave reviews for his performance on the HBO miniseries “The Pacific” and has since parlayed that success into screen work in films like “Larry Crowne,” “Battleship” and the upcoming “Twilight” finale, “Breaking Dawn Part 2.” In “The Master,” he plays Clark, a true believer in The Cause (the cult-like religion propagated by the Dodds), as well as Freddie’s often wary sidekick.

Malek spoke to HuffPost about the casting process for “The Master,” whetherScientology was a big topic of discussion on the set, and what it’s like to have Joaquin Phoenix say he wants to fart in your face.

Paul Thomas Anderson films are notoriously shrouded in secrecy, so what was the casting process like?
I was away on set, filming, and I got an email from the casting director. From there she asked me to throw stuff on tape and send it back. I knew what it was. I gave it a whole lot of importance and value to what I was doing, even though I was working on another project. It was at the front of my mind. When I got back home, I went in to read again with the casting director and Paul, and, finally, to read with Joaquin. When I met Joaquin, I could not distinguish that it was him. He had already lost so much weight. Seeing him in that state already put me in a great place to begin playing and working with him in the room. It was quite the special and incredible process from the beginning to the end. Especially the casting process. Meeting Paul, someone I’ve admired for so many years. We both grew up in the Valley, so to see him and audition for him in the Valley was astonishing.

Joaquin’s performance is very spontaneous. Were you kept in the dark with what he was going to do from scene to scene?
It’s all scripted. There’s very little improv going on. But Paul just creates this environment of being able to play around with anything. As special and unique a filmmaker as he is, Paul is not beholden to what’s on the page, necessarily. But, for the most part, we want to stick to it, because it’s undoubtedly better than anything we’re going to come up with on our own. Having said that, you want to put your best performance forward. I want to give him everything I’m capable of giving and I know Joaquin wants to do the same, as does everyone else on set. There is this no-holds-barred feeling. I sit across from Joaquin as Freddie and I have no idea what he’s going to do next. There was this element running through my veins that almost allowed me to settle in to what might happen, no matter what it was, because that could be the most special thing that happened on the day. So sitting next to this feral, wild tiger, who is unleashed, allows for the most true reactions one could have as an actor.

“The Master” has a surprising amount of humor; during one of the processing scenes, Freddie says he’s going to “fart in your face.”
Humor was definitely a part of the entire film. We had so many laughs while the film was rolling and while it wasn’t rolling. Paul’s incredibly funny. Phil, as the world knows, is an incredibly funny human being. And Joaquin has a dry, unpredictable sense of humor that can make you laugh almost the hardest sometimes. It can come out of nowhere.

We shot that scene towards the end of the entire film, and by then we had really formed a bond. All of us. So there was this feeling that we could do anything, and have fun and try anything out and be generally loose. We’re in the hands of Paul Thomas Anderson, so if he thinks anything goes, anything goes. He’s going to make something special at the end of it. There was never any doubt.

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